ANGUS MCPHEE - Weaver of Grass

ANGUS MCPHEE or MACPHEE was a crofter from Uist who spent almost 50 years in a Highland psychiatric hospital. During this time he chose not to speak - instead he wove a series of incredible costumes out of grass. These he hung on trees in the hospital grounds.

This blog follows the progress of HORSE + BAMBOO THEATRE as they develop and tour a show about Angus....

Friday, 22 October 2010

A visit to Craig Dunain

One of the places that Esther and Helen visited on their recent trip was Craig Dunain, the psychiatric hospital outside of Inverness where Angus McPhee lived from 1946 until 1996. Craig Dunain Hospital was the only hospital for psychiatric illness in the Highlands, and formerly the Highland District Lunatic Asylum - Scotland's third oldest district asylum.

In 2007 it was mostly destroyed by fire and is now being transformed into luxury flats, as you can see from the photographs that Helen took there. The places where Angus worked, where he carefully placed all the garments he made from grass and sheep's wool beneath the protective bushes of rhododendron or holly, still remain. But they sit unloved amidst the security fencing and diggers and earth movers that are slowly eating away at the gardens that provided a studio and workshop for Angus for half a century (below).

The meetings in Inverness were really positive. Most were meetings with potential partners, and there is a keenness to tell this story and take it around the Islands and Highlands. On our part the need to work with Scottish partners on this project is apparent, and I'll be spending my time over the next few weeks consulting with friends and colleagues, planning ways of doing this and time-tabling our next visits.

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