March 31, 2011 § 2 Comments
Hailing from the Point area of the Island of Lewis Ishbel MacAskill was brought up with the rich heritage of centuries old Gaelic music and song which still survives in Point and indeed all over the island of Lewis. Her music and culture were immensely important in her life and for several years she was very much involved in teaching traditional Gaelic singing to children at the numerous Feisean (festivals of music and song) throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
“There are some voices so sublime they transcend all differences of language, culture, class or creed, and Ishbel MacAskill has one of them. I have watched this remarkable lady not only entrance a Catalan audience but also have them singing the true version of The Eriskay Love Lilt in Gaelic, with passable Lewis accents, too! That devastating combination of bubbly sense of fun, warm, low, golden pure tones and supreme interpretive skill could melt a heart of solid marble. When Ishbel sings, it is the song that matters, and all the tragedy, the hope, the endurance, the love and the courage of the Gaels shines through. Whether you have Gaelic or not, Ishbel’s singing will speak to you and you will understand…” (Sheena Wellington)
Ishbel sadly passed away today, aged 70 years.
Here she sings An Ataireachd Ard, an emigrant’s lament for their beloved island home of Lewis.
|An ataireachd bhuan
Cluinn fuaim na h-ataireachd ard
Cha torann a’ chuain
Mar chualas leam-s’ ‘nam phaisd
Gun mhuthadh, gun truas
A’ sluaisreadh gainneimh na tragh’d
An ataireachd bhuan
Cluinn fuaim na h-ataireachd ard
Sna coilltean a siar
|The everlasting surge of the sea
Hear the roar of the mighty surge
The thundering of the ocean’s
As I heard in my childhood
Without change, without pity
Sweeping up the sands on the shore
The everlasting surge of the sea
Hear the roar of the mighty surge
In the woods of the west
March 30, 2011 § 1 Comment
The Croft isn’t very sure what to make of this clothing line.
So odd it might actually be good.
I mean the stuff looks crazy but is, apparently, highly practical too. Detachable legs for gun mounting?! I don’t even know what that means let alone entails but I sorta like it!
I have a bit of a blank spot when it comes to woman’s fashion, I find it hard to know if they’re taking the mickey half the time. Anyway, it’s all very Jilly Cooper meets Scaliscro Estate, Harris Tweed meets Harvey Nicks. It looks like serious tailoring stitched with a lot of fun but I’ll leave it to the PR spiel to convince you one way or another…
ansarinô was established in 2007 and has rapidly developed a reputation for exquisite leather and suede couture and by drawing on the unique qualities of Harris Tweed has produced remarkably versatile and attractive country clothing.
Garments are hand made combining practicality and functionality with sophistication and sex appeal while still maintaining the tradition of field and country.
Combining unadulterated British eccentricity with unerring practicality, The Shooting and Country Apparel by ansarinô offers the confident, dynamic woman with a 20 bore a liberal dash of sartorial elegance.
Created for the woman who wouldn’t dream of compromising her style while in the field, ansarinô exclusive range of elegant yet practical shooting wear also ensures that while she looks fabulous, her outfit is also far more practical, warm and technically efficient than any other shooting wear available on the market today.
Because The Shooting Suit is revolutionary, the ansarinôwoman is “ahead of the Game” – it is the first shooting wear ever to be designed specifically for the Gun, it is a technical garment, the fit allows a freedom of movement never experienced before.
With features such as a detachable lower trouser leg, and perfect fit when gun mounting, the styling incorporated in the ansarinô Shooting Suit prioritises functionality – while pushing style boundaries at the same time. This means that the Ansarino Shooting Suit doesn’t just look fabulous, it is technically brilliant too.
The ansarinô Shooting Suit combines Harris Tweed, leather and suede to create a garment that blends traditional textures with contemporary styling. The choice of Harris Tweed for this exclusive range of shooting wear means that the suit is robust and dependable, offering years of wear with the added warmth one can expect from a high quality tweed. The high quality tailoring, however, means that the suit is elegant, stylish and sexy. It is not only for those women for whom shooting is becoming a passion, but also for accompanying guests and loaders or those merely wishing to create a stir whilst enjoying wonderful days in the country.
March 30, 2011 § Leave a Comment
The Croft is now geared for pleasant viewing on iPads should you have one.
March 29, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Image © www.hkhoney.org/
Take from my palms, to soothe your heart,
a little honey, a little sun,
in obedience to Persephone’s bees.
You can’t untie a boat that was never moored,
nor hear a shadow in its furs,
nor move through thick life without fear.
For us, all that’s left is kisses
tattered as the little bees
that die when they leave the hive.
