A Year of change
2020 is the year that just keeps giving. When you think it’s thrown everything it can at you, another storm rolls in. It’s been a year that most of us would like to forget. Challenge after challenge, confusion, uncertainty, despair. We have all had to deal with a rollercoaster of emotions and problems.
Despite the difficulties and challenges, there are glimmers of optimism and positivity that shine through and give a tremendous feeling of hope. A simple act of kindness by a complete stranger, a longed for chat with your friend far away, a spectacular sunrise while the waves crash against the shore and an Otter busies itself fishing for breakfast, or the arrival of the summer migrants like the Corncrake and Wheatear, a sure sign that the cycle of life will continue and it will soon get better.
Personally I feel incredibly thankful. Like everyone, I’ve had to make life changing decisions, adapt to a new way of working and living, and do a bit of soul searching to try to make sense of the world. I’m not sure if I’ve reached a conclusion yet but I’m certainly giving it a go.
We have to look for things which can make our lives that bit better. Something that makes you feel like yourself. Something which can help up forget. To let us escape in to our own world of happiness and be absorbed by.
Find your thing
Finding that thing that makes you happy is completely different for each of us. One persons passion is another persons nightmare. So finding what you love is the key, and enjoy trying out lots of things until you find what helps to complete you.
For me, it’s being outside and being creative. Being outside surrounded by wildlife and the elements. Walking, running or cycling, takes me to places you can’t get to in the car. It gives moments of awe, joy, and challenge. Being on a beach in a storm, sitting on a cliff top watching sea birds diving, an Eagle soaring and Otters fishing, hearing the first Corncrake of the year and seeing the Machair erupt in to a sea of colour. Exploring the spectacular landscapes, sights, sounds and smells of the Hebrides is a treat and It’s what gives me inspiration for my crafts.
I’m often asked where my patterns come from and what books I use for designs or where I learned how to do my crafts. The simple answer if that I don’t use any patterns or designs, and I’m completely self taught. My education and training focused on rural studies, conservation and wildlife management. For years I worked outdoors. I was able to watch the birds, flowers, bees and butterflies. To see the landscapes change through the seasons, plant trees and flowers and watch them grow, and share my love of the outdoors with people from all different backgrounds. My love of the outdoors continues and what inspires each piece I make.
Like many of us this year, my day job had to change and I’ve needed to adapt. But every day, I am grateful to be able to get outside – whatever the weather and turning my experience in to my crafts.
I’ve always loved sewing, but I tried out so many other crafts before finding my thing. Baking and Cake decorating, Fimo modelling, basket weaving, glass decorating and more. I’ve tried out all sorts. I wasn’t very good at a lot of things. When I was basket weaving I got so obsessed in the detail the basket was so small it could have fit in a dolls house. And I’m completely tone deaf, I don’t have a musical note in my body and my dancing skills are non-existent, but I had a go.
As 2020 draws to a close, I would encourage anyone to have a go at something new. Whether you try a new craft, photography, learn to bake bread, climb a mountain, ride a bike, write a book or poem, discover the history of where you live or plant some trees and flowers to help the wildlife in your garden. Have a go. It doesn’t always turn out how you expect, but keep trying. Find what you love and what makes you you.
There are so many fantastic crafters and artisans in the Hebrides, and each is unique and has something different that sets them apart. The Amazing Harris Tweed weavers such as Crotal Harris Tweed and Shawbost Weavers, a Waistcoat by The Weaving shed, Yummy goodies such as Hebridean Copper Kettle fudge or Hebridean Mustard, Photos which have the power to transport you in to the picture Callanish digital designs, beautiful things made from the ancient rocks of the Hebrides by Gneiss things, The warming scents of Atlantic lights, or the music of Elsa McTaggarts ‘When the world stood still‘.
There’s far too many gifted folk in the Hebrides to mention here, but when you next visit the Hebrides, be sure to try a bit of Hebridean arts and Crafts.
And for 2021? Forget any concerns and preconceptions and have a go. Find what you love doing. Give yourself a challenge and something to keep you going through these difficult times when the world is so uncertain.
I want to thank you all for helping me to keep crafting which I can share with you. And to wish you a Very Happy New year, filled with love, laughter, health and happiness. It may feel a long way off, but times will get better.
Be yourself, Be kind, and give it a go.