On 24 February, “Brave” won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Kilted director Mark Andrews took to the stage wearing the Dunbroch tartan created for association with the film and thanked the Pixar team and Brenda Chapman (his co-director) whose daughter served as the inspiration for Merida, the story’s heroine…
This original “Jack-o-lantern” made from a turnip in the early 19th century is on exhibit at the Museum of Country Life in Ireland.
The making of jack-o’-lanterns, some sources maintain, springs theoretically from the custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory. The practice is said to have originated from an Irish tale about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack” who had dealings with the “devil”. As the story went, when he died, he wasn’t good enough for heaven and the devil wouldn’t let him into hell. The devil sent Jack away with coals which he put into a turnip to light his way in the dark.
While turnips and even potatoes had been used in Ireland, lanterns in Scotland were originally fashioned from the thick stem of the cabbage plant and were called “kail-runt torches”. It was not until 1837 that “jack-o’-lantern” appeared as a term for a carved vegetable lit from within.
Eventually pumpkins were chosen by Irish immigrants who brought the tradition with them to the home of the pumpkin - North America - where it became an integral part of Halloween festivities there. The term “jack-o’-lantern” originally meant a ‘night watchman’ or ‘man with a lantern’ with the earliest known use in the 1660’s in East Anglia…
Kilt Chronicler Extraordinaire: Photographer Richard Findlay Captures Scots Life Like No Other ~
Those interested in contemporary kilt life or Scottish themes have no doubt witnessed the exceptional photo work of Richard Findlay. He is arguably the most prolific photographer of kilt culture perhaps ever and certainly today. His comprehensive work is included in any search of the term “kilt” and has dispersed widely across media forms. He has become known as an undisputed authority of his subject.
An entertainment lawyer and business affairs consultant based in Edinburgh by profession, Findlay has taken his strong passion for photography of the kilt to the hilt. While Findlay confers that few photographers have shot kilted men so often – his is sort of a quest to promote ‘kilting’ as a norm rather than as an exception relating that if one travels the length and breadth of Scotland, countless examples can be found in everyday life.
He says of his work “my photo galleries have been described as ‘a view of life through the eyes of a kilted Edinburgh shooter exhibiting his pick of pics with a Scottish Twist”.
Apart from shooting the mountains, lochs and glens of Scotland, Findlay also captures people and events with a Scottish flavour particularly at Highland Games, Ceilidhs, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Scottish Rugby events.
Many of Findlay’s images are particularly notable as they employ many post production techniques including faux high dynamic range imaging (HDR) which provides higher contrast photos and many of Findlay’s works are instantly recognizable for their usage of this creative and striking process.
Often engaged to provide portraits for commercial or social networking sites via his brand FotoFling Scotland, he is also the official photographer for a major Highland Games organization in Scotland and receives many commissions for advertising, music events and other happenings.
Findlay should be lauded for the effort he continually puts behind his work for in doing so he provides us perhaps with the most substantial archive of ‘kilt culture’ photography to be had now or at any time before.
His work can be seen at a number of online venues but is best represented at his official site http://www.fotoflingscotland.co.uk/
Menswear house ISAIA’s tartan was designed for the label’s FW 2011-12 collection. The pattern has been listed with the Scottish Register of Tartans for archival preservation.
In the early 1920s, Enrico Isaia opened a small fabric shop in Napoli where he sold only goods intended for the production of fine men’s garments.
ISAIA manufactures made-to-measure clothing and has become one of the most of respected tailoring establishments in the world. Today the company exports the ISAIA collection globally…
The Hunterston Brooch ~
This famous early brooch with panels of gold filigree combining Celtic and Anglo-Saxon styles was made in the west of Scotland or Ireland around 700 AD.
This piece was found in 1830 on the Hunterston Estate in Ayrshire. It is a masterpiece of craft skills, and would have been worn by powerful nobles or clerics. Its style is typical of the region, combining Celtic and Anglo-Saxon influences.
It is made of silver, richly decorated with amber settings and panels of filigree goldwork representing interlaced beasts. The back has gilded interlaced decoration.
It had a long life, falling into the hands of Vikings around AD 1000 - a runic inscription on the back reads ‘Melbrigda owns this brooch’…
The Feather Bonnet: An Ultimate High-Hat ~
The Scottish feather bonnet is a type of military headdress used mainly by the Scottish Highland infantry regiments of the British Army from about 1763 until the outbreak of World War I. It is now mostly worn by pipers and drummers in various bands throughout the world. It is also worn in a similar fashion by regiments in various Commonwealth armies.
The head-dress began with the knitted Tam o’shanter bonnet with a chequered border. This was propped up and worn with a tall hackle or feather detail. During the 18th century, the highlanders who wore this hat began to add ostrich feathers to decorate it. This decoration evolved into a full covering of the original Tam o’shanter. The ostrich feathers were then entwined into a lightweight cage, producing the height. The feather bonnet has one or more (usually 4 or 5) “tails” that hang down below the headband, and the regimental badge and hackle are displayed the left.
There are parallels between the evolution of the Highland bonnet between 1760 and 1790 and the stationing of Highland regiments in North America in this period. The influence of the head-dresses of Native Americans on the bonnets of these troops is likely as contemporary pictures of Highlanders in Scotland do not show similar ornamentation with feathers, other than those of a few clan chiefs. On the return of the 42nd Foot to Britain in 1790 an official report commented that "Their bonnets are entirely disfigured. They are so covered with lofty feathers that they appear like grenadier caps of black bearskin”.
The Feather Bonnet has been used by all of the Scottish highland regiments at one point or the other. Examples include the Black Watch (red Hackle) and Gordon Highlanders.
Despite its elaborate appearance, the feather bonnet is a highly practical piece of military gear, as it is lightweight and the internal cage offers protection from blows. William Gordon-Alexander describes the feather bonnet as follows – “Not only the most sensible head-dress in the British army as a protection against sword-cuts but also being, when properly made up, the most perfectly ventilated and coolest one for hot climates hitherto invented:…