Edward Bransfield Commemorative Tartan- It is Done

It has been almost a year since the sight of the Southern Andes mountains took my breath away. It feels like yesterday and it feels like a thousand years ago. I know it was not a dream but it was a dream come true. I remember thinking that nothing could be more astoundingly beautiful than the sights that I saw that first day in Ushuaia, Argentina.

The next day I boarded the Island Sky with my dear friend, Leigh. Our expectations were exceeded almost immediately. A bright greeting from the expedition specialists and crew. The most memorable of them by an Irish lad by the name of Jim Wilson.


Jim Wilson, Antarctica,  January 2018

To say I learned a lot from this man would be the understatement of the year. He joyously informed everyone of the birds, whales flora and fauna that abounded in that stark, immense place. He introduced all of us to the history of Antarctica and its discoverer, Edward Bransfield.

Of all of us standing on the deck at Brown Station, he was the one that got the picture of the out-of-place King penguin. He willingly shared that photograph with me.

King penguin Vernadsky 27th Jan 2018 Jim Wilson

When Orca whales were spotted and the ship drifted with them, it was Jim who noted an anomaly and from the deck began jumping up and down yelling, “Minke, minke, minke.” Minke whale are not suppose to travel with Orcas. Minkes generally are an appetizer for Orcas. Except for Type B Orcas. That was the first time I knew that there were several species of Orca. Who knew??? Jim Wilson did.

Because of his jumping and yelling, I was able to get an amazing photo. My own picture of a whale’s tale.


That picture is now on the wall of my home. Every day it reminds me of the precious Earth and our responsibility to it.

But the most amazing thing that happened was on our return to Argentina. On the bulletin board there was a piece of cloth. An official tartan (meaning it was registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans in Scotland). As a weaver, I had to examine this item. I wondered if I could weave that pattern.

As I found out, I couldn’t. Not without getting permission from the person or persons who had registered the design.

That is when dear Mr. Wilson planted the idea of me weaving my own tartan.

And so the journey to the End of the World, that had started over a week before, became a journey into tartans.

I have told the story before. (Head to my blog category of weaving for the story of the process.) What I did not expect was that the project would take SOOOO long. Granted, I could only work on it for three hours once a week during my weaving class. Granted, I missed a few weeks. (Like I went to Spain. That story is under the category of singing!)

The first scarf came off the loom several weeks ago. Today the last scarf came off the loom. It has exceeded my expectations, just like the trip that inspired it.

Fresh off the loom, the fringe is tied so there is less tangling during the wet finishing  process.

The design is registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans under the name “Edward Bransfield Commemorative” because Jim Wilson taught me about that remarkable man and because in 2020 a monument to Edward Bransfield will be unveiled in Cork County Ireland. Both Jim Wilson and Edward Bransfield hail from that part of the world.

I am so proud to be part of the recognition of that man of exploration.

To all on the Remembering Edward Bransfield Committee, I thank you. This has been a wonderful journey. (and, yes, I will post a picture of the finished scarf!)

Categories: Andes Mountains, Antarctica, Edward Bransfield Commemorative Tartan, Orcas, Scottish Registry of Tartan, Tartan, Uncategorized, WeavingTags: , ,


  1. Unbelievable!!!
    I’m so impressed, but I guess you know that! Well done, GAEL!!!!!
    Love you!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. w00t!!! CONGRATS!!! It’s amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a story! And I so admire your creativity and tenacity.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t imagine a more beautiful tribute to someone than to create something out of your own imagination like this, and with your own hands. And congratulations on getting it registered, too! You continue to amaze and inspire me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic accomplishment!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. On behalf of the Remembering Edward Bransfield committee I would like to say it has been our great pleasure to have you put your amazing talent into producing the Edward Bransfield Commemorative Tartan. Thank you sooooo much Gael 🙂 Jim Wilson, Chairman of the committee.


  7. That is a fantastic tale Gael . And a wonderfully poignant achievement . Well done to you . Jim is a wonderful influence .

    Tony (Canola Pictures, Ireland)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have been honored to do this. I have learned so much from you, the expedition, the Committee’s work, and the weaving that I may have to write a book about it!!! 😉
    Seriously, thank you, Jim for being an inspiration on this. You are amazing!


  9. Great job. You have a talent that is not easy. I am in Awe of your abilities. You also can weave a great story that hold the reader in excitement for the finish. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for you praise! I am humbled that I can do some of these things and that I have met people who have been willing to help me. It is an amazing experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautiful tartan and what a wonderful journey, on so many levels!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Uh…Gael. You are going, aren’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Life is amazing, and You are welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sure want to. Sometimes being retired sucks.


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