Heather by Lois Anderson

Heather by Lois Anderson


This carving, in Woodkirk sandstone, by Lois Anderson, celebrates the word ‘Heather’, and was created as part of our exhibition ‘The Lost Words - Forget-me-not.’ For this exhibition artists have created a permanent record of the natural words removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. Each cube is 10cm square, and has a hole in the top to place a candle or flower.


A purple-flowered Eurasian heath that grows abundantly on moorland and heathland. Many ornamental varieties have been developed.

Calluna vulgaris, family Ericaceae (the heather family). This family includes the rhododendrons and azaleas as well as the bilberries and many other berry-bearing dwarf shrubs.

ORIGIN: Old English hadre, hedre (recorded in place names), of unknown origin. The word was chiefly Scots until the sixteenth century; the change in the first syllable in the eighteenth century was due to association with heath.

The name 'HEATHER' may come from the old Scottish word haeddre which is seen as far back as the fourteenth century. It may also have been called 'heddir' or 'hathar' at different times.

Scottish heather is also sometimes known as ling heather, deriving from the old Norse word lyng which meant 'light in weight'. It is hardy and fast growing, and loves wet soil. With all the rain we get north of the border it's one very happy little plant! Its glorious purple hues can be seen across around five million acres of Scottish moorland, glens and hills.

There’s a touching legend attached to white heather. The story goes that Malvina, daughter of the Scottish poet Ossian, was betrothed to a Celtic warrior named Oscar. When she heard that he had died in battle she was heartbroken. The messenger who delivered the news handed her a spray of purple heather, Oscar’s last token of his undying love. When her tears fell on the flowers, they immediately turned white, at which she pronounced: ‘although it is the symbol of my sorrow, may the white heather bring good fortune to all who find it.’ Even today, white heather is thought to be lucky, especially for brides.

I chose to carve heather because I am Scottish. It is close to my heart.

 Scotland, basically… heather and weather.


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