So I suppose I should introduce this wee bear?
Mattie the bear is a smaller version of my usual Harris Tweed bears and she is also my travel companion. Her name comes from the Scots Gaelic for teddy bear which is Mathad teadaidh and she is hand made from blue twill Harris Tweed with Liberty cotton lawn on her paws and ears.
Mattie was hand stitched on the train from Glasgow to Oban, then on the ferry from Oban to Coll. She even attracted some attention on the ferry before she was even finished! I love making these bears so this is a way of me having my own, and who knows? I may make more Mattie sized bears to sell in InCube where my current bears are sold.
Mattie (and me of course) enjoyed her holiday and meeting some of the lovely islanders. We visited the coffee morning in An Cridhe on the Thursday morning and enjoyed some lovely home baking, thankfully Mattie left some for the others!
The RSPB have a reserve at the bottom end of the island covering the sand dunes. I didn't spot or even hear the infamous corncrake but throughout Coll I managed to photograph and identify over 50 different flowers, plus butterflies I had never seen before visiting the island.
I decided to make the most of the beautiful white beaches on Coll to do some product photography. I was certainly glad that I had the beach to myself as it must have been a sight to watch me photographing products kneeling on the beach with my bum up in the air!
The Harris Tweed pendants I make using the offcuts of tweed from the bears were very popular with the islanders, and I came back with a few less pendants than I'd travelled over with! Some cufflinks and other Harris Tweed goodies may be going to Coll too.
A Scottish politician (MSP) and his family were over on the island at the same time and after his lovely wife picked which colour of pendant she wanted (bright pink, bottom corner of the photo below), their son Matthew was quite happy to discover that Mattie the bear had the same name as him (almost!)
As some of you may know I left my day job earlier this year due to my depression and my life has changed so much since making that decision. Sometimes things still overwhelm me but now I know I can take the time I need. Going to Coll last week and staying with family on the island was great and just what I needed after a busy few weeks. Having the freedom to decide to stay an extra couple of days on a remote, peaceful Scottish island is definitely one of the good things about being self employed!
As Mattie and I travel, photos and stories will appear on social media and also on here on this blog so keep checking back to see what she's been up to!