Growing up on the Isle of Jura, I had a childhood quite unlike most others.
With a small population of 200, age was not a factor in friendships, nor was class, wealth, distance or popularity. Unless of course, you could tell a wild story of mischievous endeavours, in which case you might be preferable company. Childhood was not just blur of raucous games of football or shrill exploits on the recorder. It was prank phone calls to Fergie the accordionist from the red telephone box. It was delivering the mail to the cottage that housed Patsy the parrot being the highlight of the week. It was being bundled into the hill machine trailer with the trout caught in the season's first fishing competition. It was madness, hilarity, wholesome, unique.
A simple life is island life. Simple in that there are 'one of some things'. One road, one shop, one pub. Not so simple, however, in getting your milk or newspaper in a howling gale (no ferries), or sending a text message to your friends saying you won't be at school because there's a rope wrapped around the propeller of the wee ferry (no signal), or avoiding the eye of your parents, or indeed any of the witnesses, after being a youthful and very drunk teenager at a ceilidh in the one village hall (no escape).
It is only natural that creativity would be gifted to you in some way, an essential tool for carving your way through a typical Hebridean week. This is how I use my dose of creativity, and I absolutely love it...
In the porch of an old gamekeepers cottage, huddled by the forest yet exposed to the sea, I use traditional metal-smithing techniques as well as working intuitively with found materials to create storytelling objects; objects that project curiosity, humour, warmth and nostalgia; objects that save the environments one little piece of debris at a time; objects that offer you a sense of belonging; objects that there can each only be one of.
I reflect stories of old and new through embracing found materials, returning life to flotsam and abandoned or broken objects. I revel in the timeless romance of Hebridean Island life and let it leak into every crevice of my design process.
Each small connection draws the bigger picture of celebrating this magical and unique archipelago of Scotland and keeping the art of storytelling alive.
I write and illustrate short stories, poems and memoirs, dependant on my finds scavenging through old sheds, combing the beach and dismantling broken items. Having a distinctly hands-on approach, I express both a childlike playfulness and a nostalgia for times before the digital takeover.