Morag Henriksen and friends: aprons and memories

Some wonderful memories and aprons from Morag Henriksen and friends: 

"........Left to right: Hazel Raee, Wilma MacRuary, Janet MacClymont, Morag Henriksen. The Skye Batiks apron is on the floor......... We had fun remembering rapped knuckles and run and fell seams..........."

".... During a sewing group at the Portree library we began talking about school sewing and up to1965 or so every school in Scotland had sewing classes and made the same things to the same patterns. 

These are librarian,Gillian Siwek's lapbag, pinny and Dutch apron made in Fraserburgh Central in the 60s. Her mother hoarded her work; mine didn't but we made the same in Lochcarron Primary in the 50s and Wilma MacRuary in Crown Primary ,Inverness too....."

".... My Dad was wearing this school-made apron in his garden shed in the eighties and nineties. I kept it when he died and my son likes to cook in it now. I used to use it myself until this year I indulged in a new pinny from Skye Batiks in Portree. Therssy makes cushions and pinnies from the scraps left from their trousers and tops....." 

I recently met Morag who, after nearly 30yrs said:
Do I know you, you look familiar?

Huge thanks to Morag Henriksen, the now retired head teacher of Uig Primary School for emailing me a selection of photos now in Skye & Lochalsh Archive Centre, Portree from
my 1st artist residency job after Uni, 1993 Isle of Skye!


Inspired by my pressed herbarium - a new floral pattern for a contemporary wrap apron - ideas in the making.

For the last few years we (me and my mum, Liz O'Donnell), have been making a pressed herbarium of plants growing in my field and at Langypo in Brough where we have permission to pick.  We used archival papers, tape and  documented each plants details following guidelines for herbarium collections, making sure our collection will last and be of use in the future. 

Traditionally, wrap aprons were made from fabric with a small floral repeat pattern - making them easy to cut and sew at home without having to match up the design. 

I'm planning a new contemporary apron which documents the flora where I live using our pressed herbarium as the source of inspiration - I like the formal layout with labels.   The shape of the apron and techniques to make it are yet  to be decided.

In and out of the kitchen - Documenting the domestic - ideas for a new apron.

On January 1st 2018, I started a personal project - a drawing a day for a year. using a black rollerball pen and watercolour paper cut to pocket size. I set out to draw wherever I was, not go somewhere specifically to draw. I nearly failed the first week, with a few drawings made late at night, but once I got into the habit, I started to enjoy it.  

Many of my drawings became about the domestic environment from community kitchens, to a new recipe tried out by my dad for the first time, trying to find the right cooking utensils.  Looking back through a year of documenting, many are from in my own kitchen. Each drawing holds a memory, from jam making, bread making in winter to rainy days when laundry dried indoors on the clothes maiden and the endless washing up. 

I'm planning a new apron, the shape yet undecided - perhaps contemporary rather than traditional. The imagery will be sourced from my stack of  2018's  365 drawings a day.


Netherlands - apron

A beautiful photo, sent in by Leny Bravenboer.

".....In Rotterdam in the Netherlands women also used to wear aprons.
This is a photograph of the mother of my husbands Grandmother.

Photo taken around 1950

Success with your project.
I’ve been following you for a few years now, and enjoy reading about your projects
Greetings Leny Bravenboer...."

Ghulam Rasul - Dingwall - Drapery - aprons and overalls

I met Ghulam Rasul in his drapery shop, Dingwall who delighted in showing me his stock of aprons, overalls and pinnies. Ghulam told me that the last of his wrap aprons had been sold to a lady from Canada. I can't recall how recently this was, but, having been in the business since for 60 years, since  leaving school in 1959, Ghulam is thinking about retiring. In the earler days of his business, he travelled with his shop, going north as far as Brora.

  I purchased a few items from his stock, but he insisted on giving me more, which I am very grateful. It seems I have started an apron collection, and it's growing as I descover them on my travels!  


Tabard - Dalston Hackney London

Thanks to artist, Sue-Jane Taylor for spotting this in Dalston, Hackney, London! 

An Irish couple

Thanks to artist, Brian McHenry for this  lovely photo of his 
great-grandmother, possibly taken in the village of Toombe in Ireland, sometime in the late 1940’s.

"....It sometimes seems like every memory I have of a grandmother or relative from that generation includes a housecoat of some sort!........"



Uist Arts Association Open Summer Exhibition At Taigh Chearsabhagh, Lochmaddy

My crottle inspired wrap apron and lichen pen drawings - on display at Taigh Chearsabhagh Art Centre, Lochmaddy, North Uist, as part of Uist Arts Association Open Summer Exhibition.

