autumn colours.........

Sometimes I am never ready for the New Year until March  , so  full of catching up with life am I and  here we are heading into the shorter days  of mid autumn ....  keeping up with nature   has  been  quite a thing  this year . All those    long dry summer days  seem    a long time ago !  So what on earth has Mrs Fingal been up  to   ... ???? 

Imbolc  - Vigil

This is the piece that was  mentioned  in my Spring blog  ....    and very happy to say   it  was sold in September   and is now in Alberta Canada.

A season full of good harvest ...  a florri-bundance indeed .  Discovering  new breeds of sheep,  and hugely appreciative  of all the suppliers  I now have  for my raw fleeces across the Highlands ....    how can I possibly   find time to  turn some of  these  quite beautiful fleeces into  Florries  .  With the   super hot spring  into summer  the wool clip was  a particularly  good one too.   Apart   from escaping to South Uist  again  in July for  5 nights  in the middle of  the season, and we  finally got to visit the Wool Mill on Grimsay~ Uist Wools ~   .... oooh ohoho   that   was    a real treat  .......     it has truly been a season  of  just about keeping up with demand  and keeping up with nature  . Bumper crop of Strawberries , apples  and even Tomatoes and still processing .A bit like a demented squirrel ... but we shall be glad  of the store  come January and February  . By then I will be in full swing for  the coming season of 2019.......

 But in the meantime   I have plenty to keep me busy  . Heading to Blair Castle in 2 weeks   ( no !  ..less Sheila , it is less   !!!)    . I have one or two new products  on the go for this winter  too . One I am  particularly excited about is  a  take on the Florrie  . A  'Shepherd's Star'    I hope  you like them    , just a bit quirky  and maybe  helpful to  someone  who cannot decide  which Florrie  they  really really want  !

Expecting to be  busy  now till the end of November ! Come and find me  at Blair Castle,  such a special part of the world for me  . 

My childhood  days filled with  freedom   guddling about in lochs & burns and  scrambling up hillsides   . Listening to the  curlew. 

 ALSO  heading back to Eden Court   16 - 17th November .       And then maybe there will be some  time to curl up with a good book on a  big FLORRIE

return to  the machair                          Wester Ross  - Feltscape 

.... summer retreat , colours                   local  commission piece

space , light   & curlews                         

    Shepherd's Star                                  Cherish the Curls Florrie  

   patchwork Florrie  using                     This one will shortly be                  different fleece types  ....                        auctioned   in aid of 

                                                                            MS Research                

......Splash into Spring !

So here we are in April  .....  and contrary to my  last musings of six months ago    I haven't been  hibernating at all !!  

 Inspired  by  ...    

 The  winter has been a long one  for  many of us  .   Here in Torridon  we have fared lightly  compared to much of the UK.

But it has  also been an exceptionally busy one !   With just a  couple of weeks to slow down   around Christmas  and the Solstice . ( I used to say  I was never ready for the new Year  until March  !! but this  year  was certainly not the case ).   Well Spring  is  swell and truly here now  and my energy levels  are  certainly boosted by it . For which  am very grateful.   The felting production has not slowed down at all   . Does this mean I am  stockpiling ready for the   summer season ahead  ?   Scarcely  . I have been   struggling to keep up with demand. Am I getting older ... slower ... ? ?    Probably.   But am I also more engaged with the   whole  process of  business ?  Possibly .   But  the  other   sea change   i think is  the rising popularity of Felt itself.   More  people  are looking for  sustainability, wanting it in their lives . And felt offers just this  , in so many ways .        

Some of you will have met me at some of the  Christmas Fairs around the Highlands . I always  enjoy meeting you !  Those Gotland fleeces  were  such  a huge  success !!!!   I hope I can find  more    for you .  In a recent   stock taking session ( it is that time of year )  the count of raw fleeces  stood at @  90 !!   from around 9 or 10  breeds of sheep . Handy for  insulating the loft too . These  include some  beautiful  Shetland fleeces  grown by very special friends in Sutherland.     Being able to  make  a small living   from   the very thing I am so passionate about  is a  huge  privilege .And getting out and about to  Craft Fairs  is also  alot of fun . I  probably  say that   too often   I know   but  it just is.  Please check the  Events~ Out & About pages  for  my 2018 dairy ..  some bigger commitments made, especially in the autumn.

