Catherine Davies and Pascal Carr live and work on their croft on the Isle of Eigg, off the north west coast of Scotland. They make by hand traditional and contemporary baskets from the willow that they grow organically on their croft. Growing, harvesting and grading the willow builds up an intimacy with the material which results in truly sustainable, robust and beautiful baskets. They leave the bark on their willow which produces different hues of colour derived from the soil and climatic conditions on the west coast of Scotland. These are the authentic colours of the island landscape. Catherine and Pascal teach and show their work in Germany, Spain and France. This allows them to research and learn other traditional techniques which they incorporate into designs for their own contemporary baskets. Alongside these, they work with film, tv, theatre and ballet companies to recreate historical baskets too.
What value does craft have in daily life?
Craft can provide aesthetic functionality at home and at work and an appreciation of the skill of the craftsperson, which evokes a connection with a deeper sense of what is important in life - care, attention to detail, mindfulness. It slows you down and makes you think. When an object is hand-made with care and attention, it is fit for purpose with a robustness that lasts. It shows that there is an alternative to mass-production and gives hope for a more sustainable future. AND looking at a beautiful, hand-made object puts a smile on anyone's face and lets them pause.
What does Scottishness mean to you?
It's a sense of community and a shared cultural and social history that can shine through in your work, it's woven into the fabric of our work.