We are on the road to Dunvegan to see crafter Ann that owns the Dragonfly Studio. Easy to spot from the road, we arrive, park and a lady comes to welcome us from afar, she is jovial! Oh what a pleasure!
Ann is the craftsman behind the studio. She raises sheeps, she harvests their wool, she processes it, she spins, she crochets, she knits, she weaves, she felt, she sew, oh yes she does all! The fiber arts are multiple! She and her husband Richard moved here from England about fifteen years ago. Their 19 year old daughter followed them. They bought a property and years after years, the rest of their family moved one by one on Skye too. A beautiful reunion, what a lucky family! It makes me long for just the same 😍. Meanwhile, to keep the dream alive, the two work here and there while doing what they love, the fibers for her and the wood for him – he was in real estate in his other life. Their daugther has become a tanner and now their son – who is married with kids – has taken over the farm. They would not want to leave their paradise for nothing and we understand them all too well, a beautiful country side, amazing landscapes, no noise, the silence is there, it’s magic.
When Ann talks about her crafts, we can feel her passion and her joy. And what we like even more is her way of wanting to share that knowledge that she has been cultivating since childhood. She has this desire, this need to transmit. Ann teaches in her studio directly or in bigger rooms when for exemple, a groups of United-States women land on the island and want to learn wool felting. She also works with her husband Richard as he makes wood spindles – that can be taken everywhere 🙂 – and other wood beauties such as plates and tableware. In her studio, you can buy wool already spun, washed wool or not and dyed or not, for spining or felting, she also sells crochet, knitted or waved clothes and bags and also accessories such as jewelry. She sells her cousin’s drawings as well as her acrylic paintings, yes a complete craftswoman/artist. I ask her if I could stay for a while at her house! She smiles. Take a look at her page (link), she is so talented!
Ann, why did you choose to the fiber arts?
I love many crafts but playing with wool is my favourite. I find it especially rewarding taking the raw fleece from our own flock of sheep and going through all the processes and ending up with a product that can be used in so many ways. We turn it into roving for spinning and felting or I spin it into wool for knitting. I also have great fun dyeing some of the fleece with plants that I collect from the farm.
Do you remember the first thing you create as a child?
I recall making very basic outfits for my Sindy doll! I also used to make soft toys, frogs and mice were my favourites.
When did you realise that you wanted to devote your life to crafts and come to live on Skye?
It was a long time dream to have a small holding where I could keep a few animals and grow my own vegetables. When our children had finished their education we decided to have a lifestyle change, it was a huge leap of faith, but we did it! Crafts have always been such a big part of my life and being able to keep sheep was the icing on the cake for me……..more wool!!!
How it is to work with your husband every day?
It has been great working with my husband, we work as a team. Some jobs run smoother than others!!! Plus he has his own workshop and I have mine!! We both take an interest in each other’s work.
How many sheeps do you have? Is it hard to care for them? Do you have other animals?
At the moment we have a flock of 23 sheep, mainly Shetlands with some cross breeds as they are kept for their wool. At the moment we have a lovely Gotland ram, he has a beautiful grey, silky fleece. We also have geese, two are rare Sebastopol geese, they look like they are wearing a ballerinas tutu!! We also have chickens and pigs. Our son has now taken over the running of the farm but we still like to be hands on. It also gives us more time to be creative.
Do you have any advice for people who have never done crafts and want to start?
My advice to people who want to try out crafts is have a go! We all have to begin somewhere, don’t expect to be producing perfect work as soon as you begin, but enjoy the process of learning something new and enjoy it! We all see and do things differently, as far as I am concerned there is no right or wrong way. If you work to get the results that please you, you are doing a good job!
What is the job you are most proud of?
I am proud of a double bed size patchwork quilt that I made over a period of fifteen years! It is made up of small hexagons, made from scraps of material that came from my families old clothes. It has scraps from the little dress that my bridesmaid wore, my maternity smocks, my children’s clothes and so on. Every single stitch has been hand sewn, made during snatched moments like waiting for my children to come out of school, waiting at swimming lessons, for exemple. If you are serious about crafting you will find the time!
I have never run out of ideas….yet!!! I usually have more than one project on the go and I never ever have enough hours in the day. My brain is always thinking of creative ways to use different items that I squirrel away, I save all sorts of odd things… the small coloured nets from fruit, coloured foil from chocolates…..all just waiting for that next idea! Happy crafting.
Love ❤︎❣❤︎ C