Shetland is very lucky in that our strong textiles culture means lots of textiley things happen here, and last week Shetland was host to the In the Loop 3.5 Textile Conference as part of the International Textile Festival.
In The Loop was developed by Linda Newington who is the Head Librarian at the Winchester School of Art, in 2010 Shetland was the host of In the Loop 2 which was organised by Linda together with Dr Carol Christiansen, the Shetland Museum Curator.
In the Loop 3.5 had a Nordic theme and the conference featured 3 days of talks by academics, knitters, students, artists and many more. I couldn’t go into detail about all the talks but I thought id pick out a few, you can see a short description about all the speakers here.
Kerstin Lindstrom is an artist with an interest in parcipative art, and in her talk she spoke about her piece ‘Own Our Own Time’ which involved a group of 80 knitters together in a circle to reflect on the passage of time, it was originally organised in Faroe in 2011.
I took these pictures at the event, while knitting! the green wool we were knitting with was Jamieson & Smith Heritage in the colour Moss Green. It was a chilly night but we knitted for an hour or so adding to the piece, it was quite clever how it was done, you knitted with one end of one circular needle on your left and the other end of another circular needle on the right so the knitting was continually moving around.
On Thursday Roxane Permar gave a talk on Public Art and Knitting in Shetland which covered public art work she has done in Shetland, i know Roxane as she is a Lecturer on the Textiles course at the Shetland College where i studied, but it was really interesting to hear about her work over the years, including the controversial Croft Cosy Project she developed in Shetland in the early 1990’s. The project plan was to handknit a cover to go over a traditional Shetland Croft House and she spoke about the positive and negative reactions the project had.
Also on Thursday morning Oliver, the manager and top wool man at Jamieson & Smith gave a talk entitled ‘Shetland Wool in the 21st Century’ Quite a wide topic! He focused on the projects and partnerships we are involved with at J&S, such as the Fine Lace Project and Heritage Yarns with the Shetland Museum and Amenity Trust and the wide range of products made with Shetland Wool at the Real Shetland Company.
On Thursday afternoon Elizabeth Johnston gave a really interesting talk about Fair Isle Yoke Jumpers and Cardigans and how they have come back into fashion. She showed us lots of photos of her family and relatives in Fair Isle Yokes over the years and told us that her granddaughter had asked her to make her a yoke. Elizabeth said she hated making yokes when she was knitting them in her youth, and it really made me think about how when something is in fashion you don’t think about the people making the item and how they probably are not glad they are in fashion! The finished yoke she made for Callie, her granddaughter, was made completely in handspun and hand dyed wool which is Elizabeth’s specialty and she had the finished yoke with her, it was so lovely.
Elizabeth had contacted me before the conference and asked if she could feature my yoke cardigan in her talk which was made by Sandra, and of course I agreed. The main shade is Jumper Weight Shade FC38 and one of my favourites! I get a lot of compliments on it, and i will still wear it, even if yokes go out of fashion!
Friday featured some of my favourite talks, Emily Watts recently graduated from the Royal College of Art, we met Emily last year when she came to Shetland to research for her dissertation, and we sponsored some of her final show work which was all made using British Wool, she focused her talk on her trips to Shetland and a small Norwegian town called Svalbard and how it inspired her final collection.
Annemor Sundbo gave a very inspiring talk, she ran one of the last shoddy factories in Norway which made blankets and quilts from recycled knitwear, and she began to find and sort all the beautiful knitted textiles, saving them from the rag pile
If you can i would look at the list of speakers and have a read about some of their work, it made for a very inspiring few days and it was brilliant to see how many people came up to Shetland especially for the Conference. It makes me excited for Wool Week!