Machair Weave is owned and run by me, Marie Melnyczuk. I live and work on the Isle of North Uist, one of the islands forming the Outer Hebrides.
The island sits on the outermost fringes of NW Scotland where it meets the wild North Atlantic ocean.
I am a professional Artist and Weaver and work from my studio in Knockintorran on the very exposed west side of North Uist. Machair Weave takes its name from the land where I live, the Machair on the North Atlantic coast.
Machair is a Gaelic word meaning low-lying fertile plain. It is sandy land bordering the dunes and is only found on the west coast of Scotland and some areas on the west coast of Ireland. One of the rarest natural habitats in Europe, the Outer Hebrides has over two thirds of all Machair.
I spend a lot of time outdoors all year round, collecting visual details and recording sounds of the concurrent patterns throughout nature. My work is abstract and expressive; my starting points are either a recorded sound or a minute visual detail of the landscape.
“I want to share what I experience living here; the seasons, weather, wind, birdsong, sea, rocks and flowers.
The Machair is a unique and fragile eco-system. The land is eroding, bio-diversity is threatened and many birds, plants and insects are disappearing.
The Machair is about rhythm; the seasons and the crofting cycle, man and land intrinsically bound in a perpetual cycle”
I have been in the creative industries for over thirty years and initially trained as a painter & printmaker. I discovered weaving in 2013 during a training course on ‘all things wool’ from the perspective of The Outer Hebrides’ culture and traditions.
With access to the best of yarns, a huge variety of hues, sustainable and eco-friendly wool became a completely new way forward for my creative practice. It offered fluidity in creative expression; the pieces I design and create can also be functional as well as conceptual. Weaving is highly technical; resonating with printmaking, yet unfixed enough to work expressively and experimentally; like painting with other mediums.
Sound plays an important role in my creative work. When out on the Machair, I always have my microphone with me, I record the many sounds of birds, animals and the weather. I use these to create patterns for my weaving and painting. I upload my recordings, creating spectrograms to influence the pattern making process for weaving. Sometimes, I just listen, draw and paint… I want to relive my walks, close my eyes and remember not just the joyful sights and sounds around me, but also how I felt.