Andy set up GlobalYell in 2006 and his charity, based in Yell, has been working in textiles education and training since then. Andy trained as a singer but he has a special interest in textiles, tweed in particular. He grew up in Zimbabwe where there is a strong textiles tradition and he comes from a family who knits, sews and creates using fabrics and yarns.
During our almost hour-long phone call we spoke about many things including present life and all the changes it brings, the news in Shetland and London, but we also delved into deeper topics such as living away from the place where you were born and the feelings connected with this phenomenon of our age. Another thing we spoke about in depth was creativity and creative blocks.
I said to Andy I would like to write more but I didn’t feel confident to share my thoughts. Also English is my second language so I always worry about making mistakes. Andy told me about his weekly blog on Saturday, where he covers a variety of interesting topics related to textiles and creative pursuits but he also notes little things of beauty he spots throughout his week. I was really inspired when he said we all have something to say and it’s important we do because we might give someone a new perspective.
It was a great chat and I realised just how important it is to take a moment from your daily busy life, sit down and take a note of thoughts and ideas. I enjoy taking photos of things I see around me, but often they just stay on my phone or my camera memory card. Andy inspired me and gave me the encouragement to start sharing more and to enjoy my creativity. I believe we all are creative, but many of us are apprehensive to share it. Perhaps it is because we worry we will be criticised or judged. Or perhaps we simply think we’re not good enough. This reminds me of a quote I wrote down the other day: “Creative ideas happen when you stop thinking about what others will think.”
So I’m bringing you a few photos and notes from my walk this afternoon. I hope you enjoy these. I intend to make Postcards from Shetland a regular weekly feature to keep sharing my views of Shetland and some of my thoughts too. Enjoy and be creative!
When I spent my first summer in Shetland back in 2002, working at a local hotel, this was one of my favourite places to walk to when I had a free afternoon. It’s an abandoned croft house at Dales Voe.
I haven’t been here for a long time so coming back was wonderful and I spent a moment just standing in front of the house and reliving all those memories from when I used to visit Shetland before moving here. I’ve always loved this place. I was thinking about the family that would have lived here too. I remember always being fascinated by the ornate and slightly out of proportion porch. Old Shetland croft houses are fascinating.
There were so many nettles happily growing there, looking beautifully lush. I need to go back and pick some. I have mixed feelings about nettles, on one hand it is fear due to their fierce stinginess but the on the other one it is respect and love as it is a wonderful herb with many healing properties that have been forgotten.
Local herbalist Suze Walker recommends making a 12-hour infusion and drinking it for a week during this time of the year. I remember it took me a while to enjoy the taste of nettle tea but when I started making it from fresh plants or ones I dried myself I discovered it’s completely different from shop bought infusions. Much nice and cheaper too. So if you have a patch of nettles near you or even in your garden, treasure them and enjoy them. They are not weed, they are the nutritional powerhouse of the herbal world as Suze described them. I also like making nettle soup of a salad sprinkle. And they make a fantastic natural fertiliser for your plants as they are high in nitrogen, chlorophyll, and plant polyphenols – all of which support plant health and stimulate growth.
Violets are my favourite spring wildflowers. They are like little precious gems and when you find them you know the winter is definitely going away.
I love how the fresh vivid purple and green of these bluebells contrast with the faded shades of last year’s grasses. I find the contrast utterly mesmerising. I really need to plant some bluebells under the trees in our garden.