Storytagging - Mary Anns cottage A new Contemporary hearth rug inspired by Mary Ann's Cottage

I'm delighted to have been selected as one of a handful of creatives in the Highlands and Islands commissioned to make new artwork inspired by stories for the Northword StoryTagging project.

To follow my progress, I have labelled all blog posts about the commission: StoryTagging.  

Making a new contemporary hearth rug inspired by the story of Mary Ann and her simple life narrated by Annette Sinclair for Wick Voices. 

Mary Ann’s Cottage: A decorative homemade rag rug made from old clothes and rags adorns the living room floor between the chairs where Mary Ann and her husband James once sat smoking his pipe. Bannocks are baked on the open peat fire. A simple life. Over the years I have been a volunteer and Trustee for the cottage, organising fundraisers, art exhibitions and traditional skills workshops to learn peat digging by hand and provide peats to fuel the open fire in the cottage when its open to the public.  

A new contemporary hearth rug.

I’m inspired by the story of Mary Ann and her simple life narrated by Annette Sinclair for Wick Voices, who describes a smoke filled room with its open peat fire for cooking at the heart of the home once lit by candle and tilly lamp before electricity. This was a traditional croft, self-sufficient, growing many things including kale, turnips and potatoes and keeping hens, pigs and bees.

I propose to give a contemporary twist to this traditional technique, while staying with the folk art style in keeping with a simple lifestyle, I would incorporate locally spun wool using the punch needle rug hooking technique which will allow for detailed imagery to illustrate the story of a simple crofting life. I would explore imagery, making drawings and taking photographs and then samples before deciding on a final designing on a final design.

This project would allow me time for professional development, extending my knowledge of techniques using local, sustainable materials to design a new punch needle textile with a local story.


Northword StoryTagging website 

 Mary Ann's Cottage 

Wick Voices: Annette Sinclair  Mary-Ann's Cottage  

"... Storytagging Northword is part-funded by the EU Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme. It is led by Robert Gordon University and includes partners from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Finland, Sweden and Russia.

The StoryTagging project combines traditional storytelling with modern technologies to help increase the visibility and market reach of creative practitioners working in remote areas.

The project will develop a digital platform (both a website and Apple and Android apps) that will allow creatives to harness those stories that make Northern regions distinct: place, identity & community; folklore; cultural heritage; landscape & natural heritage...."

Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014-2020