photograph by Daniel Warren

Its been a busy summer getting costume ready for Away with the Birds. The performance was a great success and the singers stayed dry and warm in wool and neoprene!  Many thanks to Annalisa Simonella and Christie Alexander for their expert help in making ten costumes. The performance was filmed so there will be further news of where to see it again very soon! 

Jenny Brownrigg has written and indepth review of Away with the Birds  

'The costumes are a key element of production linking ancient belief in nature to the spiritual. The colour red in Celtic culture is associated with the otherworld. The redshank is the bird who sings to the soul on its departure to the next. Nelson references red in the singers’ legs and the pleated insert on the back of the tunics. The designer cleverly combines contemporary with historical fabric in the singers’ costumes. Local Canna wool made by islander Julie McCabe is used in the tunics, whilst hi-tech red neoprene creates the legs of the garment which allows the singers to move in the water. The hoods of the woolen shrugs, somewhat monastic in nature, are based on 1930s’ patterns of fishermen hoods, providing a protection against the elements. The hood is a key part of the outfit. When drawn up over the singer’s head it aids the visual transition of human turning into bird. The detail of the reveal is key too, with knitted white inserts in the sleeves under the arms, detailed with a ‘v’ pattern,  mimicking a skein of birds in flight. Tuulikki mentions in a studio visit that she enjoys the wordplay of ‘skein’, meaning a skein of wool or birds. At the back of the charcoal grey tunics, an inserted red pleat accentuates choreographed movement'


Since returning from the KILDAS I have been busy with other projects but at last have time to dedicate to creating a body of work for the KILDAS.  I have so many lovely recordings, images and many stories to tell of the many ‘saints’ I met along the way. I am beginning to wade through them all and find a way of bringing it together for an exhibition.

I have been considering appropriate materials to use for the creation of ‘awards’/ ‘medals’ and working with both found objects and wool from the three St Kildas. With the expert help to Alison Macleod and Marianne Anderson of the School Of Jewellery in Glasgow I have been experimenting with silver from coins from New Zealand, Scotland and Australia. The coins not only link each Kilda but in exploring and questioning ideas of the history of currency and commonwealth.  The silver from each coin has been reused and new works are begin created with each ‘saint’ in mind.
It is exciting to learn new techniques and begin to combine textiles with new materials and ways of transforming silver coins into new works.

A work in progress evening will be held at THE GLAD CAFÉ in Glasgow the evening of 20th November.