What do we do in Dalmally Station?

A question I have often been asked recently.

So a little bit about us to give you an insight.

I have been making and teaching a wide range of textile skills since 1995. I came to Argyllshire many years ago to teach a course at Kilmartin Glen and fell in love with Argyll.

My lovely partner Graham bought the station at auction 14 years ago. It was in a dreadful state and the building has taken a long time to dry from the inside out. Graham is a sheep farmer but also a qualified plumber and roofer so the perfect combination to be able to take this elegant old building slowly back to her former beauty. We worked on the building from our home in Ayrshire but it needed our full attention and we decided to move nearly two years ago.

I did think I was moving to a quiet area and I would have lots of time to develop my own creative work but living in a railway station …is not quite the peaceful life I had thought.

It is a lively vibrant place with the lives of locals and visitors passing daily by my windows as I work.

It is the stories that fascinate , the stories of the people who have lived and worked here and their lives and changes through the life of this station.

It is also the stories of each new  day , some incredible , some mundane but always colourful and interesting. I have learned so much about the world from being in just one place .

People come here for many reasons and most immediately see the connection with what I make and the landscape around me. I use a lot of locally grown plants to dye some of my more organic work and there is great interest in the workshops I teach here .

The landscape here has been fashioned since the Clearances by the introduction of sheep and what was the point of it all if the wool is not valued .

I try and educate people about the diversity and brilliance of our native wools.

I love what I do with a passion and I find myself inspired by this place of constant change with people flowing in and out of the railway station. A cup of tea for a weary traveller is little enough to exchange a glint of their life and their purpose here.

The stations history has become a very important task for us through the Dalmally Station Stories as we are beginning to archive the ‘people history’ of the people who have lived here. It is like making a massive jigsaw with out the picture on the lid . A question answered usually means another one raised in its place.  www.dalmallystation.org.uk- is now up and running and we hope to have lots to add to it

The stories themselves often lead my work and I am having a collaborative exhibition here in August with a Dublin artist . There will be a lot of interaction with the landscape and the trains and  passengers. It will be unique in its form but most of all great fun.

We hope to encourage more people to visit the station once the new timetable comes into effect on May 17th. The extra services will make a big difference to people wishing to travel to Dalmally for a day trip.

My skill levels have taken a huge curve with working on the station and a recent lime mortar pointing course has helped me appreciate each and every stone in this lovely building.

We both love living and working in the station , its quirkiness is possibly an extension of both our characters . We are seen as an information centre , a toilet stop and many other facilities we never even dreamt about . This is not a place to work  if you don’t like people or hard work , it’s all about the people carried of course by the wonderful iron horses.

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