Joanne B Kaar had quite a challenge on her hands this year - to make full size replicas of fantastic grass garments made by Angus MacPhee.
Angus was a crofter. He lived in South Uist, but spent almost 50 years in Craig Dunnain psychiatric hospital in Inverness. He chose not to speak, instead making garments from grass and leaves growing in the hospital grounds, twisting the plants into a rope or simmans. This was a traditional technique he would have learnt at home in Uist. When he had finished making his creations, Angus would discard the completed garment and start another one. It was fortunate that art therapist Joyce Laing discovered Angus and saved some of his work for her gallery in Pittenweem, "Art Extraordinary".
Angus became known as ‘the weaver of grass’.
Joanne had seen Angus's incredible work while it was on display in Stornoway many years ago. It took her over two weeks to make the first garment replica, using a looping technique. Part of the challenge was to crack the code of how Angus worked. She has now made two of these jumpers - one is now in Fife next to the original, the other is in Lancashire at the studio of Horse and Bamboo Theatre. Horse and Bamboo Theatre are currently developing a play about the life of Angus, and blog about their progress on the Weaver of Grass blog.
Joanne has just completed a pair of grass trousers, again replicas of garments made by Angus. She discusses her progress and posts photographs of the garments on her own Artist's Blog.
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