Hello! It has been a while since I’ve explained what Feather & Hay is all about and a little more about how I came to be a hand weaver and start this business – creating the F&H textile.
The above photo was taken by Kristy Ashton who I met soon after I moved to Scotland. I won a competition to get my photograph taken in the Highlands and I enjoyed every minute because being outdoors in this landscape fills me with inspiration and a longing to capture its beauty and mood in textiles. But I must step back a few years to explain why I started hand weaving.
I began weaving in 2014
I started weaving in 2014, taking a handful of lessons from a local lady. Being creative has always been important but I hadn’t found a medium that suited my personality. I need a framework to work within. If I don’t have parameters I get lost. Weaving is mathematical as well as creative. I enjoy working within rules and then creating something from simple, traditional methods and stunning fibres. Since then I have taught myself using YouTube, books and a lot of trial and error.
I love to work with natural raw materials and old methodology. Since moving to Scotland in 2018 with my husband and four children the Scottish landscape is a huge part of why I create. I adore being out in the landscape, learning its plateaus and hollows, its crags and peaks. Although being outdoors has always been important (since early childhood) Scotland offers spectacular and endless inspiration.
The Feather & Hay textiles have a practical quality – they keep me warm and toasty on my forays but it is also about capturing some of that magic that the Highlands and the Glens provide. Scotland has a long history of textiles such as plaids, tartans, Paisley & Fair Isle patterns. Weaving is part of a long tradition here as is story telling. It isn’t difficult to picture independent weavers working on their looms and spinning wheels whilst sharing local folk tales. I try to capture this through my own art process. Through the beautiful finished pieces, I am offering a little piece of the amazing landscape, its history and the never ending magic that radiates even from afar.
Techniques – weaving, spinning, stitching & felting
I keep the weaving mostly traditional but within these classic patterns I bring an added element of multiple textile artistry. Most pieces will include hand spun inlays. Often using local fibres with many Scottish and British wools (all pieces are 100% natural) I use them to add that wild element of the landscape: its textures and colours. The Story Plaids are unique, the design is a one-off for every single shawl. Each one has a story to share through stitching and needle felting.
Looking ahead to the next year I will continue to hand weave Story Plaids. As they’re quite wide shawls and I currently do not have a fly shuttle (which would save my poor neck and shoulders!) I break up their creation with smaller pieces – The Simply Scotland (coming soon) and Giant Scarf collections. If you love Scotland and want to own something beautifully and carefully made in Scotland; inspired by all its magic – there is a Feather & Hay textile for you<3
Is there anything you’d like me to share about the F&H story? Add you thoughts in the comments.