Monday, 27 September 2010

Gunnister Man Inspired Jewellery

I often get asked how I came to be making jewellery out of felt as it's a bit distant from the scarves and handbags I started out making. 

It all came about when I took part in a project looking at the Gunnister Man.  In 1951, 2 men cutting peats in Shetland, beside the road at Gunnister, came across the remains of what is now named as the Gunnister Man.  The find consisted of some clothes and a few belongings which is dated back to the early 18th century.  The pieces were sent to the National Museum in Edinburgh but last year were borrowed back by the Shetland Museum.  Shetland Arts asked a few local people working in crafts to create work in response to the artifacts.  The project was coordinated by textile artist Deirdre Nelson.

We met regularly and had fasinating discussions on who we thought this man might have been, where he was going, and what happened to him.

I began thinking about identity bracelets, if he had had one, we would have known who he was.  So, I set about making a series of non-identity bracelets out of felt.

I printed a map on one side of the felt and a copy of one of the original newspaper articles was printed onto the other side.  The felt "beads" were spaced using beads made from bone.

The finished pieces from the project are on display in the Shetland Museum.  I often wonder what the Gunnister Man would have thought if he had known he would make such an impact on the contemporary craft scene in Shetland!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Life is a bowl of......neeps

Well, I don't have any cherries, but I do have plenty of neeps (turnips) I have just taken up from the yard.

The colour is amazing, that is why I took the photo - they match my kitchen and would great instead of a bowl of fruit. 

This made me start thinking about marketing tricks used by companies selling their wares.  Many websites and catalogues would describe this colour as "clover" or "hyacyinth" or something lovely like that.

Farrow and Ball do a beautiful range of paint colours (I have used many in my house!) with beautifully descriptive names.


Examples of some of their names are "mouses back", "smoked trout", "pigeon" and "elephant's breath".  However, I don't think though we will find any companies describing any of their colours as "neep" or " turnip"!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Text-Isles: Shetland's Contemporary Textile Group

It has been one of those days.  I worked all day as a science technician at two of the high schools in Shetland (my original training was in marine biology), then went straight to Shetland Arts to look at a piece of work I am going to help install in the next exhibition at the Bonhoga Gallery.  I rushed from there to my weekly pilates class, then drove across the town to catch the end of the Text-Isle group meeting.  Phew!

Text-Isles is a small group of designers and artists working in textiles living and working in Shetland.

The members are (from left to right): Aamos Designs, Joanna Hunter Kintwear, Donna Smith DesignsAndrea Williamson, Burra Bears, Phatsheep Textiles and Barbara Ridland

The group was originally formed to provide a small network of contemporary textile artists.  We also wanted to establish a more formal method of working and collaborating on projects together.  We meet now and again, when we can, its always good to bounce ideas off each other, find out whats going on in the textile world and to swap information.  We are currently looking at future projects and collaborations, so watch this space!  Although there are only 7 of us in the group, the biggest problem is getting everybody together at the same time, we all lead such busy lives!  

Have a look at the website for more information:

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

First Ever Post

I love reading blogs and can spend hours browsing so I thought it was about time I wrote one myself.  My husband has been saying for a while now that he is a computer widower, and blogging won't help!  I am a textile designer working mainly with 100% wool felt.  I love the way it cuts without fraying and its uniform quality.  I make a wide range of products using felt: handbags, notebook covers, brooches, and more recently jewellery.  Have a little look at my website to see the full range and to buy online.

I work from home and find Shetland a very inspirational place to live and work - I am surrounded by beautiful scenery, wildlife and a rich heritage of music and textiles.  I hope to keep you updated on my work, inspiration, and anything else I feel like sharing!

View from my conservatory a couple of weeks ago