Spring has sprung on the farm
The sheep have duly delivered a reassuring cacophony of young bleats, even the particularly aesthetically challenged ‘pig sheep’ are surrounded by particularly cute lambs. We love nature, the cycle of the seasons on our landscape so I guess this is why we have chosen to spend our lives working outdoors. Yes, maybe sometimes we drag our clients to the edge of hypothermia, but nevertheless.. we are in our element and they are willing to join us.
‘This is why we do what we do’
Kristy has assured me on more than one occasion, as I rush with my trusty green North Face Jacket to warm another frozen American! But I thought we ‘chased light’? I recall mumbling under my breathe. A tear of nostalgia falls on my cheek. It is more likely hay-fever from the blindingly yellow Rapeseed in the back field! Gotta love nature... Can you develop allergies at my age? Should I worry? I breathe again and wipe another pollen filled tear away, taking a seat on the fence with Kristy and our friend Georgina.
I sit back and see the wind blowing waves across the crop, the colour of the heather as the sun catches the Sidlaw Hills beyond and become aware of the sound of a female sparrow giving her partner a bollocking in the tree. I feel his pain. The worries of self employment, the constant battle with a Stone Age internet service and the rattling, close to breaking, car suspension.. are all problems to be filed for another day.
We sit together in silence, each separately observing and.... just appreciate a moment. We do consider ourselves fortunate that our chosen path has attracted and surrounded us with likeminded, creative people. We have met clients who have now become friends after sharing some fantastically memorable days with them. Some even discovered whimsical.... after counselling.
We have gained valuable friendships with people like Georgina, who sees the world like we do and wants to share it in her creativity. I am tremendously lucky.. I reflect on my own journey to this point, sat on the back fence, admiring the tassels on a woven shawl. Yes.. if they could see me now..
Georgina is Feather and Hay, a hand weaver of beautiful, sustainable textiles. We were immediately drawn to her similar ethic and talks of nature, collaboration and commune were quickly had. On top of everything was I becoming a hippy..? She creates fabrics that are inspired by her love of the countryside, that connect with the landscape and immerse you in the journey of the seasons. I hear myself and am animated, noting the iridescence of a weave of a scarf, that actually does resemble the feathered chest of a Starling. My mother would love that.. it’s her birthday soon.
We had met Georgina in a rain soaked Glencoe last year, after she and her husband Dane, had won a Portrait session with us. At first we didn’t know why we had such an immediate connection.. it was just easy to be friends. However, it was soon clear that she and Kristy talk the same language, had the same kind of upbringing and naturally have the same creative inspiration to want to tell a story with their art.
What were the chances...?
Although on opposite ends of the world, Kristy and Georgina had enjoyed outdoor childhoods, one on an outback sheep farm, the other in rural England. They both played in the fields, explored their countryside, and created make-believe worlds in the ‘wild places’. It was in their blood... genetic. It was Mother Nature. They were women. They smiled sympathetically. I was in the company of two women on very much the same wavelength and had little room for error in my appreciation of the difference between a bobbin and a weft. So I retreated to my cave, pondered and endeavoured to understand how they see that light, the colours and the textures that surround them.
This was a deeper question and I was prone to overly analyse, so I took a picture of a ball of yarn in the heather. The colours blended perfectly with the environment... there I go again! It isn’t hard to understand why we wanted to help Georgina and be part of the development of her creativity through Feather and Hay. Our businesses have a shared ethos, vision and ethics. Perhaps even a spiritual belief that reaffirmed our spark of appreciation for the environment... we saw a familiarity in her fabrics... !? What has happened to me??
I was getting a little evangelical and my offer to pose for her business, adorned with a shawl, was gently declined and the suggestion that I was required to take images now. There was talk of my ‘skill using the prime lens’ and my ‘eye for a textured close up’. I fell for the beguiling feminine chat and agreed that my face was perhaps not the one for Feather and Hay, particularly at a low f-stop. I was ‘allowed’ to claim the ‘spark of genius’ and the search for a more appropriate ‘Face of Feather and Hay’ was born. I agreed to put aside my fledgling modelling career, stay behind the lens and be assured that I would have ‘input’ in the choice of my successor.
They smiled sympathetically.. again.
I could write the specification and do the sifting of aspiring models.. I thought enthusiastically, before I was reminded of the demon connotations and Weinstein association. Perhaps not. I had innocently crossed a line but I was excited.. it was like being Tom Jones on The Voice! This really is a unique opportunity to be part of something creative, promote beautiful textiles and experience a Highland photoshoot with us. I see the future.. and it was the colour of granite and lichen in the Cairngorms. I am regrettably prohibited from application but the ‘powers that be’ are soon to use the power of social media to facilitate an alternative competition.
Maybe I could wear a wig...