Fiona Macalister

Born 1947 in Kintyre, Scotland, now living in Edinburgh

1969 - 71 Diploma in Tapestry & Printed Textiles
1971 - 72 Andrew Grant Postgraduate Scholarship

Firstly and crucially, Sue Bosence (author of 'Hand Block Printing & Resist Dying') was my first mentor at Dartington, where music, dance and drama were included in the syllabus. Plants were collected for dying, wool carded with teasels, batik & tie-dying taught. I was then lured to London, firstly Hornsey, then Chelsea, doing an HND in Printed Surface Design which was technically brilliant. After a summer hitch-hiking around Greece and Turkey, I was thrilled to discover Tapestry and Archie Brennan's infectious enthusiasm, after relocating north. I would never have woven the rainbow Queen, as my diploma piece, if he hadn't suggested it, although I was struggling with a kitsch patchwork of 'herself' at the time. I did my thesis on patchwork, a long time obsession. Archie sourced a book for me about macramé, when I was attempting Turkish knots, but he had to severely curb my involvement in college politics. Catalan Aurèlia Muñoz's spatial textile constructions and stitched work were particularly inspiring.

To support my two daughters, I turned my activities to promoting world music, after attending a friend's wedding in La Paz, Bolivia in 1983. I ran a Fringe venue for five years and established a touring circuit throughout the Highlands & Islands. Many of the musicians wore traditional costume and stayed in my commodious flat. From 2001-2002 I was Press and Publicity Officer for the Festival of the Dhow Countires in Zanzibar. I am presently a theatrical landlady and gardener, also working on family history and attending Creative Writing classes.

Macalister with 'Archangel' made for The Scottish Countryside Commission in 1974
Macramé wall-hanging, made of sisal rope, soaked in Archangel tar, 11x11ft

Making 'Archangel' in the studio

Selected Exhibitions
1972 'La Femme, L'Ecosse et L'Art' Nice, France
1972 'Woven Structures' Camden Arts Centre, London (touring)
1973 'The Craftsman's Art' V&A Museum, London; Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol; Monarchy 1000, Brighton
1974 'Tapestries From Scotlan' British Craft Centre, London
1978 'Clear Water' (2 person show) Galerie Herouet, Paris

Selected Commissions
1974 'Archangel' The Scottish Countryside Commission
1976 'Lamp of the Lothians' The Lothain Region Architect's Headquarters

previous home lecturers and graduates next