Over the past few years, Highland Village animation staff have been transitioning interpretation from 3rd person to 1st person (or role playing). Through this process, staff have developed their own personas each with their own stories and experiences. In this blog, we meet Isbeal n’in Dòmhnaill Eachainn Iain Dòmhnaill she has made a new home in Alba Nuadh |Nova Scotia.
Isbeal and her family live in Alba Nuadh (Nova Scotia). They came here from the Isle of Skye when she was just a young girl. She has married a widower and helped raise his children here. She is known for being able to make beautiful colours of yarns from her own sheep’s wool. Isbeal’s farm has a flock of sheep that will supply her family with wool. Isbeal and her family will shear the sheep for their wool, wash and card it with wooden brushes to remove dirt and debris. The brushed wool will be spun on a cuibhle-shnìomh (spinning wheel) to make the yarn. She is able to colour the yarn with a natural dye she can make herself.
For Isbeal, the process of using natural dyes has been passed down from one generation to the next. After gathering different plants and flowers that she has found around her farm, she will boil them in a pòit thrì chasach (iron pot). As the plants simmer Isbeal will place yarn in the water until the colours are absorbed.
She is able to make the dyes from roots, flowers, lichens, and barks. Fearna (Alder), will create the colours brown to black, càirt a’ spruis (spruce bark) will create brown, luibh an òir (golden rod) plants for making yellow to olive green and tì bhàn (pearly everlasting) can be used to make yellow.
Isbeal takes the yarn she has dyed and uses it for making her family’s sweaters, socks, hats and other clothes.
– Isbeal ni’n Dòmhnaill Eachainn Iain Dòmhnaill is portrayed by Colleen Beaton from Little Narrows, Cape Breton. She has been with the Highland Village Museum for the past 18 seasons.