Around ten years ago, Maxine Stephenson – originally from Yorkshire – and her husband decided the time had come to drastically alter their work-life balance.
Working in retail management, she had tired of their very busy stressful working lives, so they quit the rat race. In May 2006 they put the house up for sale and in November that year they moved to the Isle of Skye.
She says: “I was born in Yorkshire and my parents moved us to Scunthorpe when I was 13. I was 47 when we moved to Skye and this is the first time I have felt at home since being 13.”
Though things didn’t go to plan at first after the move, they finally moved into their self-build house in Glendale in April 2011 and “our time” began...and, she says: “left with all this time on my hands I started to sew, and something clicked... I loved it!
She already knew she wanted to work from home and be creative, and while she started to sew for a hobby, she says “as I progressed I knew I could do something with this.
“I can see the Outer Hebrides from the house and already had a passion for Harris Tweed so it took no thinking about. A love of handbags and Harris Tweed is a match made in heaven.
In 2014, the Wheatear Textiles website went live and work started on her studio, just metres from the house.
The name Wheatear came about when a pair of these birds decided to make their nest and raise their young in a pile of rocks just across from where my studio now stands, and have arrived every year since. The studio first opened to the public in the spring of 2015.
“I’m very lucky in where I am placed, very much on the tourist trail, with every nationality visiting my studio in Glendale. Everyone appreciates what I am doing and are interested or know about Harris Tweed.”