  28th June -  3 August  2019

Photo thanks to Peter Ferguson.


Shirley Morrison - family photos from her family croft at Kinvonvie in Lairg, Sutherland.

A wonderful set of photos of women wearing wrap aprons and pinnies thanks to Shirley Morrison of Lairg, Sutherland.

  I think my great grandfathers sister – it could be 1930 or earlier.

My great granny - Vear Mackay nee  Sutherland Cira 1960.


First of all I would like to thank you for the most interesting talk you gave to the Lairg Local History Society a few weeks ago.  I really enjoyed my evening and looking at all the things you brought with you.

Marlyn Price has kindly scanned a selection of day dresses from a small part of the family collection.  They are all from my family croft knows as Kinvonvie in Lairg.
Please feel free to add these to your day dress blog and unfortunately they have all passed away and I am now the owner of these photo.

Shirley Morrison

My great granny - Vear Mackay nee  Sutherland Cira 1960.

Vear Mackay nee  Sutherland Cira Cira 1940’s

 Mrs Isa Mackay & my brother so 1953
 Isa Mackay and me as a baby so 1957

My great aunt by marriage – Mrs Isa Mackay

The clipping at Kinvonvie, Isa Mackay, James Mackay and my granny brother Hughie Mackay so great uncle Cira 1960

The clipping at Kinvonvie, Isa Mackay & son James Mackay Cira 1960

Taking in the corn or hay as can’t be sure from the photo –  Hughie Mackay, Isa Mackay & James Mackay


Newfoundland - pulley system clotheslines - vintage aprons - ships laundry - 'dusters'

While in Newfoundland,
 I  bought this vintage apron from a second hand shop in St.John's.  
The photo shows The Narrows, the entrance to St.John's harbour.

Click on the photos if you want to look closer!

I started to notice the pulley system clothes lines they used.
Great for those akward spaces on slope and over streams!

This photo has 6 pulleys in it. Difficult to make out, so I've numbered them! 
 Click on the photos if you want to look closer!

A few steps up needed to reach this clothes line at the Battery in St. John's.

Apparently, 'dusters' are a Newfoundland name for housecoats or overalls worn when doing chores.  

I couldn't resist, I had to bring a pulley system clothes line home to Scotland - this is what I purchased in a hardwear store in St. John's - including pegs and line!

Now  trying it out in my field,  and inspired by the clothes lines on slopes, we used a few empty fishboxes for steps and picked a spot (on a slope!)!

And what to hang on my clothes line?? 
First up, the apron from Newfoundland.

Then, inspired by Fogo Island recent, 'community hang up your quilts in public day', I decided on two of the quilts I'd made!

Do email me photos of your clothes lines - wherever you are!

Click here to read why I was invited to Newfoundland 
by Trinity Historical Society.


Dingwall Museum - wrap apron

I spotted this wrap apron  (or is it a wrap housecoat??) in a display at Dingwall Museum.  The room display indicated its from the 1920. 

Thanks to the museum for permissions to photograph it and include it in my blog. 


Nostalgia: Edinburgh’s ‘steamies’ remembered - wrap aprons

Marlyn Price from Lairg forwarded a few links along with her memories of seeing wrap aprons:

".....I remember seeing many women in the 1950s in their wrap around aprons at the Edinburgh steamies. An old pram came in handy for pushing the weekly laundry to and from the steamie....."

Click here to read more on Nostalgia: Edinburgh’s ‘steamies’ remembered.

And click here to read a reveiw of a theater production:  "The Steamie"


Wrap aprons - 1935 in Dornoch, Sutherland.

This lovely photo, sent to me by Leslie Goskirk from Lairg, Sutherland of her aunt 
Jan Leslie (later Mackay), and her uncle William Oliver, was taking in 1935  outside their croft house in Dornoch, Sutherland.


Kev and Sue Greenbank from Lairg share memoies of wrap aprons and pinnies.

Hi Joanne,
My wife and I really enjoyed your talk and display last Friday, very interesting and informative..  You asked for photos and I found a couple in our family tree which I have attached.  The one in a group of people is my wifes great grandmother Frances Garton (nee Cooper) we think the photo was taken in 1954 when she was 80

The singleton is my Great Great Grandmother Sarah Ann Day (nee Jessop) the photo probably taken in the 1920's as the skirt she is covering was the one she was wearing at my Granddads wedding in 1921

We also found an example of a  different method of protecting clothing on a Child which might be of interest (looks a bit like crochet work) The child is my wifes Grandmother at age of around 6 in 1910


Kev & Sue Greenbank