Frieda Strachan

MEET FIBRE ARTIST FRIEDA STRACHAN

Hi Frieda, please tell everyone a bit about yourself and introduce your brand & products.

I’m Frieda, a self-taught fibre artist living and working in the North-East of Scotland. I work from my studio in the Northern Arts Club in Aberdeen, working mainly with weaving techniques, I also dabble in basket-making, macrame, tufting and embroidery.

I started weaving in 2017 and am pretty DIY – using handmade tools and a lot of techniques and ways of working I have developed myself over time.

My work is very textural and abstract, inspired by Scotland, memories and emotions.

I also make jewellery and home furnishings under the tag ‘Quarry Wood’, and recently released a new collection of fibre necklaces and earrings for 2020.

frieda strachan

How would you describe your style and where do you take inspiration from?

My style is very DIY – I don’t like things to look neat and perfect. My woven work is a reflection of me, so there will always be loose ends, a couple of minor mistakes and a lot of texture. I am inspired by the landscape, and trips I go on, but mainly I am inspired by however I feel when the mood takes me to create work.

My jewellery is simply inspired by simplicity and colour – what I would wear myself. A lot of muted and neutral colours – and the earrings are always big!

Frieda Strachan studio

Where do you like to create your work?

I work from my basement studio at The Northern Arts Club in Aberdeen – lovingly referred to as The Snug. It’s a tiny wee space filled to the brim with materials, tools and fleeces I need to process (and eventually learn to spin). I love having a place where I can retreat to on my own and make a mess. I’m often there until the wee hours of the night working away. It’s hard to stop once I get going!

At the moment I am working from a wee set-up at home. It feels a bit overwhelming working from one room in my home – but needs must!

Tell us a bit about the process behind creating your fibre art

I started weaving during a very low period in my life – I was unemployed and on universal credit, and knew I needed to do something to occupy my time and my mind. And for whatever reason I started weaving, inspired by work I had seen when I worked at Tate gallery. My work continues to be used as a wellbeing tool – something I turn to when I need a moment of peace or time to myself. So ultimately, my work is inspired by that feeling of battling peace and unease. I head out to nature to clear my head, and that in turn provides inspiration too. I like to think everything I make helps me make a little more sense of the world and my place in it, and I hope it offers that to people who see it too.

Can you tell us more about the materials you use and where you like to source them?

I use natural wool and where I can, source them locally. Before lockdown I was processing my own Gotland wool from a fleece that was very kindly gifted to me by Thorabella farm near Dallas, Moray. My jewellery is made using 100% cotton cord so it is soft and flexible. I try and be as sustainable as possible, and my packaging is fully recyclable.

macrame

Can you tell us a bit about the area you live/work in?

I live in Aberdeen, but I hail from the wee village of Inverallochy on the coast. I’ve always been an outdoor person, and though I live in the city centre, enjoy heading outdoors with friends and family to get a bit of respite in nature. Aberdeen is great because you can drive fifteen minutes out of the city and find yourself in the most amazing landscapes – the best of both worlds.

What would you recommend doing/seeing in your area to someone visiting?

I would head out to my village, Inverallochy – about an hour and a half away. It’s a small fishing village with few pavements and old stone houses on the shoreline. I spent all my childhood playing on the shore catching crabs and making dens in the long grass by the long stretch of beach towards St Combs. Alternatively, Forvie Nature Reserve is one of my favourite places – and only half an hour away. I’ve spent countless hours there watching the deer and the owls, trying to count the masses of froglings that appear in July! It’s an incredible place – you could sit down for ten minutes and see something you won’t forget, even if it is just the clouds rolling above the dunes.

Where is your favourite place to visit in your area/Scotland?

Torridon is my favourite place in Scotland. I spent a very quiet New Year there with my sister when I first returned to Scotland from years living in London. It’s an incredible place. So peaceful, so beautiful – it’s breathtaking. Even if all you do is sit on a bench in a cafe and watch the ocean, you’ll be filled with inspiration. I can’t explain it.

macrame

Are you working on any new products at the moment?

At the moment I am trying to finalise a new earring collection I’ve been trying to muster motivation to finish all lockdown! It’s been hard, but I’m almost there. The lack of interaction with other artists means I’m constantly second guessing myself and starting from scratch. But hopefully I will get them out there in the next month!

Can you pick out 4 or 5 things in your working space that you can’t live without?

Scissors
of all sizes!
Handmade beater
used in weaving
Driftwood
to hang my work from
My speaker
I like listening to podcasts while I work. I work in isolation so it’s comforting sitting in the basement with a friendly voice!

WHERE CAN WE FIND YOUR WORK?

Frieda Strachan

Visit my website here  
Follow me on Instagram
Shop on Etsy