here are our lengths of paper, painted and drawn on in the dyeing shed, brought indoors to fold and cut;

put together the whole is more. we used japanese ink sticks rubbed onto flat stones from the beach with water, and peat from the burn banks, making brushes or finding twigs and other materials to make marks.

we had embroidered squares and dyed them to make book covers

padded with pieces from the floor-covering old blankets that had been used to protect the billiard room carpet from our activities. however, on advice I left my book uncovered, and used those pieces of silk joined to other pieces to make another tsunobokuro bag. which has since gone to wrap my daughter’s birthday presents ….

but there was more –

we stitched papers into the book

from the selection in our first present of materials, from Alison – old map pieces

tracing paper, and the rubbings I had done of George Mackay Brown’s words around the pool in the garden

sewn in with linen thread

a new artist’s book. an interesting technique which needs none of the usual materials for book binding beyond aul, needle and thread.

then we worked with Alison with colour again on our last afternoon

by this time I had loosened up a great deal.

I used the watercolour tubes I’d brought, on papers from Alison’s contribution

and on this one, the vegetable dyes and oil bars she’d brought.

then I added some colour to the sketchbook from our trip

it melted the fountain pen ink

and is rather gestural instead of “filling in”

but in some cases I think I did a bit too much

however on the whole I’m pleased, and

intend to make more sketchbooks in this way

perhaps on the writing outside courses; the next one starts in January.

a slow look at the sound on our last morning, and a slow look back from a grey seal. a place to stick in the mind, and a wonderfully productive week with “sister stitchers” – keeping in touch via instagram –

I have already obtained a copy of George Mackay Brown’s A Portrait of Orkney, and ordered his collected poems.

on the subject of poems

my poem is out in the Rialto, very exciting