Welcome to my new blog! I'm Tara and I'm a textile artist working primarily in hand embroidery and embroidery design, based on the West Coast of Scotland. This blog is about my research into the Witches of Scotland and my creative response to the 17th century Witch Hunts.
Like so many artists, the Coronavirus pandemic forced me to consider the direction of my creative practice. I had been teaching weekly classes in hand embroidery but was abruptly forced to stop, which gave me time to consider what I really wanted to do creatively. I had been struggling to make a connection between my activism, spiritual practice, creativity and teaching practices, and these 2 years of not teaching have given me an unprecedented period of time for reflection and creative exploration.
The Witches of Scotland have been floating around in my mind for a few years since I saw a Facebook post about The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft, published by the University of Edinburgh, and I immediately thought that it would be amazing to commemorate the accused Witches in some way. I was lucky enough to attend an RCN lecture 'Witches Stories' in November 2021 by Professor Nicola Ring who had been researching the accused Witches of Scotland, who had also been folk healers and midwives (152 in total, out of 3837 who were accused of Witchcraft). I found this lecture so inspiring that I decided to apply for grants to fund some creative research into the Witches of Scotland, particularly the accused women of Ayrshire, where I live, and the healing herbs that were used by folk healers, charmers and midwives at that time. In March 2022, I was lucky enough to be granted a VACMA award for 4 days research!
In this blog I will be sharing with you my research into the accused Witches of Scotland and my creative responses to that research. I hope you will enjoy following my journey!