Saturday, 13 January 2018

Shetland Wool Week: Day 16: A wet and windy day: Thursday 28 Sept

I had nothing booked for today in Wool Week terms. However, it was not the day for the beach or a long, or even short, walk! The weather had been more iffy this Wool Week than we could remember in previous weeks, even given it was the end of Sept, beginning of October. A low was forecast, it was unseasonably mild (13C outside) but was  windy and felt much colder. Even on a dull damp day there would be interesting ‘wool’ things to do and see I was sure. Michael thought that any self respecting bird would have gone into hiding. 

The first stop pencilled in was to Wilma (Malcolmson’s)  near where we were staying. Michael’s passing words to Wilma last year was that he would be back to buy a jumper this year and so this is what we set out to do. In the shop last year there was a signed picture of Jimmy Perez (Ann Cleeves, Shetland fame)wearing one of Wilma’s jumpers.  The film crew had been back to record another ‘Shetland’ series and I understand this year 6 jumpers were bought so will watch the programmes more closely to try and spot them... but perhaps the actors just wanted their personal jumpers.
Irene, whom I had met at the workshop on Tuesday evening, was looking after the workshop/shop. M looked at jumpers and I chatted to Eileen who knew from previous conversations that I was interested in machine knitting. She talked about the machines Wilma used and what she used them for. I noted that the basic machine set up was very much like mine, however the output was different. Wilma had a shop full of wonderful garments for sale and I just knit mainly for myself. I was congratulated on my meadowsweet yoked jumper ( that I had worn to Tuesday’s workshop ) and I explained how I got a range of colours from one initial dyepot. I really appreciated this comment coming from someone working with Fair Isle colours all the time. By this time Michael had chosen his jumper.  

 I bought some lace weight skeins (for dyeing) and some cards. It was good to see some wool colour packs for sale, Wilma is so good at selecting colours that work together. If you get a chance to go to Wilma’s do take the opportunity. It is inspiring and a real working workshop. Wilma has all her samples still (as do I) and it is great to follow her process through from the initial stimulus for the colour and pattern and the range of samples she does before deciding on final patterns for garments. Even better try and get on one of her workshops. 

Coffee at Mackenzie’s Farm shop beckoned and today I had goey plum and ginger cake which was really great. We then took a drive to Weisdale where the Bonhoga Gallery(1)  is situated. There was a cloud burst as we arrived and just getting into the gallery from our vehicle in the wind and rain was a real challenge.  We started  with lunch, both our meals were very nice indeed. The cafe had a display of work and art work on the walls as well as interesting magazines such as the Wool  report - a trade magazine. We had come to see Barbara’s exhibition and it did not disappoint. The work of the three artists (2) was quite different as they portrayed their individual responses to the theme : Behind the North Wind (Nordic Art and Spirituality). It was a pity that there was no documentation available with it but I did get some when I asked at the desk. 
Taken from Bonhoga spring/summer 2017 brochure 

We returned  to our campsite, the heavy rain had stopped and I noted how wonderful the colours in the verges were after such a wet day. 

Many pluses from a day that looked initially to be a wet, windy and miserable. 

(1) Bonhoga Gallery is owned and run by Shetland Arts Development Agency. There is a space for exhibitions for local, national and international contemporary visual art and craft. Exhibitions from artists  and craftsmakers (from Shetland and the UK) working on a smaller scale can be seen downstairs- some of this is in the cafe area! The shop has a wide range of really nice art and craft. The gallery in Weisdale Mill is in an area worth going to,  there are trees in the valley and very few trees elsewhere in Shetland.  The only downside is that the car park is rather small. 
Mareel by the Shetland Museum at Hay’s dock is also part of Shetland Arts and is a Theatre/Cinema complex. It also has a shop which is ‘design led’ selling gifts, stationery, cards and books which are so tempting. There is also a nice cafe overlooking Hay’s Dock, which has longer opening hours than the cafe in the Museum next door. It has a larger car park than Bonhoga. Both are well worth a visit. 

(2) the three artists were: Barbara Ridland (Shetland), Kristin Reynisdottir(Iceland), Malfridur Adalsteindottir (Norway)

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