So this marks the end of my blog. I am not in Scotland any more, but fear not. I have been working on another type of blog named Now I am Here. It’s a bit of a process blog. Random photographs and thoughts and ideas now have a home. I hope you enjoy it.
Home. It’s a word I’ve been trying to understand lately. What makes a home, and where’s mine? I arrived back in early October, to the life that Yannick and Clement had started building a month earlier. Clement started in grade one at Ecole Anne Hebert. The french school that I hope transforms him into a beautiful french speaker. Yannick had done an amazing job of settling the wee man into a routine and then started back baking for Terra Breads. I had five days to get over my jet lag before starting back at Kwantlen University. I can say one thing about the whole coming back experience. It is really nice to hear the words, “I missed you” from friends and family. Strangely, I was rarely homesick in Scotland. Maybe too busy and having too much fun. Coming back has been a process of trying to digest what I had learned and asking myself how can I best use that new knowledge. I want to let things settle and gather some strength for what lies ahead. I am certain that teaching is in my cards, as well as making, and to find a balance between the two.
I was so happy to walk the beaches and wake up to the the light hitting the mountains. My bike and I were very happy to be reunited. Lots of things have changed in Vancouver in a year. There’s a few more greys on this head, and if there’s one thing I would say about leaving our lives and building another across the world, it’s that I hope to do it again one day. Here’s to all the amazing folks who made our time in the UK so incredibly worth it all.
September turned out to be a really busy month. I finished up the exit portfolio and was straight on to hosting textile artist extraodrinnaire India Flint at the GSA. She gave a talk to dyeing enthusiasts in the Macintosh theatre and it was a real treat to hear her stories and finally meet her. I helped to organize a school wide clothing swap and repair shop, and it was a lot of fun to see all the swappers. Thanks to the volunteers! I taught another natural dyeing class at The Stitchery, as well as gave a talk about natural dyes to the third and fourth year print students at the GSA. And then the exhibition of our work opened at the Lighthouse Gallery along with all of the other masters graduates for two weeks. We had to invigilate and that was a nice chance to meet and talk to people about our work. I met a student from Glasgow University that is starting the Textile Conservation masters program and wished I could too.
And then, as if by magic my two brothers Iain and Bruce decided they wanted to visit the UK before I came home. I met up with them in London and we stayed with our cousin Lynn. They lived in London around 20 years ago and worked as bike couriers for a year, so they became my tour guides. We walked the streets and stumbled upon Saville Row, Carnaby Street and many other areas I had never seen. I managed a trip to the V & A, and the Natural History Museum. We really enjoyed eating Thai food and seeing the beautiful graffiti in Brick Lane, and the pubs and cool kids in Brixton. London is crazy large and after 3 nights I was worn out. After that we headed north to Scotland to see Buckie, home of my mother’s side of the family. My brothers finally got to see where mum grew up, our grandparents cemetery stone, the Portessie beach where we were raised on stories of Forty Pockets, and we ate some amazing fish and chips (and of course Cullen Skink). There were aunties, uncles, cousins and extended family to meet and drink cups of tea. They all said that Iain looks just like mum. We rented a small house in the Yardi from Air BNB and later found out that our great uncle used to live in it. Bruce observed that if you threw a stone in Buckie, you’d hit a cousin. After a few Whiskey tours and sightseeing we were back in Glasgow for my graduation promenade. It was an intimate show of our collections and was a great way to end it all. It happened so fast and now seems so strange that it’s come to an end.
Where did the year go?
September was a particularly difficult month because I had to accept that it was nearing time to leave – and saying goodbye has always left me a puddle on the floor. Scotland has always had a special place in my heart, but now it grew into a part of me and saying goodbye was more difficult than I imagined. We had ideas about staying, but knew that we had our place and jobs to return to, and wanted to see our family. Who knows what the future holds? I know that Yannick, and Clement and I deeply miss Glasgow and our friends we made. Clement once said to me, “I wish Vancouver was just across from Shawlands”.
“Live in possibility and in constant proximity
to desire. Don’t just dream; burn your dreams.
Heat your life with that fire.”
Weaving is something that I imagined gave me a few more grey hairs. I never really knew the joy that it could produce until I signed up for a three day induction at school with the kind and patient weave technician Chantel.. She showed us how to unwind the yarn, stretch it and place it on a loom. We worked in a room with all different wooden looms; table ones, computerized one, but best of all I was on a hundred year old clunker that was powered by my foot on a lever. I weaved with different patterns and yarns, played with inserting chopsticks to make spaces, used metallic, silk, linen and Harris Tweed yarn. It was SO much fun. Building up the cloth takes time and is a mesmerizing and physical process. I look forward to the day I find an unloved loom and bring it home.
