I managed to get home for a few days in August, which was lovely. I really appreciate how special a place Shetland is when I return, there really is no where like it.
The open space and the sea. The pictures speak for themselves…
In March we traveled over to NYC for a five day trip which promised adventure.
The city, in which I have never been to, was totally mesmerising. It was exactly what I imagined and much more.
The urban landscape for me is always inspiring especially in contrast to the open space landscape I grew up with. Architectural details, concrete and linear design – always something that catch my eye.
Below are some of my New York pictures with some initial concepts for something I have been working on…..
I was lucky enough to go to Florence in June and attend the Pitti Uomo menswear show. Four years ago I went to Pitti Filati the yarn trade show as a student and I had a brilliant time. Although the last time I visited it was in January, it was so nice to be back in Florence and at a different time of year.
Below are some pictures I snapped during the week, looking closely at the street style and trends of the people attending the show, as well as snap shots of colour stories and micro trends which jumped out at me.
1 – Hats and more hats. Traditional checks and Pinstripes.
2 – Monochrome, Black and White, Windowpane Checks, Tassels and Stripes.
3 – Blue and Yellow. Brights together with pattern or plains.
These colourful numbers were part of this years Pitti Uomo’s theme – Lucky numbers.
I have been spending my summer on the far northern island of Shetland – Yell.
A 40 minute drive, 20 minute inter island ferry and then a further 15 minute journey away from my house in Lerwick, I have been driving up and down the A970 three or four times a week to work at the Center for Creative Industries there.
The Ann Sutton Foundation based in Sellafirth which is run as part of Global Yell and the Center for Creative Industries by Andy Ross, is the only organisation of its type on Shetland. (http://www.globalyell.org/)
I have been working on the Stay and Make program, which was set up for graduates to come and use the equipment, to get experience working in a professional environment and to get an idea of working to a brief for a company outwith University.
Having worked at the center for a couple of weeks while I was still studying at Shetland College in 2011, I knew what I was coming too, but at the same time as the Stay and Make program running, there is also a Weaver in Residence based there during the summer months.
This year, Kirsty Leadbetter, from London, who graduated from Chelsea School of Art last year has been working along side me, designing fabrics for interiors. (http://shuttletoshetland.wordpress.com/)
Being a Shetlander, and living away from the Island for the past year, I have come to realise just how important it is as a young local and designer that we need to promote our Island and its heritage, especially the strong textile heritage which we have.
Weaving in Shetland, which to me is equally as important as the knitting heritage, seems to have been forgotten slightly over the years and I did some research into the past weaving industry while I was home in Easter.
I spent 2 days at the Museum Archives looking through old samples from ‘Adies of Voe’ 1920’s – 1960’s collection. I was surprised to find out how successful the industry was, and how good the quality of the fabrics were. These fabrics were exported all over the world. These tweeds and woven fabrics inspired my designs which I created for the center and I have tried to create a new contemporary Shetland Tweed.
Below is my moodboard which I used to help me with my designs.
Inspired by my local surroundings and favourite places around the Island, I used the everyday colours along with trends from WGSN in my designs.
It was important for me to use these everyday colours which surround us as I wanted the fabrics to depict Shetland in the way which I, as a local see it.
It is the greys and purples that make the slate steps which we tread down the Lerwick Lanes on, the stone buildings which our houses are made of and the blues and greens of the sea which our Island is surrounded by.
Another important factor which I wanted to include in this project for ASF was to use Shetland wool. After doing research last semester for a written project I found the social responsibility of using local products and materials which are readily available in your local shops really interesting and using our local resource of Shetland wool is something I will definitely continue to use in the future as a designer. (The piece I wrote about this can be found here: https://amygair.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/campaigning-for-the-wool/)
These were some of the pictures from me setting up my first warp, which consisted of three miny samples next to eachother.
