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....

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Developments - and crunch time

As I get back into things after the holiday break I'm discovering that developments around Angus MacPhee's story are coming thick and fast.

First, tucked among my emails were several from Joanne B. Kaar. One was her discovery in a paper from the University of Auckland of native Australian stitching and basketry techniques of a diagram of the characteristic stitch used by Angus. Her partner Joe had sketched this identical technique when they were working with Joyce Laing in Pittenweem recently, attempting to figure out exactly how Angus made his woven pieces. Photographs of his work, even in close up, don't provide sufficient information to see how the components of the weave have been formed. Through persistent research and analysis it has finally turned up elsewhere - the other side of the world.

Then Joanne excitedly copied me into a photograph from the excavations of the native American site at Mesa Verde in Colorado, USA, where a grass slipper or sock, woven from yucca twine, has been uncovered which could easily have been one of Angus's creations.

At Horse + Bamboo we're rapidly approaching crunch time for putting together a bid for financial support of a tour of 'Angus' throughout the Islands, Highlands, and Scotland generally, in the summer of 2012. Because of the changes in arts funding for our programme of work this will have to be an entirely self-supporting tour, meaning that none of our grant from the Arts Council of England can be used towards the work or the tour, even if it subsequently tours in England. This, of course, makes life very difficult for us - and Esther and Helen are planning a visit to Uist to meet key people in order to help us put together such a bid. It's going to be a hard job - so cross your fingers and wish them well.

Finally Roger Hutchinson's new book 'The Silent Weaver' has reached that stage in its journey that it can be pre-ordered on Amazon. I've read it - it's a fine book, well up to his high standards of story-telling, and providing a very full background to the circumstances of Angus's life. Strongly recommended to anyone interested in this amazing story

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful
    I cried when I found Angus MacPhee's work at Pittenweem. I had seen it before on the web but to enter a room and not know that Angus's work was there I found quite overwhelming. I am really glad that you are making all these conections and finding out so much more about this amazing man x