Holidays are time out. Time away from the everyday. A time and place where you exist in a bubble. My bubble at the end of May had blue sky, blue water, green water, sunshine even. Hard to imagine in Edinburgh in June that there is anywhere, ever, where there are blue skies but there was on the Greek island of Kefalonia.
Lots of sun. Lots of colours and textures. Which was good as I was one of a group who were trying our hands (with our hands) to convey the atmosphere in yarn. Sounds a bit odd, rather a reverse alchemy, aspiring to transform air and light and colour and foreign substance into a hand-woven tapestry. But it felt good and indeed appropriate to be in a land of ancient stories engaged in an occupation which dates back through time. Hunched over my tiny loom, raising high my warps to pull through my wefts I could feel a faint affinity with Odysseus’ wife as she worked through the heat of the day. And at the end of the day, even if by then I pictured myself as a bent old crone with a spindle, I had something to show for my efforts. With no unwanted suitors lurking behind that island in the bay eager for me to complete my work, my day ended with the satisfaction of knotting off not the necessity of surreptitious unravelling.
What a difference the warmth and brightness of a place by the sea makes. My first attempt at hand woven tapestry had been on an island off the west coast of Scotland last autumn. I am prepared to believe that the weather we had that week may not be typical…
Inspired by the raw beauty of the weather-beaten landscape, and fuelled by a steady diet of soup and cheese and pickle sandwiches for lunch, my first works were not really such as to lift the spirits in retrospect
but with the sun! and the clear light and the wondrous salads and the kind tuition, formal and informal, and (let us not be too precious about this) the occasional light refreshment, ‘ook! Still not sure what to do with the wee things but they were pleasing to do and, to me at least, pleasing to contemplate and to touch. Sensual as well as visual.