Last week my classmate Olivia (from Taiwan) and I went to the town of Paisley, on the outskirts of Glasgow to visit the Coats & Clarks Thread museum. Some lovely ladies who used to work at the factory gave us a tour. The company goes back 200 years. After that we wandered to Sma’ Shot Cottages for a tour of cottage/weaving life in the 1700’s and then had lentil soup, tea and treats in their tea room.
Photo by Janeanne Gilchrist
Photo by Janeanne Gilchrist
Photo by Janeanne Gilchrist
We had models and a photographer shoot our clothes recently. It happened all very quickly and we didn’t have much time to play around as all 11 of us had to get through the 6 hour day. We submitted our work for the final evaluation and have an exhibition (with all the other masters students) at the Lighthouse in Glasgow for two weeks starting in mid-September. We have documented our work and I’ve made three booklets and have fabric samples as well.
The last three months have been the busiest in my life. Crazy doesn’t even come close to describing the madness. Time is whizzing by and it’s hard to believe that our year is coming to an end. I have mixed feelings about it all. My Scottish heart grew this past year and I am very sad to say goodbye..but luckily my two brothers will be coming over here on my last week for an all out U.K. blow out. I will meet them in London and we will make our way up to Buckie (where mum’s from) to see family, the North Sea and some distilleries. Madness of the Young family kind.
Yannick and Clement returned from Alsace and we spent their last days with friends. On Saturday we drove to Largs with Hugh, Maureen and Philippa and took the ferry across to the west coast island of Cumbrae. We rented bikes and cycled 10 kilometres around the island and stopped for beach exploring, chocolate bars and fish and chips along the way.
On Sunday Yannick work early to bake up a storm of treats for the afternoon farewell playdate with Clement’s friends in Pollok park. The sun came out and my sandals made their last appearance of the year. The kids ran around and played on the new wooden elephant, in the woods and playground. It was really great to see all the parents and kids again.
Yannick & Clement are now back home in Vancouver. Our phone number is the same. Please call or drop by and say hello. We have all missed our family and friends and I’m sure they would love to see you. I am still at school for the following month and return in early October.
We squeezed in a three day trip to Paris, in between school work and Yannick’s trip to Alsace to visit his family. The weather was warm, the baguettes were delicious and most importantly, there were lots of parks for Clement to run around in. We ate (inhaled) real Chinese food, met up with my old friend Jen Morris and generally had a great time. Flying with Ryanair was a bit painful but it was only an hour from Glasgow. We stayed in an area I didn’t know before, and it was really great. No tourists, lots of markets, and quiet at night – except for the gunshots on our first night…H
When I was around 14, my best friend Brian Fleming was the original brit pop kid. He was from Glasgow and had a special talent for keeping up to date with all the music from the UK in the early 1980s. He would make me mixed tapes and introduced me to Propaganda, The Cure, Kraftwerk and all the New Wave of amazing music that came out at that time. We would see all-age bands that made their way to Vancouver. He was my music education teacher, and since I’ve been in Glasgow I’ve thought a lot about Brian. Someone introduced me to BBC Radio 6 online (Shaun Keevney) and I’ve been listening to all those old tunes that I loved so long ago. To hear Echo and the Bunnymen, Craftwerk, Simple Minds, Culture club, Prince, Depeche Mode, Cocteau Twins, Nina Cherry, The Beastie Boys and Soft Cell at 8 in the morning is SO much fun. I hope you have a chance to loose yourself too.
If you happen to be in Glasgow in late August come by to see India Flint give a talk about her work at the Glasgow School of Art. It’s amazing!
We spent a much needed break in a rental car winding through the Glencoe mountains. Picnic, midges and walks. Driving on the left side did Yannick’s head in. I flat out refused to drive. I won’t go into the burst tire, but we did it and discovered a whole area of Scotland I had never seen. Magic.
We are now experiencing a real summer. It’s a hot 24C and it feels so strange. I’m used to wearing sweaters and having a hot water bottle in my sweater. We are meeting up with friends Liz Sleiker, Ruth and Juniper tomorrow who are visiting from Vancouver. Can’t wait.
Clement misses school but we have some play dates planned. I am currently doing homework and listening to Cortes radio and dreaming of the lake and having sandy feet and eating take out from the burger stand…yay summer!H