My good friend Felicity Ford (aka Felix) is as enthusiastic as I am about Shetland and its wool industry. In 2013 (when she was patron of Shetland Wool Week) Felix worked on a number of field recordings for her important project, Listening to Shetland Wool. From the baas of lambs caught on the breeze, to the chink chink of needles swiftly knitting, from the noises made by a beloved spinning wheel to those of a hi-tech shima machine, Felix’s recordings really capture the way that wool is written through the Shetland landscape. Having enjoyed her recordings, I was very excited when she came up with the idea of combining Tom’s photographs and her sounds into a video celebrating Shetland Oo, and I think the result is really wonderful. . . with huge thanks to Felix and courtesy of the KnitSonik YouTube channel here is the video for your enjoyment!
The photos and sounds produced by Tom and Felix in this document include: Jan Robertson baling wool at Jamieson and Smith; Oliver Henry talking about grading and sorting wool at Jamieson and Smith, Ronnie Eunson’s sheep at Uradale; sheep near Nortower lodges, Aithsetter; Elizabeth Johnston handspinning; Hazel Tindall knitting with a belt; Kharis Leggate and Ella Gordon; Ina Irvine handspinning; Auctioneer and crofters at the Shetland Marts; and Shima knitting machines in the Textile Facilitation Unit at Shetland College, UHI.
While she was producing the video, Felix had a conversation with Tom about documenting and representing the work of Shetland wool. They have a really interesting discussion about the documentary and textural qualities of sound and photography, and you can read their conversation here.
Massive thanks to Felix for both the thoughtful interview, and the amazing video. The casebound limited edition of Shetland Oo has now sold out, but we still have plenty of copies of the softbound book in the shop.