So   the spring energy   also brings me colours  ...  Daffodils, Broom  and  the   biennial Woad leaves are ready for  harvesting again . I hope they will produce  a stronger colour  than  the small  sample seen here from a couple of years ago  , drying in the  lee of Liathach .  For  which I hope there will be  time soon to process.  Beautiful   golds and soft yellows and overdyed with  the woad  to give me  a small supply of  magical greens as well.   

I have had the  good fortune for  a few Feltscape commissions this winter   of which  this  image including  the rainbow  detail  was one . As you know  I am  a bit of a moon  watcher ! My latest   piece for my local Gallery here in Torridon   is based on  the  renewal of our earth around   IMBOLC , 1st February . St Brigid's Day, which is also  my birthday . All in  all much to celebrate ! This summer season Exhibition ' Night & Day '  opens in mid May.   And here we are now  , heading towards May .   I hope I can sustain my energy levels.  




1 .      Horns of Alligin  ~  Detail    . Feltscape winter Jan 2018    


2 .      Colour blending  on Hand Carders .

           Article  on  Carding Wool  for The Loch Torridon  Centre                   Gallery Newsletter  spring 2018  .

3.   Natural DYES from  Woad grown in my Torridon garden to               give  soft blues  &  overdyed on daffodil  to give acid green. 


4.   Lincoln Longwool Florries  -   part of   several  winter orders .  

Just  before the clocks go back and  Mrs Fingals's urge to hibernate  kicks in  and to explain I have not been  on holiday all summer....   here is  quiet moment to   reflect on the past few months  of  creativity.   

Summer time  in Torridon ..... reflections, requests and  running aboot like a mad thing !


With the route NC500  firmly  established ,  Mrs Fingal's cave in Torridon is now firmly on the map .... add  some  serendipity   and a celebratory note this weekend in October and  it seems life is good !  Alot of folk know  how passionate I am about wool & that I have been  making  felt   for awhile  .  The  images above  are a wee taste of how the past  few weeks have been  full on  ( no pun intended !).


Back in July I was  approached out of the blue,  by  a young Textile student , studying at Goldsmith's College in London. Could I make her  a yardage of felt for her  final Degree show ? 

 Well  , yes !     A YARDAGE that needed  to be wholly 3 metres in length . Not something I had ever endeavoured  before   . Also it needed to be  fine & supple enough to be   smocked . No  pressure then  ! The finished article  is stunning . Congratulations to Nastassia!  

 In the process I also felt  I had  crossed a threshold in my own Felt making  career. And feel honoured to be part of Nastassia's journey .

 Having  ' extra ' challenges thrown in like this  , in the midst of the   silly season of high summer, the regular Torridon markets, holiday let cottages ( I do 2 )  and keeping  my  craft shop outlets supplied  are all part of life in Torridon . Not a sleepy backwater at all in my view.

Serendipity in spoonfuls appeared  one  wet Sunday afternoon  when I was thinking  to head down to the shore for some  fresh air . Peering out of the window to see the state of the tide , I noticed the neighbour's  sheep & ponies  were the wrong side of  fence. Putting  them  back on the right side,  with the help of  passing walker we got into conversation about sheep breeds & WOOL!  This  young woman was another student  , this time from  Italy . She said she was having trouble  finding  really local  products , I don't know what  tourist  info she had been tapping into   but she kindly  came & bought 3 scarves ! Everyone happy ! 

So we managed  to  be tourists  ourselves  in July , revisiting  our piece  of Machair on South Uist .  Love the corncrakes , the light , the  people .   

Much reflection  this weekend as  I celebrate 22 years of marriage , so I thought I would  share   'wedding day ' .   

The 3rd piece of 3 pieces I made at the very first  felting workshop I went to,  back in  1995 . Still addicted to felt,    still very  much in  love  with  my husband ! Who's name is Les not Fingal     .

check out my diary page  , Out & About  for   fairs and   auctions  just around the corner ​....


full moon ~ dark sky   over Liathach   (feltscape @  12 inches square)      see blog entry 12 March 2017  

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fibre rocks ... art ancient and modern students work from Dornoch Fibre Fest   


works in progress .....   Dornoch students artwork



 


 

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meteoric  energy .....Dornoch students   artwork 


Mrs Fingal's Blog

An ongoing series of adventures in wool........2 January  2017   .... phew ! Mrs Fingal has arrived at a whole new chapter in her feltmaking journey & I look forward to sharing it with you. I hope I will be able to keep in touch  with entertaining & informative thoughts & tips.........................






