"I would be about 13 or 14 when I saw an advert in a local paper for an evening course in weaving. It seems bizarre looking back, as to just why this should grab my attention. The class was full of lovely, helpful ladies - all eager to help me learn. I remember the excitement of producing my first piece of cloth, that wondrous feeling of seeing it slowly unroll off the front beam. Something just clicked with me and weaving; I immediately loved it.
My Dad made my first, simple loom until I’d saved up enough money, from Saturday and holiday jobs, to buy my first table loom. I must have been quite a strange teenager with my loom and spinning wheel! Weaving quickly became a passion that I later developed in many of my art and textile projects at school and then at college.
It was whilst I was at college, studying weaving and art, that I first visited Skye, on holiday, with a group of friends. I knew, almost immediately and with some certainty, that this was where I would live one day. I think what struck me was the combination of the stark beauty of the sea and the close proximity of the spectacular, rugged geology. It feels like an ancient landscape, remote and wild, which I think is intensified by the highly unpredictable weather. The huge waterfalls, and dramatic coastal rock formations have such a primeval quality, it feels a very long way from the 21st Century.
After holidaying on Skye for over 20 years, the dream of living here became a reality. Following 12 years of teaching Art, Textiles and Food Technology, whilst living in Cumbria, I took the plunge and handed in my notice. After a year of dealing with builders and a winter of intense designing, weaving, sewing and painting I opened the doors of the Ellishadder Gallery in the spring of 2012.
.... And in case you're wondering, I get just as excited now, as I did 30 years ago when I wove that first piece of cloth, unrolling a new length of cloth from the loom!"