Family Heritage

Plowing the garden.  From the left; Gus, Fion and my dad Rory MacCrea with our team of horses Dick and Dan.  I am right behind the horses.

The cultural background of this art form is never far from our family.  Being MacCreas, we have an ancestral link to the clan MacCrea, commonly spelled Macrae (ancient cousins to the Macgraths of Ireland), in the West Highlands of Scotland.  The family has proudly kept and practiced many talents and traditions of the highland culture.  My uncle and my grandfather both have a lifetime of woodworking.  I am also a Bagpiper, as is my grandfather.  I received lessons from Steve Walker (who is also very accomplished in his trade as a Metal smith) who was in a small band of pipers which included Mark Cushing, Paul Freeland, Kevin (my uncle), and Rory MacCrea (my father), all instructed by my grandfather William MacCrea.  Kevin, my uncle, worked  with furniture and cabinetry for many years, and some of his customized work included a Celtic interlace as a trademark.   

Alec MacCrea, September 2012

William MacCrea, my grandfather, has carried on a great deal of the tradition in the family, and has helped each one of us in our own way towards finding an artistic strength.  William used much of his talent creating assemblages (assembling many pieces of wood in a frame artistically) for churches and commission work some forty years as well as teaching art and humanities classes in Andover high school.   My mother, Debra MacCrea, has always held a talent of working with wool - from washing, carting, combing, spinning and on to the loom.  She also has a "dye day" each year and it is very interesting to see what plants, herbs and even wood chips can be used to create the dye colors.  Rory, my father, has made and decorated many things in leather and he also does some blacksmithing, welding and sheers sheep. 

I have four brothers and they continue to experiment with several types of media that have been passed down from my parents generation. With all the talent in my family, I find it hard to believe that everyone does not hold some great talent of his or her own in the world.  Maybe these talents are never going to be seen in many people because they are not enhanced at an early age, or they simply resolve that they can not do it.  I feel my family is very blessed in that regard.  It's a matter of discovering it and committing yourself to what you do best.

Debra MacCrea spinning wool with several samples of dyed wool in front of her. 


Part of my family at the Altmount Highland Games (Colin, Fion and Fion's wife Kim could not make it), picture taken August 2012
From top left;
my parents Debbie and Rory, William (grandfather), Uncle Kevin, Brittney (Lee's girl friend) and Lee, Me and my wife Shanley.  In front; Duncan and his girl friend Stephanie


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