Electric blue damselfly, orchid and sunbeam

Late Spring, early summer. Possibly my favourite time of the year – but in truth I like all the seasons once they are upon us, even although my heart can sink when change is approaching. I think I am a creature of comfort – I like things to stay the same, and change is always something that takes me a wee while to get my head around. But when I do, it’s usually fine, in the end, and observing the changes in nature helps me adjust because every change is full of wonder and shows true strength and character. Which gives me strength and a fresh perspective. It can be the sights, smells and sounds – change is everywhere, all the time. On my walks this past week, the shallows of Dunmore Loch by Loch Faskally are full of yellow flag and the waterlily leaves are re-emerging from deeper waters. I found the electric blue damselfly flitting and basking amongst the greenery – and they really are ELECTRIC blue…..which I almost managed to capture 🙂 But you really must see them yourself to believe it. Apparently they live in the mud shallows for up to 3 years as little dragon like creatures and when the time is right, they emerge into the sunlight and have only 1 or 2 weeks of electric splendour before they die. A reminder that every moment is a moment to cherish.

Climbing the Bealach path up to the deer gate on the lower slopes of Ben Vrackie, the Bog Cotton is waving at me and the grass is full of the common spotted orchid which I think isn’t common at all – surely it should be called the magical spotted orchid?

And off the main path to the little burn on the left (my personal pilgrimage, as those of you that read my ramblings will know) the tiny Sundew is out, which is in the same family as the Venus Fly Trap! It has red stalks with tiny sticky looking tips, around a yellow padded centre – kind of a rhubarb and custard vibe 🙂 On researching this, it oozes a glistening polysaccharide solution a sweet substance to entice the insects.  Apparently it takes Sundew only fifteen mins to kill a trapped insect, but it can take weeks to digest. When I was little I used to admire these growing in the Outer Hebrides, as I’d never seen anything like it in my hometown of Dundee. The Hebridean peat lands are the perfect habitat and signs of Sundew mean that the ground is in tip top condition. Can you spot the poor wee beetle that has met it’s fate – I didn’t spot this till I looked at my photo later.

So in my work, I use the colours in nature to inspire my choice of colour-way, consciously and sub-consciously. And I’ve been using photographs to put together a new cushions and wall hangings that re-visit a process I started after being awarded a grant to experiment with Harris tweed and create a collection of work to display in a venue on Lewis in 2005. It was called ‘For the islands I sew’. My shoreline inspired hanging creations have translated into cushions and garments since then and it’s been lovely to find a moment to look back into this concept and create new work inspired by the colours of a moment, recorded in my sketchbook or camera.

Here’s a map of the area, Loch Dunmore and Faskally Wood are right in the middle.

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