As one year ebbs away and another one begins I am mindful of my walks on the shores of the beautiful island I call home. The one thing that can be relied on is that the tide will come in and then out again and then repeat. On coming in it offers us wee treasures for those that care to look. I find sea glass, pottery fragments, shells and much more on my wanderings and I think I would be lost without this ritual.
It is in the returning that I think about parallel lives. People out there that do the same as me and even artists that create using their finds. Those that know me well know that I have a particular dislike of waste and do all that I can to save things from landfill. My recycling bins are always full to bursting and my local charity shops well fed. However, my absolute disgust is focused on marine waste. The fact that unwanted items can just be thrown overboard and no one will ever know seems to have created its own negative culture. I am one of the many beach cleaners out there that collect waste on every wandering and it saddens me. The harm to wildlife is beyond measure, yet still we do it.
In the summer my new creative venture Earth Threads held an open studio and many people came to see a small exhibition dedicated to waste. I was cheered by the genuine concerns that I shared with all the visitors but one lady stood out – Julie. Julie seemed to get the principles underpinning the work instantly and we had a long and hugely beneficial talk about the issue of marine waste and waste in general. Julie lives in Canada and we have stayed in touch and I am delighted to share with you all that we are going to attempt a collaborative project in 2018. Working with other invited artisans we are going to produce a textile based journal on a common theme (yet to be determined) and exhibit it both sides of the pond. To be working alongside someone who just ‘gets it’ is just so rewarding and I am beyond excited.
In 2017 my most popular design was the heather moorland as I think it captures one of my our most precious habitats on the island. Occupying that environment even for a short while grounds you in all that is alive as the more you look the more you see. I consider the heather moorlands to be sacred and their spiritual dimension is most evident within me. Another artisan based on the island agrees with me. Lesley is a botanical artists and also a jewellery designer and her work evokes all that is beautiful in the world. Our shared passion for the moorlands is going to translate into a focused study that will result in a shared exhibition in the summer across both our studios and I could not be more pleased.
So, two wonderful collaborations will begin to appear as the tide turns into 2018 and there is much to jump up and down about. From my perspective on a small Scottish island I wish you the very best moments in 2018. What will be your tidal treasures?