Postcard from Sutherland

Scotland is blessed with an exceptional quantity of coast for its size, which is perfect for those of us who love edges.

My home stretch of coastline is along the Firth of Tay, but I love to visit all the other edges too, especially those further north. One of my favourite areas to visit is Sutherland, in the farthest north-west corner of Scotland. The pandemic has kept us away for a few years, but that meant it was all the more of a treat to head back there in July. I feel as though I have only partly returned home…

Working with sound as a design inspiration has been an ongoing interest for me since I first joined the Aural Textiles project in 2018, and watery sounds are right at the top of my list. I took a lot of photos on our trip, but also captured just as many sound snippets. My phone calls them ‘voice memos’ though in truth they are mostly ‘wave memos’. I am looking forward to exploring these creatively over the coming months, and in the meantime I have discovered that Descript (the program I use to transcribe and caption my teaching videos) offers a little visualisation tool – perfect for sending you an audio postcard from Sutherland.

The idea of using sound as a design source can seem a bit strange. It’s appealing in principle, but how exactly do you make it work as a weaving? Of course there is no single answer to that question, but a whole host of possible answers depending on the way you like to approach the loom.

I’ve been sorting out my ideas on this in order to develop a brand new online workshop, which is quite exciting. It is an opportunity to bring together several different strands of design thinking, and to see how they complement and support each other. My thanks go to the Weavers’ Guild of Boston for setting me this challenge! I’m looking forward to leading the workshop in November, and to learning what sounds they find inspiring.

Postcard from Sutherland was posted by Cally on 19 August 2022 at