Letting Go

Alexa - Weaving Watercolour 2016 - 1


I wasn’t sure how it would feel – giving all my weaving notes, samples and research to the Arran Heritage Museum for their archive.

But that’s what I did today. Took the folders and sample boxes round and gave them to a delighted archivist. Delighted.

And me – I feel so absolutely free – no longer responsible for making sure that there is continuity in the textile history of the island – taking off that mantle (handwoven, of course) of awareness that I’ve worn since I came to the island in 1975.

In all my designs, teaching apprenticeships and production there was a conscious homage to island traditions and a sense that I was working in the context of a history that went back to people producing clothes in Neolithic times. It was important to record that as we went along and now those records have gone to the museum.

To celebrate I’ve bought a new wee tapestry loom to replace my picture frame improvisation of the previous blog. I can thread it up with a complete sense that weaving from now on can be about the thread, the shapes and the textures. No doubt my own textile history will creep in as well as the influence of this island, but that sense of responsibility is gone and I think it might even be FUN!

I’m grateful that I’m physically able to weave again, grateful to have had those years as custodian of a tradition and grateful that there is a treasure out there of untried yarns

There’s a dance in here somewhere – a whirling of spindles and shuttles – a new rainbow of colours and shades all of it addressed by a competence and confidence in my ‘weaverness’ that has built up over the years.

I am blessed.

Divorce and Death

A few days ago my ex-husband died. He was 83 and lived a full and colourful life, expressed in his prints and paintings. He was an artist and a free spirit, the father of my two amazing sons and stepfather to my daughter.

We were together for 14 years and separated for 21 years after the divorce was final.

What I’ve remembered most in the past few days are the happy memories and the fact that six months ago we had a long, honest conversation on the phone which put all the anger and bitterness to rest, and helped us both to understand why things went pear-shaped. We agreed that we did right to get married when we did and did the right thing ultimately in separating because we’d both changed so much in our priorities.

In some cases there’s no such thing as divorce, because you are always connected, especially if you have children together.  There’s not much point in remaining married for the sake of it when things change irrevocably, but there’s a lot to be said for taking time out to get help with communication before things break down completely. Then you know you’ve done all you can to make things work.

One of the lovely things of the past few days are the memories that people are sharing, of Stephen when he was younger, before we met, protesting by canoe against the nuclear submarines in Holy Loch, of the visits to our crazy household at Silverbirch and the laughs and creative discussions that took place over barbecues in winter and fish caught from our little rowing boat.

Where the bitterness and lack of communication began is hard to pinpoint. And really there’s not much point in dwelling on it now. Rather remember rowing over to Holy Isle with a picnic and climbing to the top, clambering through the heather up to Loch na Learg above the Whiting Bay golf club and going to Fazzi’s in Glasgow to stock up on good coffee and olive oil, which made life on the building site all the richer, the cooking more creative with the produce from the garden, and the conversation and humour something to be cherished and remembered.


Stephen sketching the Arran Mountains

Shopping Spree – Arran Style

Goat Fell1

Don’t get me wrong – I used to LOVE shopping in London, San Francisco and Chicago, ferreting out trendy wee shops and walking around the big posh department stores in a fashionista sort of dream.

Not any more – today I went shopping in Brodick. The fact that I could walk from one end of the village to the other was a miracle and my chauffeur George from My Bus was most accommodating, picking me up at the library with my laden rucksack and a few free books from their ‘takeaway’ collection.

I started at Little Rock Cafe with a cappucino and a splendid view of Goat Fell and the other mountains, still sprinkled with snow. Then it was in to the new Arran Active shop (formerly Bilslands, for those of you who know and love Brodick) where I chose a new raincoat for next time round, fell in love with the yarn & haberdashery corner and finally found some gorgeous big, brown buttons for my green alpaca-knitted waistcoat. I’ve been looking on line for MONTHS to try and find some. The yarns were lovely and I know granddaughter Blythe will love them as much as I do which might make up to her for not having Bilslands hot chocolate any more.

Next it was the ATM. Now you have to understand that the bank machine is still a novelty for me after all the years of not being able to go to any. I didn’t go overboard, just enjoyed the freedom to be arranging my own affairs again.  Then it was the Book & Card Centre to top up my lovely card stash and enjoy the craic with Alan who is still my hero after the splendid book launch.

Although it was a bit drizzly, I continued to the Post Office to send off my used inkjets for recycling. Such an ordinary thing, but such an extraordinary thing to be able to post them myself. Chemist’Goat Fell1s next where I gratefully picked up my free prescriptions due to age eligibility and treat myself to some Weleda Iris Face Creme to pretend to get rid of wrinkles.

Reminds me of the time ten years ago when I turned 60, I went in to apply for my ferry pass only to be told that I couldn’t have one because I still wore dangly earrings. “I’ll dangly-earrings ye,” said I, which put such fear into Bobby, he gave me my ferry pass immediately.

I digress. My next stop was the Wee Co-op for some lovely cheeses and fresh veg in keeping with my healthy diet for diabetics and a £1.99 impulse buy of “Letters from Juliet” for our Thursday night film club. A real feel good film.

Last but not least the library where I could sit for a while, wait for My Bus and browse to my heart’s content. Not to mention natter (quietly) with a few people I hadn’t seen for a while.

Then home, to record my morning and remind myself that once again living on Arran fulfills 99.9 % of my needs and I am so, so grateful to be well enough again to enjoy a shopping trip Brodick-style.




In the Frame

A month or so ago I sent two photos of mine away to have them framed as canvasses.     The birch tree looked beautiful as I had expected, but the forsythias framing Goat Fell were stretch…

Source: In the Frame

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