10 FEBRUARY   2017

Snow moons and   super   stars  ~  ​    the  last few weeks   have   flown by  and even in January  when I think  I  may be entitled  to take the foot off the pedal a little there has been plenty to deal with , in my own wee orbit,  before  I   refocus  fully on the season ahead ( maybe all the more so  on account of the  lurgy confining   me  for  too many weeks..)  But outside  it has  been a  cracking few weeks  !   So , Sun shining on a lazy Sunday afternoon  saw me   spring cleaning  the  shed ,a few mice disturbed no doubt  but   the compost  bins  topped up  again  with  plenty  scruffy dag ends ! It really is the little things in life   that  give me a buzz......all that recycling of goodness back into the earth, our long suffering  earth , about to be  illuminated  by  a ​ snow moon AND a comet !  


Taking  stock of life is definitely a January sort of thing , and for me in a  Mrs Fingal's  birthday  sort of a way  along with Imbolc too  there is always  cause  for  celebration .  Before I knuckle down into  a steadier routine  , last  weekend was a  whirlwind of   great re-energising  in Warwick . With  friends & family  and   super star  music courtesy of Barnabus  , a prog rock band my husband  Les,  has been  part of, as a lyricist  since  the early 70s   .  And yes  they  did  share the stage  with some  well known  superstars too  ,Back in the day ...   & maybe  again !

Taking stock of fleeces  ...  I have  managed to  make a start  on   local  Torridon Shetland  &  Blackface fleeces  , needing attention  as soon as I can  finish carding  the giant superstar Lincoln Longwool fleece ~  all for  Florries .     All little by little. .. as I  am still trying to get  shoulder  muscles into full fitness.

But  I am also keen to make a start on some of the beautiful grey fleeces  I found  back in December .... When will there  ever be   enough hours in the day !!    With  so much choice around  me  , inspired by   the ever changing  colour  & light outside, so many vistas  tugging at my eye & wanting to  be worked into felt ... it is   quite often  just  simpler  to  go & do the dishes  than think about  colour, texture, skylines ? However  , today  I was reminded ,    I have  never  got round to  depicting   the mighty Liathach mountain  outside my  room  .. so  maybe  this is  a my start point  as the  snow moon  fills it's heaven.   

    



more  news  ....   places  are  now FULL   for  my Feltscape Masterclass

on 18th March   in Dornoch as part of  www.fibrefest.org.uk


29 March 2017    ~     Fibre rocks   ... !!!

As March   is rapidly being overtaken  by  April and the  Easter start to another  season  has me  ratcheting up a gear .... a quick   note to self  on March  ... The highlight  was definitely  meeting so many  creative people , old friends and new at Dornoch Fibrefest  . I feel  very lucky to not only  be working with  fabulous fibres and producing felt for various purposes,   but also  have  opportunities to   share  my skills with folk at workshops. The  exchange of energy  is always so  affirming & encouraging !!!  My Dornoch felt picture workshop was full of wonderful energy from women around the highlands and even Alberta, Canada, Thank  you for being such  a great bunch of students . I never  quite know if everyone's expectations are met. Maybe because  I pack quite alot of action into the day, pushing  exploratory boundaries as much as I can for folk   and probably  do not leave enough  time at the close of the day  for    questions and such . . I hope they are  .  I was, as  usual,   bowled over  by the artistic  flow and interpretations from everyone.   Rock art to rock albums , different   perspectives of   familiar &   shared views  .Extraordinary eye for perspectives being realised from some who had  never  made felt before . Magic !!   The  biggest compliment  I received  was that the day had been utterly  & creatively consuming.  A meditation . Being able to share our creativity  is  so important   and maybe increasingly so .   The whole weekend  was a feast of  creativity , sharing stories , travels , colours and connecting with    our  respective  journeys  . Upbeat ... . Priceless.....  

The freedom to explore my  creativity through feltmaking  is  something  I  will always treasure.