I spent last weekend in Westray, one of the other Orkney islands. I have a friend who lives there, and she is in charge of setting up courses etc on the island. I was there to run days on needle felting and spinning. Elly came with me. It was the first time she had flown in an Islander, the planes that serve the Outer Isles.
We stayed in the main village, Pierwall. Elly took the camera out for a wander while I sorted myself out!
All day Friday was needle felting at the school, with S1 and 2 (about 12 – 14 yrs). There were 11 of them, 5 boys and 6 girls, and they really worked hard.
As always we started with a flat piece to learn the basic techniques, then moved on to shaped pieces. With Mother’s Day approaching I suggested they might like to make a brooch for their mum. Many took up my idea of a daffodil or a sheep, but others had their own ideas. After lunch we went on to 3D work. By request it was selkies (seals) again! We all made the pipe-cleaner frame together then worked on the padding and felting at our own pace. We used North Ronaldsay fibre for this, which felts so quickly – much faster than merino!! There were some delightful Finished Objects!
The next day was spinning, with adults. Everyone was at a different stage, but I think everyone learnt something from the day. Some were new spinners, others enjoyed trying new fibres. Several spun silk for the first time, and several took their first steps along the ‘art yarn’ route.
On Sunday evening it was the adults’ turn to try needle felting. People concentrated very hard, and produced some lovely work in just 3 hours.
Earlier on the Sunday, Elly and I went to Notland Castle. Built by Gilbert Balfour around 1570, and never finished, this is an impressive ruin standing on rising ground towards the north of the island.
The castle kitchens. There was a floor half way up and storage space above.