creature feature

some of the thinking behind the making

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a chat with Misa Hay

There is no getting away from the fact that, whatever business you are in, this year has been a very weird one. Having to change the nature and direction of what you are doing – often very rapidly – is never an easy thing, and this year there have been so many of those changes.…

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Harriet’s hat

Have you heard about the Shetland MRI scanner appeal? I know from personal experience just how important MRI scans are, since it was inside one of these machines that my stroke was diagnosed nine years ago. Magnetic resonance imaging is an incredibly important diagnostic tool not just for brain injuries, like my stroke, but for…

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Elizabeth’s hands

We’ve just heard that one of Tom’s photographs has been shortlisted in this year’s EEF Manufacturing Photo Competition! The theme of the competition this year is “Made by Britain, Loved by the World” and surely few manufactured products speak better to that theme than Shetland wool? A fibre raised and processed in a particular locale;…

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Shetland Oo: making a book

Hello – it’s Tom here – for a change. Kate is busy working on her Islay project, and I’m taking a break today from shipping out orders. I wanted to say thanks so much for your interest in our Shetland Oo book. Apart from being my first major project as a photographer, Oo is the…

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Gudrun Johnston & Mary Jane Mucklestone

One of the best things about working in the field of hand-knit design is that it really is an industry which abounds with good eggs. In my view, two of the very best eggs around are Gudrun Johnston and Mary-Jane Mucklestone: great friends, talented designers, and Shetland enthusiasts. Gudrun spent her early years in Shetland,…

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sound and vision

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…

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Helen Robertson

If you’ve read my introduction to The Book of Haps then you’ll already have come across Helen Robertson – a Shetland artist and craftswoman whose work I deeply admire. Working with silver wire and other precious materials, Helen has developed a uniquely thoughtful aesthetic which celebrates, commemorates and reflects upon Shetland’s history and heritage –…

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Uradale

One of the really fascinating aspects about our Shetland Oo project has been finding out more about what motivates Shetlanders who work with wool, and what really makes them tick, both personally and politically (because yes, in so many ways wool is political). Ronnie Eunson and Sue White of Uradale farm, near Scalloway, are particularly…

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Shetland Tannery

As part of our work researching and documenting Shetland Oo, this past August, Tom and I met Natalie Cairns-Ratter of the Shetland Tannery. I’d acquired several of Natalie’s beautiful sheepskins on earlier Shetland visits, and was intrigued to learn more about the tanning process, and how her company came about. Small-scale tanning was previously a…

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Ninian

Next week (all being well at the printers) we are hoping to release our new Shetland Oo book! For those who don’t know, this is not a book of patterns, but a documentary project in words and photographs exploring the world of Shetland wool. Tom travelled all over Shetland meeting and photographing Shetlanders who work…

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sprint finish

It has been something of a hectic week here. Tom and I have had our heads down completing our new book, which, all being well, will go to the printers next week. The title we’ve settled on is Shetland Oo: Wool, Textiles Work, and those of you who were keen on the idea of a…

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our current projects

Thanks so much for your feedback on yesterday’s poll! I found the results really interesting and illuminating, but also somewhat troubling, as I wasn’t completely sure that all respondents had a full sense of what Shetland Oo is actually about. We are currently working on two projects. The first, Shetland Oo, marks an interesting departure for us as…

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Home and away

It’s been an interesting (and busy) couple of weeks. Tom has been travelling around Shetland, finalising the photography for our new book, and I’ve been here, at home, working. Without Tom, I’ve a tendency to go a bit feral. I eat whatever happens to be in the cupboard, I leave things lying around with no…

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its the weekend!

Thank you for all your comments on the last post! And especially for the helpful recommendation of water shoes – my dropped foot annoyingly makes many kinds of footwear very tricky to manage (it refuses to walk in any kind of flip-flop or heel-less sandal, for example) so I’d sort of not thought of trying…

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Fair Isle in Whalsay

Are you going to Shetland Wool Week this year? If so, can I strongly suggest you set aside a day in your itinerary for a trip to the wonderful island of Whalsay?. The Whalsay Heritage Centre is currently hosting an exhibition of the island’s fair isle knitting that will, I assure you, really blow your…

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