2022 season of EcoCreative Cluster

© Deborah Gray Textiles

EcoCreatives: Nurturing Creativity, Piece by Piece is the second season of the EcoCreative Cluster, which connects practitioners and practices focusing on nature-based materials and natural dyeing techniques. Over the course of 2022, there have been various collaborative activities taken place, including the dye garden development, skill-sharing workshops and online conversations with dye practitioners across the world.

New artworks have been produced by the lead artists Deborah Gray and Thomas Keyes with groups of local people, in response to the overarching theme of the 2022 season: “trees” and “indigenous languages”. This theme was informed by the Celtic tree alphabet connected to the Ogham alphabet and Old Irish language, precursor of Gaelic, that Thomas uses in his work.

Stone inscriptions found around the Irish Sea, which links to the West Coast of Scotland, tell that Ogham was also used in Argyll and the West Highlands pre-Gaelic. Natural dyeing, on the other hand, has been practiced all over the world and dates back at least 3,000 years, connecting us with other cultures. In the West Highlands, it is particularly associated with the production of local tweeds and tartans, and continued until the widespread introduction of synthetic dyes in the 1880’s.

Rooted in the local soil and heritage of Oban and Gàidhealtachd, the project sheds new light on and connects different stories, skills and forms of traditional crafts and language/alphabet, while informing more environmentally and socially conscious creative practices in a specific locality.

The project led by The Rockfield Centre and is kindly funded by Creative Scotland.

To learn more about EcoCreative Cluster project, please click here.

To watch the recordings of this season’s Conversations With Artists series, curated by Naoko Mabon, please click here.

To discover a related project Oban Heritage of Colours, please click here.