Deep in the transparent night they’re still humming,
at home in the dark wood on the mountain,
in the mint and lungwort and the past.
But lay to your heart my rough gift,
this unlovely dry necklace of dead bees
that once made a sun out of honey.
Osip Mandelstam, translated by Clarence Brown and W.S. Merwin.
March 29, 2011 § Leave a Comment
“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came.” – John F. Kennedy, 1962
Thought for the day: It’s not a good thing to go six months without setting foot in an ocean.
March 26, 2011 § Leave a Comment
March 25, 2011 § 2 Comments
“The greatest painter of night.”
“And what exactly does that mean?”
“I want to paint the night in such a way that no other painting compares to mine.”
“But what do you mean by ‘night’, the darkness?”
“No, there’s darkness in the morning but it’s not the same. And night isn’t always dark; sometimes it’s quite bright, like in The Starry night.”
“That’s very unusual for a girl,” He said, “are you sure that’s what you want to do when you leave school?”
“Yes, the only thing I want to be is the greatest painter of night.”
“But why night? Why not the greatest painter of something else, like fire or maybe eyes, I hear they’re very hard to draw.”
“So is the night.” I said. “But it’s not about that. I didn’t sit down and think about what’s hard to paint, or what will impress people. I want to be the greatest painter of night because it’s the most important thing to me.”
“And why is it so important to you?”
“I don’t want to tell you.”
“Why not?” He asked.
“Because if you knew why it was important to me you would focus on that when you looked at my paintings and not the night itself, which is the only thing that matters. It’s like my dad said before he had to go, ‘I wish I could explain how much I love you, but if I was able to then I suppose it wouldn’t be love.’”
March 20, 2011 § Leave a Comment
The chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides, Brian Wilson, has been named as Scotland’s Global Director of the Year and also the Highlands and Islands Director of the Year at the Institute of Directors annual awards ceremony in Glasgow.
His double success is the latest recognition of how the Shawbost-based company has transformed the industry’s prospects since producing its first fabric just three years ago. Brian was nominated for the awards by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which has worked closely with the company from its inception.
The Global Award recognised the creative approach adopted by Harris Tweed Hebrides to extending its export markets. It is given to “the individual who successfully promoted Scotland and their organisation overseas – profiling and improving Scotland’s economic performance and international reputation in 2010”.
The citation for the IoD Awards said: “Harris Tweed Hebrides has led to a revival in the Harris Tweed industry. Since its formation in 2007, the company now accounts for over 90 per cent of Harris Tweed production, exports to more than 50 countries and has revitalised the industry, taking the product up-market and re-establishing its place as a key player in the competitive fashion and design sector”.
Crawford Gillies, chairman of Scottish Enterprise, chaired the judging panel and Edinburgh Napier University Business School carried out background checks on the finalists, including Company House records and various other sources through the Edinburgh Research Institute.
Brian Wilson said afterwards: “I appreciate the fact that HIE put me forward for these awards. They have been extremely supportive from the outset which was at a time when there was widespread gloom about the prospects for the Harris Tweed industry. Nobody need be gloomy now.
“It has been a complete team effort by everyone involved in Harris Tweed Hebrides, led at Shawbost by chief executive Ian Angus Mackenzie. Our real reward is the fact that there are now over 50 people employed in what was a derelict mill while 120 home weavers are being kept busy, all on a year-round basis”.
The Highlands and Islands award was presented by HIE chief executive, Alex Paterson. Appropriately enough for a Global Director of the Year, Brian had to leave the Glasgow ceremony early to connect with a flight to Sao Paulo, where Harris Tweed Hebrides are taking part in a UKTI British Lifestyle event, organised by government bodies, United Kingdom Trade International and Scottish Development International.
March 18, 2011 § 1 Comment
Anne Campbell was born and brought up in Bragar, on the Isle of Lewis.
She studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art, graduating with First Class Honours and a Distinction at post-graduate level, and lived in Edinburgh and the Isle of Harris before returning to Bragar ten years ago. She recently graduated from Edinburgh University with an MSc with Distinction in Archaeology. Her dissertation subject was the north Lewis moorland: the work was based on a field survey of the water catchment area of the bay at the present-day village of Bragar.
‘The Lewis landscape can be seen as a palimpsest: features representing human activity over millennia exist side by side and laid on top of each other, with the same sites and materials re-used over and over again. As well as these physical remains there is a dense network of place-names, songs and stories connected with each part of the landscape.
I work extensively from sketches done while out walking, trying to get a feeling of the immediacy of being outside in the fresh air alongside birds, sheep and other creatures. I am also interested in communicating a sense of the significance that the people of the island have attached, and still attach, to the land, by incorporating traditional verse and place-lore into my work.’