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By Colin Smeeton
Hampered by being unable to source materials for her artwork during the pandemic, artist Lynn Jones has kept it local by sourcing materials close to home to create a pure Arran piece of felt art.
Operating from her studio in Whiting Bay, Lynn from Lynn’s Art On Arran, created the felt picture of an Arran landscape, using Arran wool, which is dyed with organic ingredients from the island.
The project first started last year when the pandemic struck and Lynn found it difficult to get hold of the merino fleeces which are mostly imported from Australia and New Zealand.
With help from a small grant from Creative Scotland – which offered support for artists during the pandemic – Lynn set about creating her pure Arran piece with a carding machine purchased with the grant funds.
Next, she sourced some fleeces from local farms, Bellevue farm in Blackwaterfoot and Creagraineach farm in Kildonan, as well as some alpaca fleece from Arran Alpacas at Balmichael.
After washing and carding the fleece she began looking for natural dyes on the island.
‘I wanted everything that went in the dye pot to be from Arran,’ Lynn said.
Foxglove flowers, cow parsley leaves and nettles were found in the fields and hedgerows around the island while local businesses and organisations helped to support the project.
Robin Gray’s Island Gourmet farm donated blackcurrants and carrot tops, and volunteers and allotment holders at the Arran Community Land Initiative donated a number of interesting ingredients, from marigolds to comfrey.
They even allocated Lynn a small plot where she has been growing plants for the project, including woad which she hopes will give her the elusive blue dye that she is still looking for.
Lynn said: ‘It has been a steep learning curve and I am no expert but I have learnt so much about the dyeing process and the colours that our island nurtures.
‘Thank you so much to everyone that has helped support the project.’
The finished picture of Goatfell hangs from a piece of driftwood that Lynn found on Kildonan beach but, unfortunately for those eager buyers like those that snapped up her art during the recent Arran Open Studios weekend, it won’t be for sale as it will be treasured by Lynn as a reminder of the difficult times during the pandemic.