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"?

Available for sale as 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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