A Journey Through Elphin is Revealed


Community wall hanging Elphin

What a great day we had at the unveiling! For a tiny village like ours, there was a huge crowd, including folk from Stoer, Lochinver and Ullapool. I think the fact that, only the day before, the Northern Times had given our story the whole of the front page, might just have influenced the numbers.

The afternoon started with a warm welcome speech by Simon Jeffreys, followed by a dramatic unveiling of the wall-hanging by our guest of honour, young Veyatie Venters (who is named after the loch in the village) and her dad John, performed with a flourish, as you can see from the photograph! In fact, the room was packed with photographers, so there was a good choice of exciting photographs to go along with this article.

As you might imagine, lots of people deserve thanks, both for making the panel and for making our celebration a success. But particular thanks must go to the musicians Eireann, Ruth, Ali, Margaret, Russell and Jenny, whose playing made for such a lovely atmosphere; Simon and Jill, for their display of local history and photographs; the tea ladies Linda and Kay, for serving us drinks and delicious cakes, and the bakers themselves, especially Rae Strang, who came up with the goods twice (you can ask her about that yourself!).

One important person who deserves much thanks is local man Dick MacLeod, who has a long memory and without whom we would not have learned the history behind the various features that appear on the panel. In fact, we learned so much history in the process that we felt we needed to make a record. So, to act as a guide, we have created a hand-bound book, with a section on the history of this sewing project and then a page dedicated to each feature, containing a written account by the person who sewed that particular piece of work. On the day, there was quite a queue to read it. In fact, the project has sparked such strong interest in the history of the Elphin area that it looks like a couple of residents plan to set up an on-line archive of local history, open to all to read and/or to make contributions. That would be such a great legacy for this particular community endeavour to leave behind.

Thanks must also go to Coigach and Assynt Living Landscapes Partnership (CALLp) for their financial contribution to this project, which allowed me to purchase materials and to offer some learning workshops without charge. Most of all, though, I want to thank the volunteer sewers, who gave hours and hours of their time to make this fascinating, impressive, and very large piece of textile art.

The wall-hanging itself is now on permanent display in Elphin Community Hall and, along with the lovely guide book, has now passed in to the care of the Craft Circle who, after all, contributed much of the work and who were such a source of encouragement to everyone who came forward to take part. It can be seen any Thursday, between 2 and 4 pm, when the Craft Circle meet, and any Wednesday between May and September, when the Elphin craft and produce market is on. If any local group would like the panel to visit them, please contact alijohnson@hotmail.co.uk .

For more information about the project, please have a look at the Journey Through Elphin page of the website.


Email : jan@wildtiles.co.uk    Tel : 01854 666279,   Postal Address : Jan Kilpatrick, Cul Mor, Elphin, By Lairg, Sutherland, IV274HH.  
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