MEET OUR EXPERTS
Kevin came to live on Colonsay in the late 70s, as owner of the hotel. Since then he has been bus driver, publisher, author, pier master, walking guide & boatman.
Kevin has been a loyal supporter of the festival since its outset, and is believed to be the only person to have owned and crashed a micro-light on Colonsay!
Ferns & Botany, Local Genealogy
Alasdair has been visiting Colonsay all his life, mostly staying on Oronsay where his Aunt & Uncle farmed. He studied at Glasgow School of Art, was head of art at Strathallan School, and is a widely exhibited artist. He lives in Laggan and was once mistaken for Lord Lucan
Sculpting, Printing & the Highland year.
Like his brother Alasdair, Andrew spent much time on Oronsay and he too graduated from the GSA before going on to teach art in Glasgow, The Western Isles and the Isle of Skye. Andrew now works from his studio in Inverness – painting, printmaking and carving, using folklore as inspiration. Back in the day he often had trouble negotiating the Strand to Oronsay – particularly when travelling home in the dark at night!
Historical walks, legends of Highland
Carole has always loved making thing and when she came across the art of hooking using carpet yarn she was literally hooked! She established Hooked by Design and creates cushions, bags and picture kits, exhibiting at shows throughout the country. Carole’s first visit to Colonsay was in 2017, having met Sarah at Yarndale, the fabulous Skipton wool fest which she runs with four friends.
Hooking and Crochet.
Fi is a lifelong forager and gardener. She has written many books and is well known in Scottish Nature & Food Circles. In 2005 Fi was challenged to prove people ate better 200 years ago. For 12 months she lived the 1790s life of her rural ancestors, eating from her garden and cooking recipes from the time on a fire. Fi recorded the year in her book ‘The Cottage Garden Diaries’.
Wild Foods and Sustainability.
Louise weaves and runs workshops from her studio in Kilmartin Glen. She visited Colonsay some years ago to lead a weaving workshop in the school and is always excited to return for the Spring Festival.
Celebrating living through hand weaving and drawing, tapestries with no tools other than her fingers.
Morag is a mixed-media and textile artist, who trained in Printed Textiles at GSA. She worked as a designer in London until moving to Orkney as a Lecturer and Curriculum Leader in Art & Design at Orkney College. Morag now lives in the Highlands and plans to build a new studio for workshops. She teaches all over Scotland and has recently started annual winter trips to Spain…. allegedly to run workshops!!
Textiles & Fabric Dyeing.
David has been surveying the birds on Colonsay for over half a century. These studies are documented in his book ‘Birds of Colonsay & Oronsay’. David is also a bird ringer and has a close relationship with some of our seabirds, having ringed and then re-caught them over a 25 year period.
Colonsay Birds & Wildlife.
Lotta’s family connection with Colonsay goes way back, and she has been a frequent visitor since childhood.
Lotta now lives on the island in a house she & her husband built. She is an artist in her own right and produces fabulous feltwork pictures, which she delivers to the gallery on her bike.
Dry stone walling, Horticulture & Feltwork.
Jane lives on a smallholding in Achnamara, running holiday cottages, growing vegetables & weaving baskets. Her willow workshops are designed to give a taste of working with willow and the basic techniques needed to create simple woven items. Jane’s first appearance at the festival was in 2015, after Sarah overheard her in the Colonsay bar talking about her basket work and persuaded her to come back to teach at SpringFest.
Living the Good Life & Growing Willow.
Owen has been an annual visitor to Colonsay for many years, as part of a team recording the island’s flora. 2018–19 should mark the completion of the survey and the team’s work will be published as a guide to the wild flowers of Colonsay. Owen’s work focus has been on farming and wildlife, as well as international collaboration for nature conservation. He has botanised widely on all continents (except Antarctica!) and spends considerable time in Romania each year.
UK Flora & Wetland ecology.
Anne first visited Colonsay as a Glasgow School of Art student in 1977. She ran a knitwear business & lectured in textiles at GSA for over 20 years. She now focuses on making Leaded Glass & working as an artist/design consultant in the UK, Europe and Africa. Anne has run workshops for the festival since 2012, and in another life co-authored ‘A Century of Dining in Style’
with Carol Paterson.
Knitwear Design & Leaded Glass Work.
Carol has been a regular visitor to the island since her art school days – Carol went on the teach textiles at the GSA & is still based in Glasgow. Since retiring Carol has been able to work at her own unique style of painting and exhibits throughout Scotland. She has 2 Labradors who are infamous for being able to get food out of any cupboard or any bin!
