Textiles in the spotlight

Third year contemporary textiles students at Shetland College UHI are putting the finishing touches to a range of pieces to go on display in the textile museum at the Böd of Gremista.

Third year contemporary textiles students. Back (from left): Dorothy Fraser, Izabela Delnicka, Rebecca Sinclair and Kara Mackay. Front: Kirsty Nicolson, Lynn McCormack, Malin Roberts and Joyce Leask.
Third year contemporary textiles students. Back (from left): Dorothy Fraser, Izabela Delnicka, Rebecca Sinclair and Kara Mackay. Front: Kirsty Nicolson, Lynn McCormack, Malin Roberts and Joyce Leask.

The exhibition, from 18th May, not only highlights the skills they have learned, it marks the culmination of their journey through their third year of study; the point where their individual creative concerns take shape and begin to blossom.

In the first half of the year the students were experimenting with materials and different techniques, which gave them an opportunity to find their individual strengths and develop their own approach to producing textiles. An important part of the degree course is “professional practice” which encourages students to engage in activities to develop essential skills, employability and other vocational and transferrable skills. Planning and preparation for this exhibition provides valuable experience.

Malin Roberts started her project from one of the most fundamental elements of design – lines. Drawing inspiration from “Funkis,” a Swedish design and architecture movement from the 1950s, Malin started out with graphic illustrations drawn on wallpaper with crayon and ink. She has translated these minimalist, clean-cut designs into woven pieces using contrasting colours, shades and materials.

Kara Mackay enjoys using visual patterns or details to emphasise the shapes and textures which are present in her pieces. For the Elements exhibition Kara has used a surreal aspect of pattern and paint to produce a mixed media textile piece that plays with the imagination.

Joyce Leask has taken inspiration from Fair Isle knitting to put a modern spin on traditional knitwear patterns. In Joyce’s collection of knitted scarves the Fair Isle star has been combined with geometric patterns to give a more contemporary look.

Dorothy Fraser is exploring the role of women through Shetland’s history in her collection of fabrics. She wanted to find a way of connecting the old with the new, which is reflected in her combination of hand-stitch and contemporary machine knit.

Lynn McCormack’s project started with photos of the paet reek in her fire at home, with the light and movement of these images expressed through the use of monofilament in a knitted structure. Lynn is taking inspiration from the site-specific textile art of Japan to develop an artistic expression of the medium.

Kirsty Nicolson has used her studies of traditional fishermen’s ganseys and hand-knitting techniques to design a unique women’s bomber jacket. She is interested in how knitted textiles can protect and comfort the wearer. She has used Shetland yarn which she has dyed herself using a space dye technique.

Also on a nautical theme, Rebecca Sinclair is fascinated by Shetland’s maritime history and how it has shaped and contributed to our way of life in the islands today.

Having grown up in Poland, Izabela Delnicka took inspiration from a very different landscape. As a child she loved to spend time in the forest; a location she has captured in her work through her choice of colour, texture and pattern.

Anne-Marie McDiarmid, college lecturer, is looking forward to what will be a diverse and imaginative exhibition of student work. She said: “The third year students’ exhibition at the Shetland Textile Museum will offer the students an excellent opportunity to expose their work to a wider audience and to develop their professional skills in preparation for their final year of study next academic year. We would like to thank the museum and its staff; notably Cushla Bretton, for their continued support and collaboration with students and staff on the BA (Hons) Contemporary Textiles course.”


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