Third Making Progress makers’ films visit: Caroline Dear in Skye
My third visit was to Caroline Dear, in Fangan which is a wee collection of houses a few miles on the other side of Portree if you come from the direction I did. The run to Skye from Fort William was as beautiful as my drive to Caithness and reminded me again that there is such a spectacular and varied landscape right on my doorstep and I am a fool not to take advantage of it more regularly than I do. Caroline’s house itself is on the tip of a beautiful miniature peninsula in a bay. She described it to me in her directions as the house nearest the sea. She told me later that it was technically the second house on the left in that wee road but visitors often found that concept too confusing and never quite found her with it.
Caroline has previous film making experience so following our initial chats in her house I was promptly taken next door to her adjoining (freshly tidied and organised) studio and shown a very fitting and clear foundation for a plan about how she would like for us to approach the making of her film. And (I’m touching wood while I write this) it all made perfect sense and I think it’ll reflect Caroline’s practise in the exact right way and I think we should have absolutely no problems whatsoever when we meet next (wood touching stops here). And after this the only thing for it was for us to step outside and take a wander around the fields where she collects the bulk of her materials and have a scout about for possible locations and backdrops.
Something I really enjoyed with Caroline, as with Patty,was being taught to look more closely at the natural environment. This was not a spoken tuition, just through her looking and admiring I felt compelled to look and admire too and, during our relatively short expedition through the local area, I felt like I began to see with my novice eye how much colour and variety there can be in the undergrowth if you actually look. I might previously have wandered by this habitat accepting it passively as brownish with maybe a wee bit of green here and there but, whilst discussing with Caroline, I started to see vibrant reds and purples and oranges and yellows… It was a bit like those Magic Eye pictures but on a bigger scale and with much more impressive imagery.
And over and above all this I was very struck with how intertwined Caroline’s practise and day to day life appeared, to me, to be. Her house and studio are attached to each other and every morning she goes for a walk and collects material for the rope she will be making that day and I just got a strong impression that her lifestyle and practise are very successfully intertwined and so then I considered the idea that this was part of the weaving practise just on a larger more abstract scale. But this could all very well be because, after having looked over a lot of her work, I had weaving and intertwining on the brain. Anything is possible. Regardless of what is true, this sense of weaving and complimentary activity will form the framework for Caroline’s video and, again (touch wood) will all make perfect sense in the greater context of her practise (touching wood, again, stops now) 😀