Corinna Krause – Sollas Bookbinding, North Uist

By Julia Welstead As I park alongside a sleek woodclad house, home to Sollas Bookbinding, a woman flits past the window, ushering me in with a welcoming wave. I walk into a familiarly busy kitchen scene: children, puppy, baking, washing, breakfast, homework, games, projects, ringing telephones….all ably orchestrated and overseen by the woman I haveRead more ⟶

Julie & Steve Olley – Croft 36, Harris

By Julia Welstead I’m in croft heaven. Twice-my-height willows sway and flex in the breeze all around me, thriving on fertile coastal ground knee deep with grasses and sedges, buttercups and rushes, marsh marigold and silverweed. Veggie patches and fruit bushes blend into this biodiverse haven, organic in every sense. A polytunnel crammed with burgeoningRead more ⟶

Eilidh Carr – Photographer & Coralbox owner, Berneray

By Julia Welstead Eilidh Carr remembers playing ‘shop’ as a kid, so setting up shop for real in her home island of Berneray came naturally to this enterprising and talented artist. Having studied photography at Aberdeen University, Eilidh chose to move home in 2015 to pursue her art in the inspiring land, sea and skyRead more ⟶

Emma MacKenzie – Weave-art, Lewis

by Julia Welstead Like so many island makers I am meeting, Emma MacKenzie is a multi-tasker extraordinaire. Her love of textiles began with spinning and dyeing, felting and sewing, all skills taught to her by the Barvas wool and spinning group. From this she has developed her own unique style of collage to produce stunningRead more ⟶

Tina MacPhail, Grinneabhat Community Hub, Lewis

By Julia Welstead In a fate sadly common to many rural primary schools, Bragar school closed in 2012. Having opened in 1878 and with a peak role-call of 200 children, it was a sad day when the area lost its school and the building lost its purpose. The good news is that Bragar community ralliedRead more ⟶

Heike Winter – Mustheb, Harris

By Julia Welstead “Fortune or luck is my theme” Heike of Mustheb tells me as we settle in for a blether in her wonderfully warm and aromatic kitchen. I would liken this room, the heart of her mustard making adventure, to any artist’s studio or chemist’s laboratory. It’s a hub of creative experiment. Heike’s fortune,Read more ⟶

Pauline Prior-Pitt – Poet & painter, North Uist

By Julia Welstead We talk from the get go, from the gate, ‘sorry it’s closed, the sheep get in to the garden otherwise’ to the kitchen, ‘would you like soup?’ I arrive at 12.45, leave at 15.45. As I’m walking away from her shed, `a moment of guilt, wonderment, humour, passes between us – haveRead more ⟶

Kirsty O’Connor – Artist-maker, Berneray

by Julia Welstead I initially find out about Kirsty O’Connor through a Tiree friend who attended UHI (University of Highlands and Islands) art college at Taigh Chearsabhagh in Lochmaddy. I’ve already passed through the Isle of Berneray on my Outer Isles odyssey, but I’m more than happy to re-trace my steps for such a fascinatingRead more ⟶

Rebecca Hutton – Weaver, Harris

by Julia Welstead I’m told to look out for a shed in the garden behind a white house, and it takes a couple of passes and a conversation with her father for me to find Rebecca Hutton at her loom. Her shed, in reality only just big enough space for her Hattersley mark 2 loom,Read more ⟶

Margaret Anne Elder – Herring Girl Collection, Barra

By Julia Welstead Knitting is a skill often learned from a grandparent, with perhaps more time on their hands than a busy parent. For Margaret Anne Elder, learning to knit at her Granny’s knee became the inspiration for her Herring Girl Collection and Granny’s intricately knitted jumpers are the source of the many traditional patternsRead more ⟶

Cally Yeatman – Artist, North Uist

by Julia Welstead The day I’m due to meet Cally Yeatman she is still testing positive for Covid-19. I ring her to rearrange, and an hour later we are still on the phone, having naturally talked our way through most of what I might have asked in an interview. I still hope to meet thisRead more ⟶

Mhairi Law – Island Darkroom, Lewis

by Julia Welstead I’m not really supposed to be here, but my sister asked me to drop in on Island Darkroom, as she’s interested in coming on a workshop here. So my plan is to blend in with the shop visitors and not announce myself as a journalist interviewing makers, but as I park IRead more ⟶