Sunday, May 5, 2013

Day Four, 19 April 2013

Edinburgh welcomed us with a completely sunny day, the warmest and brightest of the tour! We started the day at Dovecot Tapestry Studio.  After that, travelers were turned loose to explore the Royal Mile and new town as they wished.  3 of us explored the Royal Botanic Gardens. 
Dovecot Studio and Galleries are housed in a former Victorian era swimming pool. The studio commissioned a new tapestry loom  this year which was made from scratch, copying the plans from their other loom which may be 100 years old.

Dovecot weaver, Jonathon Cleaver talked to us about the history of the studio which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012.

Jonathon enjoys working on inovative projects such as this collaboration with jeweler David Postin. David created the wire armature and Jonathon wove within the shape to create "Circles in Green."

Dovecot mostly weaves commissioned works. However, this new speculative piece being woven by David and Naomi, "Large Tree Group", will hang in  an exhibition at Dovecot in August.  It is based on a painting by Victoria Crow.

The Royal Botanic Garden boasts 10 glass houses with plants from all over the world.
Travelers, daughter and mother, Jennifer and Melissa are avid gardeners and landscapers who added much to my enjoyment of the gardens with their vast knowledge of plants.

Once glass house had an amazing array of fiddlehead ferns.

At the end of the day, Jennifer was always ready to walk up someplace high with me. We are on Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park, about one mile from the Royal Mile.

Day Three, 18 April 2013

The Borders region of Scotland is self explanatory. It is the land just north of England's border, home to the River Tweed, River Yarrow, multitudes of sheep, cattle, and where most of the remaining textile mills in Scotland are.  We visited New Lanark World Heritage center, Lochcarron Mill and Andrew Elliot Mill, both in Selkirk. 
New Lanark is a restored mill and village. Robert Owen was the enlightened manager  in the 1830's who provided good working condition, sanitary living quarters, medical treatment, and schooling for the workers.
A trail follows the River Clyde past 3 water falls. The water provided the power to operate the mill.

With the abundant rain and snow melt, the River Clyde was running very high. Claire, Dot and Jennifer ventured to the first of the falls.

Marilyn and Jane purchased wool yarn currently spun in the mill. The mill originally spun jute and cotton yarns.

Andrew Elliot is one of just 4 mills left in Selkirk and the only one still owned and operated by the family. We visited the mill in 2007 when Andrew was still designing and weaving. Andrew died in 2009.

Robin Elliot now operates the mill. They weave specialty orders of woollen fabrics including district tweed patterns.

Day Two, 17 April 2013

Paisley is just a twenty minute drive from Glasgow City centre. The town once boasted the most highly skilled handloom weavers in Scotland, and later on, huge thread mills.  The town goes back to the 6th century when St Mirin founded a church there.   We spent the entire day in Paisley visiting Paisley Abbey, Paisley Museum, Sma Shot Cottages, and the Thread Mill Museum.
Dan Coughlan is the curator of the Paisley shawl collection. He showed us pattern books from the mid 19th century of paisley patterns. The first record of weaving in Paisley dates back to 1695. At that point they were weaving muslin and checkered linen.

Dan is a master weave. He has rebuilt and refurbished the jacquard and draw looms at the museum.

Lee and Dot examine a paisley shaw fom the handling collection.

We eat lunch and tour the Sma Shot Cottages.  Jane models how the paisley shawl was worn as an outer garment.

Nessie worked at a thread mill in Paisley for 6 years. She is holding a functioning hand crank sewing machine that the Anchor mill used as a promotional tool. 

The museum is run by volunteers, many who worked in the mills.

This is a much older section in the Paisley Abbey's choir. The choir was rebuilt in the 20th century.