Members of the Scottish Basketmakers Circle came from many places and travelled many miles to arrive at the very northerly point of the Isle of Lewis. This was to attend one of three courses on offer plus the AGM.Our accommodation was provided by the Decca, Lionel and they sorted extra bed and breakfast places and two self-catering houses nearby. The food and hospitality of Louise and Pete was fantastic and we enjoyed a very warm welcome there.
Course 1 Exploring Heather with Caroline Dear. This course filled the fastest. Possibly the first time a course like this has been run before. Caroline brought a quantity of heather with her from Skye and participants had a chance to harvest for themselves on a breezy sunny and dry afternoon. Rope, open weave baskets and coiled work were all tried. Some using hair moss.
Course 2 Basketry Fundamentals with Lise Bech. Participants were given choices about what kind of round work they wanted to do, with many completing more than one piece. All had a good grounding in stake and strand work.
Course 3 Hebridean Creel Making with Dawn Susan. Dawn had to step in a few weeks before due to the ill health (and subsequent death) of the original tutor Donald MacArthur. A difficult basket to make, all participants did very well especially as the creel needs thick,brown willow for its strength. Straps for the creels were also taught with bought sisal twine.
The courses were either at the Decca or within walking distance at the school next door. The surroundings, with a fabulous beach also in walking distance were enjoyed by all. Anne Macsween of the local historical society brought along a piece of heather rope that was about 100 years old which was great to see. We also got to watch the video of Donald Macdonald of Gisla making a creel.
Photos by Angela Price of the heather course, mostly of coiling with hair moss.