A Bag for Isobel

Photos by Anna Deacon, annadeaconphotography.co.uk

I wanted to make a bag for Isobel Wylie Hutchison to take on her 1927 expedition to Greenland. For the first time, she was travelling as a botanist, so I based the piece on a vasculum, a container carried by botanists to collect and transport plant samples. Hairmoss (Polytrichum commune), an unassuming plant that grows abundantly in Scotland, seemed an ideal material for this modest 38-year-old explorer. When plaited, the hairmoss has a tweedy side to it, echoing Isobel Wylie Hutchison’s Carlowrie heritage, and at the same time it has an unexpected green, mossy, living element, as if the bag could enclose a little bit of verdant Scotland to be carried with her to Greenland. “A Bag for Isobel” is a conceptual piece that I hope would have made Isobel Wylie Hutchison feel like a botanist. I like to imagine it being something she might show to makers in Greenland, prompting a conversation about craft, about plants and about exploration.


Hairmoss (Polytrichum commune), plaited and stitched with waxed linen.

Where can I see "A Bag for Isobel"?

Part of the Isobel Wylie Hutchison collection at Carlowrie Castle. 

Kindly loaned for the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers' 450th Anniversary Trade Fair: "Basketry: Weaving the Circle of Life", The Old Library at Guildhall, February 2019    


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