Island creativity

Firstly, I would really like to say a huge thank you for all the lovely messages about the new look Scottish island mum.  I am pleased that you seem to like it and that we continue to grow together as a wee community.  My interactions with my readers are fundamentally precious to me and your feedback is always so welcome.


Today I am pausing to reflect on where I am with my creative journey.  Yesterday I constructed my first reclaimed art installation as a feature window in our local community shop.  Today my inbox has erupted with lots of positive feedback and I only see this as the start of my journey.  I dabbled with art as installation a lifetime ago when I headed up a very creative performing arts team in a university but it is not something I carried with me.  That changed recently when a brief conversation with an ex-colleague brought it all back into focus.  Before I could shake a stick at it I was creating an installation in my mind which has just grown over time.  I love this process of letting the mind lead you into spaces you did not think you would inhabit.  Building the installation with a dear friend last evening just brought so much joy that it would be fair to say I am hooked.


So now my mind is a whirl of installations but all drawing on the same theme – reclaimed materials.  In a wasteful world there must be a wee space for this work from me?  I am going to assume there is and forge on.  I have no idea what my next installation will be or where it will be sited but I do have a goal in mind.  Every summer the island runs an open studio weekend when artists open their studios to show their work.  This is my goal.  I would like to have some pieces included in this weekend and I fully intend to serve tea and cake in my studio as well.  For now I am in gathering mode.  I have had a tip off that there is a rather full skip in the village and that I am welcome to rummage so that is what I am going to do.  I want to see if the piece begins to find me first…..

Running alongside that is my faithful craft work that has been with me forever and I would be lost without it.  Making a cushion, a lavender heart or dedicating a dream pillow is what makes my creativity tick on a constant level.  Since downsizing from wholesale back into retail my craft work has been a real joy.  When we ventured into wholesale it got way too big way too quickly and ceased to be enjoyable.  I sell online and at local markets now and I can manage the stock levels just fine.  I also sell in our relatively new community shop in the village.  That, however, may have presented me with a slight problem because all of a sudden a number of shops on the island have expressed interest in stocking my work.  I take the huge compliment of course, but I have to be careful not to over-stretch myself.  So I am taking some time to consider the offers and will see where that thinking takes me.  I am in design mode at the moment anyway so it is good thinking time.  This coming season I am drawing my inspiration from the heather that grows so strongly on the moors that define the island so well.  My pinterest board HERE will give you an idea of where my thinking is.  Capturing the colour scheme seems to be the most important aspect of this work and that is taking me sometime.  I used my journal to create different hues using watercolours until I am happy with the scheme and then I can begin to source the fabric.  This is the challenging bit as I only used preloved or remnant fabric so I have to play a bit of waiting game for the right fabric to appear before me.    Once the fabric is in place the product range can begin.  I definitely want to add a summer willow wreath to my product range this year and heather holds its colour quite well in drying.  I think visitors would like to take one of these wreaths home with them to remind them of their time on the island.


The island remains my most important source of inspiration.  I can even tell you which beach to visit for which beach fragment or shell!  I am a perpetual beach wanderer and I doubt I will ever be anything else.  I have just start a tumblr mini blog to try and capture this process and you can find it HERE.    I am truly blessed to live on the most beautiful of islands and I make sure I never take it for granted.   Wandering along the beach with my trusted basket is a time to think in the wide open space that the edge of the sea evokes and in those moments I am blessed.

So, lots to think about so early in the year and even more to look forward to.  My little Bobbin Collective has its first sewing swap party in a couple of days where there will be lots of cake to eat.  That is never a bad thing.  Their little online etsy shop continues to grow at a very rewarding pace.  I am also planning some heather craft tea parties in the summer months in my garden studio where we can come together and make pretty things and eat yet more cake.

Trying to remain in the moment is a challenge when it comes to the creative bit of my brain as I tend to rush ahead.  So I have trained myself into taking some time out every so often to take stock before moving forward again.  It is a way of thinking that delivers much and I am grateful for the people that taught me these skills some years earlier.  If you want my top recommendation you need look no further than the work of Waverly Fitzgerald and, in particular, her book Slow Time.  I will say no more…

Blessings to you all,

scottish island mum



2 thoughts on “Island creativity

  1. What a wonderful change in look! Inspiring! Heather is a very good source of colourfast dye (not purple) but amazing greens and yellows. Maybe a dye bucket simmering on the stove at the next workshoop??

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