Thursday, 30 October 2008

the rest of the October month

Happy New Celtic Year!

It is post-Portal time now! Folks dare to draw their breath again in the bothy and trying to get over the fact that it is all over! What next?

Anneruth went on holiday at last, and as the winter approaches she will be coming through less now from the East of the country which leaves the questions: who will be taking pictures and updating the blog then? :-( ?

Lets try the 'once a month blog' then, shall we?

Whilst Laryna and others explored more knitting and spinning in the bothy, Anneruth was in Ford (not far from our Barmaddy, Loch Awe) and got herself a full Baby Alpaca fleece! Meet Breeze

who is now growing his second shearing, and click there to see more of his georgeous family at Isobel Callen's wee Alpaca Farm in the Highlands. The wool fibres are absolutely amazing, soft as down, and taking ages to spin because it is so fine. The plan is to use the secondary shearing parts of the fleece for felting, and the saddle part for spinning and weaving, and maybe knitting too. The fawn colour should lend itself to dyeing, too.

Galgael got given a beautiful fleece from the lady with Hebridean Spinnng wheel: a Shetland-Longwool cross. Sarah-Jane is over the moon as she sorts the fleece (one bag with the best bits for spinning, and one bag with the shorter bits for felting): that was just what she needed for her new projects. Which projects? You wait and see and let her tell you herself!

Verene meanwhile is at long last having a go at weaving, and she takes to it like a duck to water! She has learned the basics (of tension and all that) in an hour, and is now experimenting with colours for a ... hm? little bag?

And Sarah-Jane is discovering the art of sculptural needle-felting. Here is her first project: from a round ball to a fairy head.

The last day of October saw a wee Galgael community event: Allhallows eve celebration.

It was also of course that time of the year again where we remember Colin's passing, now already 3 years ago (see and it is the end and the beginning of the Celtic Year.
We gathered to carve turnip lights and weave god's eyes, to bring the Orcuan home, to bake bread and share a meal and give thanks - with Gehan giving eagle feathers...

If you want to see pictures of all that go to
For more of our woolcraftatgalgael pictures and the stories they tell, visit

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Mary's writing on the workshop process

Walking down Govan Road after my first foray into the world of felting I was shocked at the amount of brain cells that were leaping from dormancy and lethargy! What a great day with such creative potential !
Guided by Anneruth and Flora an ancient world was revealed:
Wool, the Saviour of Mankind!

As the weeks passed by all participants were amazed at their abilities. Watching their faces glowat their achievements was a joy to see. No qualifications or skills needed. A truly universal craft.

Apart from personal enjoyment and growth, the path also led us to our Group Work. There we were throwing in ideas, debating, deciding and agreeing.
We all played different parts in creating the very beautiful "Portal Banner". Many hands worked together but looking at it there is unity and we all achived that "wholeness" we had set out to find.

Cups of tea warming hands at Galgael, Winter clothes brought out early. Timeplans forgotten. Everyone putting in time when they could. A truly communal effort and a great experience.
I've had a great wee journey and all I did was pick up a wee leaflet.

Many Many thanks to all fellow travellers and guides.
Journey on and fare thee well
Mary Docherty

And thank you so much, Mary, for your beautiful gifts, the 2 'painting with wool' pictures, those amazing 'copies' of postcards of the Hebridees:

It seems you have found your very own brand!

Friday, 10 October 2008

A rich account of the making of the Felt Portal

A big thanks to all who made it possible that this felt making project came about :
Plantation Productions and their funders; the Galgael trust, its appreciative welcome into the big workshop, and whole community there and especially its passionate volunteers; but above all thanks be to the enthusiastic and now quite skilled participants of the classes!

To get the best account of this rich process, pleasae visit our various photoalbums and the slide show:
On you can find over 200 pictures of almost every stage of the process of making the Felt Portal.
You can see more photos from the process when it took place at 15 Fairle Street over the last 2 months dotted throughout our 2 albums
and also this month of course

A brief slide show summary of the journey the Felt Portal took all of us can be found here:

This is what Debbie wrote on her journey with the Portal

I really enjoyed the felt making class at the Portal. I had dabbled in a bit of felt making before but have now learned a lot more about it from Anne-ruth and Flora. I had never heard of needle-felting and it really is useful for adding interesting designs to pieces of work. I enjoyed mostly being in the company of the nice friendly group of people who appreciate and enjoy arts and crafts. It was great to see the team of workers in the photos and the felted portal design as it moved through the various stages. It really does look beautiful and nice and peaceful. I can just imagine walking through that portal and up along the riverside. Thanks Anne-ruth and Flora for all your help and patience.

We received more notes of appreciation strewn in emails - and we gave Mary's poetic writing a blog entry on its own

There was a wee launch for the Timeout project (which the felting classes were part of) on Friday the 3rd of October in the Portal

The output of the various art classes (pottery, photography, cardmaking, and of course film making and animation, the core activity of plantation productions) was quite a feast to see. Now we very much hope that our felted Portal into Wholeness will find worthy home in the community there.

As Luis put it so aptly: "There were moments I thought this is not getting finished as ever new hurdles had to be taken. It is a pure miracle that it got done!"

Yes, it s quite a miracle - and we are looking forward to visit the Portal often. We need to get plague done still for it (informing folks in a nutshell as to the whodunits!) ...

The Interactive Felt-Portal at the wall in the Portal, Govan,
- during the launch party of 'Timeout'

Friday, 3 October 2008

week ending 3rd October

Before the Portal got to the stage you see it above (= being carried out of 15 Fairley Street for the final time) - this week saw still lots of action, and joint decision making ...
  • what works best to stiffen the felt?
  • how do we join the 2 big felt pieces with the bamboo frame?
  • where do we put the tree now?
  • what do we use as hanging rope?
  • where do we put the lovingly created details?
You can best see the last 3 day countdown unfold on our photoalbum from photo 166 to 203.
And then from picture 204 to 217 you can get a look in at Friday evening at the Portal where Plantation Productions had a wee reception to showcase the works done in the Time Out sessions, and esp to show the animations and films done, everything in the light of Art in mental health.

Here is a picture of the Felt Portal before the exhibition started, showing you our clever solution to the many eager and so different views as to where the felted figures should go on the now interactive felt portal banner! We fitted each of them with a little velcro and put them up on a felt board, inviting visitors to gently place the figures on the banner, creating their own path into wholeness.
At the end of the night all little details had found a place in the greater picture and we gathered in front of it.