Women of the Hill

Strath Suardal, Isle of Skye 31st October 2015

Working with Hanna Tuulikki to create the costumes for this one-off outdoor performance commissioned by ATLAS .

For more information on this project, please read the Atlas Arts press release.


Hanna Tuulikki, High Pasture Cave, Women of the Hill


This was a one-off performance conceived and developed by Hanna to celebrate this particular site and its archaeolgical significance. I developed the outfits in collaboration with Hanna to complement and enhance the performance, there is a film being made.


Caroline Dear, Hanna Tuulikki, High Pasture Cave, Torrin, Isle of Skye Caroline Dear, Hanna Tuulikki, Women of the Hill, High Pasture Cave, Torrin, Isle of Skye


Quote about the development of the work –
‘It is important for me that I use plants which are abundant, which are undervalued now but which were commonly used in the past. For designing and making the work for this project I researched both Skye related customs as well as more ancient traditions. This work has it’s roots in the neolithic, relating to the archeological excavations which took place on this site over a period of eight years. I enjoy working with Hanna, we understand each other’s thinking, sources and methods of working so it flows easily, and, as Hanna puts it, we activate each others practice.

The exciting things about this project for me have been distilling each character’s essence and then selecting the right materials and structural forms to express this. I also find the practical side very satisfying, that is resolving technical problems. For this project I have researched and developed new techniques and worked with new materials such as the big shaggy moss. It is always exiting to work with a new material, getting to know its own distinctive personality. The plants have been carefully chosen to relate to different aspects of each character; for example I have used birch bark in the belt for Cailleach, birch being traditionally a symbol for renewal and death, darkness and light.’


Caroline Dear, Hanna Tuulikki, High Pasture Cave, Torrin, Isle of Skye


Plants used – Latin and English names

hat – Soft rush, Juncus effusus
belt – Silver birch (bark), Betula pendula
Hair moss, Polytrichum commune
Willow, Salix (bark stripped, stick burnt then oiled)

hat and belt – Big shaggy moss, Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus
Purple moor-grass, Molinia caerulea (gathered in summer to keep the green colour)
Broad leaved-Osier (Salix x smithiana), the catkins threaded and woven
Soft rush, Juncus effusus

hat and belt – mixed meadow grasses and flowers including Red campion (Silene dioica), Common knapweed (Centaurea nigra), Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), Red clover (Trifolium pratense) and Buttercup (Ranunculus repens)

CDear 3belts