Collage & Digital Art
Jonathon has a lifelong interest in all forms of wildlife and is widely travelled across the west coast Scottish islands. He volunteers with the British Trust for Ornithology, surveying nests, dippers, curlews , ravens , raptors and the national atlas. He was signed up for the Spring Fest when he managed to get Sarah to locate a nest through binoculars – a feat never before achieved!
Breeding Birds and Conservation.
Julienne is a widely exhibited watercolourist and has regular shows in London, Cardiff & at home in the Welsh Marches. On Julienne’s first visit to Colonsay in 1974 the CalMac man in Oban promised that one of her party would come back engaged- that week she met her future husband Jason. In 2015 they celebrated their 40th anniversary with an extra trip to Colonsay.
Landscape & Cloudy Welsh Skies.
Jane lives in Argyll & has won many awards including Artist of the Year at the Society of Wildlife Artists in London. When working on her book about Oronsay, "Wild Island", she visited in every month of the year, documenting our Hebridean wildlife seasons.
Jane's former incarnation was as an Emmy-winning wildlife film-maker.
Wildlife Artwork and Printmaking.
David has been living & farming on Colonsay (on & off) for 35 years
As the husband of the organiser, he has been leading walks during the Spring Festival since 2011 – and against his better judgment has recently become ‘interested’ in breeding sheep for wool!
Farming, Conservation and Life on a Remote Hill.
Zoë is a weaver and natural dyer of wool, who is inspired by the ever changing seasons of Argyll and the natural world around her home. When her husband bought her a rickety old table loom, she realised a dream and taught herself to weave. Struggling to find the colour of wool she wanted to weave with she decided to dye her own. For Zoë, dyeing and weaving now go hand in hand.
Naturally Produced Dyes and Weaving
DAVE BINNIE / COHT
The Colonsay & Oransay Heritage Trust was formed to promote and preserve the heritage of the two islands. It is a great supporter of the festival, providing venue for the workshops, as well as leading walks and talks. Chairman Dave Binnie is also guest appearing in the Dry Stone Wall sessions!
The history of our islands and their people.
For the last thirty years Clare has been involved with textiles as a community artist, exhibition curator and banner maker. In 1986 she set up NeedleWorks in Glasgow, working with people of all ages and cultures, using sewing as a way to celebrate local history and document community experiences. While writing her book Threads of Life she came across many fascinating, forgotten, little known and overlooked stories of sewing.
The Social & Political Significance of Needlework
Siobhan works for the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust as Hebridean Whale Trail Officer. Based on neighbouring Mull, she is part of the team of scientists monitoring whales and dolphins on the west coast of Scotland. With help from local communities sightings are used to help track the movements of coastal species such as bottlenose dolphins and to uncover the mysteries of rare visitors including humpback and killer whales.
Hebridean Marine Life
Roger is a wildlife sound recordist and photographer, who has been visiting Colonsay for over 30 years. In his 40 year career he has recorded sound for TV, film and CD productions. A couple of years ago he produced his own CD entitled 'Wild Hebrides' using many sounds recorded on Colonsay – a recording which when played can fool even the most knowledgeable people into thinking the Colonsay wildlife is much closer than expected!
Sounds of Nature
Margaret is a sewing & needlework fanatic and loves to create pieces using both well known & unusual sewing techniques. She is part of several vibrant crafting groups in her home area of Carnforth, taking in Quilting, Felting, Fabric Dyeing and Embellishing. She has been coming to Colonsay for 20 years and is a keen participant in the Spring Festival craft workshops, as well as a being a tutor at the festival.
Anything can that be produced with a needle and thread.
Alan Davis & MargAret Kiernen
Alan & Margaret have been running the Moth Trapping & Identification sessions for the last 4 years. The sessions are an opportunity to see some wonderful specimens up close and a chance to join in the sometimes tricky task of identifying unusual moths. During her years on Colonsay, Margaret has developed a wide interest and knowledge of the island’s natural world. Alan is a long time visitor of Colonsay with a particular interest in the island’s more recent history.
Rounding up Moths!
The festival is organised by the Colonsay Tourism Marketing Group, and kindly supported by local businesses and our amazing experts, contributors and workshop leaders who all give of their time for nothing. A huge thank you to all of them! Any proceeds from the festival go towards establishing Colonsay as a vibrant visitor destination, thus lending vital support to the fragile economy. Thanks also to everyone who has allowed us to use their photographs.