Inspired by Scotland

“Dundee’s setting is probably more extraordinary than any other city in the UK. It is about as ideal – ludicrously ideal – as any setting could be”

Stephen Fry, Actor and former Rector of the University of Dundee

Photo of Dundee and the Tay Rail Bridge from the top of the Law

I am a design magpie, gathering inspiration from diverse aspects of my environment and experience. I count myself very fortunate that the environment where I spend most of my time is the extraordinary city of Dundee, on Scotland’s east coast, with its majestic waterfront setting and wide open skies. This spaciousness is in itself a source of inspiration as well as a home where my creative side can flourish. Sometimes it is the urban landscape which catches my eye, such as the shapes and rhythms I find in the local skate park, and sometimes it is the natural world, particularly the river and the sea. Above all, I am drawn to the places at the edge, where the built environment comes up against wilder forces.

A more abstract source of inspiration is the social and environmental data which describes Scottish life, from our education to our weather. Lately, too, I have been looking inside myself and celebrating the things which bring me joy, like listening to live jazz music on a cold November night. While inspiration is intensely personal, it is also present everywhere, arising from the simple daily experience of living life in Scotland.

My approach to weaving

Weaving is a craft that can be meticulously planned or improvised at the loom and a combination of these approaches appeals to the different parts of my nature. I have a strong geeky streak, which can be seen in my use of complex weave structures and my use of data as a rich source of design inspiration. I am happy to spend hours plotting a course for my design and setting up the loom.

But my curiosity is restless, and while I’m weaving I typically can’t resist the impulse to see what happens when…  The underlying structure provides a framework for me to explore and experiment with both colour and weave, but I never weave the same scarf twice. Every piece is a unique expression of the distinctive and colourful Bonny Claith style.