The first set of samples which came out were simple in structure yet effective in the portraying the Shetland scene. Working closely with Andy, we stopped and assessed the samples at each stage and discussed the successful ones, and what could be done to develop them on to the next stage of final samples. With help from an outside eye, Rhona Skinner – who owns the Shetland Gallery next to ASF Shetland (http://www.shetlandgallery.com/) we successfully picked a collection of Shetland Tweed’s designed by me which I am currently weaving large lengths of. These are potentially going to be made into interior accessories and details will be posted once they become available.
Here is a look at some of the final designsIf you are in Shetland and fancy coming to see us at the Studio in Yell, you are more than welcome to drop by and see what we have been up to! Andy, Kirsty and I would be glad to see you!
My busy week in London started off with a visit to New Designers part 1 in Angel at the Business Design Center. As I am going into my Honours year in September, I thought it would be interesting to see the level of work that Graduating textile, craft and jewellery designers were reaching this year.
Spending most of the day wandering around, I took in millions of mental notes as understandably we were not allowed to take pictures. Well done to all the recent graduates who exhibited their work during Part 1 of the event – such talent! I left completely inspired.
As I was staying with friends, I was quite keen to experience things that they do while living in London, its good to experience a culture at the same time as doing all the touristy stuff. So we went to the ‘Big Red’ – an Italian restaurant on a big red double decker located in Detford. That place has the best pizza!
Its strange to think that even though Shetland is still in the UK, London felt like a completely different way of life to me. Perhaps because I was just visiting, and it was my first time in London, and Shetland and London are at complete opposites to eachother on the map so its no wonder, I just felt so excited to be there. People were friendly and helpful, and I noticed there that no one was afraid to express who they really are. People from all over the world come to London to work and live.
I spent a morning at the V & A, which was far too short a time. I could spend all day in there and still find something interesting to look at. Even the building was amazing! I found myself in the shop before I felt looking through the thousands of books they have. I have an addiction to buying books related to textiles or art. I love to flick through the pages of inspiring pictures.
I really think that London is the place for opportunities and I hope to be back very soon! Here are some of my favourite pics I took while I was there during a week of amazing sunny weather (which was almost too hot for me compared to the Shetland climate!)
Back to reality and Yell this week and in the studio working on samples, If your near by pop along to see me and weaver in residence Kirsty! We’ll be glad to show you what we’ve been up to over the past 6 weeks!
I miss the sea. Alot. I have been away from Shetland for 3 months now. And I miss the sea sooo much! It’s weird. I miss the noise it makes, in the background of silence. Because the sea is never silent. The tide is always on the move.
I miss being able to look out into the distance and see where the sea meets the sky.
My house in Lerwick looks onto the shore, and my bedroom window fits nicely into a gap between two houses, meaning I have the perfect view over Brewick Bay……the sea was the last thing I looked at before I went to bed, and the first thing I saw in the morning. I didn’t think about missing the sea before I moved…I was more concerned with missing my family and friends.
Brewick Bay, taken from my window
I love looking out into the distance and seeing the coastline far away. There is so much room to think and imagine. The sea in Shetland can portray so many different emotions.
On a nice day there is nothing more beautiful than the sea, sparkling like diamonds (My friend Ella would say) but if you catch a glimpse on a day with gale force gales, its anger and loud crashing waves will make you want to run inside and stay there for the night.
The Scottish Borders are lovely, but in a different way…the rolling green hills and many tree’s create a different scene which I am far from used to. I still cant get used to seeing so many different types of tree’s everyday. And the colours of Autumn. In Shetland there are now tree’s for the leaves to turn yellow, red and brown. They just get blown away!…my flat mates still find it hard to imagine somewhere with no trees……
The second part of the collaborative project im involved with through Shetland Arts Trust, Farlin, is in March 2013, in St Andrews. I got an email today with some event information and it made me really excited to get home at Christmas so I can weave my idea’s up
Andy, my Farlin partner and I are working with the sea as the main theme….(Yes…my idea) I emailed Andy when I first moved down about how much I was missing the sea, and from there it has become our subject.
We’ve got some great Idea’s and I cant wait to post about how the turn out!