You may know that every year we work with the Shetland College and their Fine Art and Contemporary Textiles students on a project in which the students create a piece of work inspired by J&S and its buildings and yarns, even though things have been very different this year we did manage to have the usual visits with the students at the beginning of the year before everything shut down so they were able to continue the project and last week I (Ella) headed to the college to see the results of the project.
As always we will go through the students work and I’ll write a little bit about their inspirations:
Shannon was inspired from her visit to us and hearing Oliver speak about the importance of Shetland sheep and their colours, marking and existence – She created this collection of beautiful ‘lugs’ – ears in Shetland dialect from raw wool and combed tops.
She said ‘We never want these ears to become mere ‘specimens’ of what ‘once was’’. I found the ears very tactile and cute, and I could see links to Museums and Taxidermy which was very effective.
Elouise was inspired by the markings on the floor in the Woolstore and the colours and textures in the woolstore from the walls, floors and wool. She worked into a sheet using sewing, painting and distressing.
She said: ‘The phrase ‘Common Land’ took a whole different meaning when put into the context of today, as before it just meant a field used by many crofters for sheep, but in the context of COVID-19 it stands for how people have had to come together in the ‘Common Land’ of the internet and how people have had to become more empathetic with each other as this virus affects everyone. This piece was not what I expected when I first stepped into Jamieson & Smith, but I’m very happy with the outcome.’
It was a really effective piece and I liked how it linked into the present as well as the every day in the Woolstore.
Jean created a selection of sculptural pieces and painting in her work as well as small art book containing samples of fleece paintings which she then took out onto bigger scale wall pieces.
She was inspired by the textures and colours of the woolstore which I think translated well into her use of natural colours in the Heritage and Tops.
She said: ‘I really enjoyed discovering the wool shed, loved the untreated wool, the atmosphere, the history: found it inspirational. The natural yarn is very beautiufl and makes me want to learn to knit’
Elaine was inspired by visiting J&S and its buildings to create a ‘Taatit Rug’ which incorporated lots of elements of what we do – including our logo and bannisters!
For the last sixty years, J&S have bought fleeces from the Shetland crofters…who graze their hardy peerie sheep on the stark hillsides. In the 1960s the old United Free Kirk was purchased to be used as a grading shed…it is now the Wool Shop. In the 1900s this part of Lerwick was a hive of activity with numerous fishing stations spread along its shores. The shore being the work-place of the Herring girl’s as they gutted and salted fish. The kirk was a place of worship and relaxation for them. The herring girls had a restroom and knitted in any free time. Marriages also took place and even a Post Office made use of the building. This colourful history inspired me. I thought of the poverty of material things and how nothing was wasted. From conception to creation the coming together of the Tattit rug, historical a wedding gift to the bride and groom from both families.’
I found Elaine’s rug really moving and could totally see all the inspiratrions and how they had translated into the piece.
Cilla was inspired by the textures in the woolstore and decided to work with crochet and balls to represent the reach of Shetland Wool all over the world. She combined these into hanging almost ‘mobiles’
Shet said ‘I wanted my final work to highlight the environment that supports the production of wool. I used peat, clay, heather and rams’ horns.’
I loved the use of different materials withing the work and found them very beautiufl to look at and stand under.
Jane worked with audio and visuals to represent her visits to J&S and what that ignited within her and she made her film from a Grandaughters perspective.
She said ‘I used film to recreate the rhythmic movement and sound of my grandmother’s knitting needles and highlight the importance of yarn quality, and the essential knitting belt. Finally, to remember a small flock of twenty sheep.’
I think the work the students produced considering everything that’s happened this year was really great and it’s always amazing to see what is produced and how others see coming into J&S and we love seeing work from so many different perspectives.
To find out more about the creative courses at the Shetland College click here, we hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the students work.