visits and exhibitions

I am very lucky that I get to do things that I know other people would love to do, I am a trustee of the Shetland Textile Museum and this year along with another trustee Cushla, who also works at the ‘big’ Museum I visited the archives of the Shetland Museum. The purpose of the visit was to see if there was anything we wanted to borrow for the Textile Museums exhibition this year. Somehow.. I am organising what is going into the exhibition.. ordinarily this would terrify me (it still does a peerie bit..) but after choosing a lot of the items and having (I think) a strong reference point I’m not nearly as unsure as I was.


When I was at the Shetland College in 2nd year I chose to do my knit unit about the Oil Boom era in Shetland in the late 1970’s and 80’s. The photo above was one of my starting points, my Mam went to the Janet Courtney Hostel in Lerwick when she attended the Anderson High. My favourite thing is all the Ganseys and again this has been one of my starting points for the exhibition which we have decided to call ‘oil/knitting: shetland knitting in the oil boom’ Anyone who reads my blog knows I love this era, which is evident in the amount of times i’ve mentioned this book.. I think it is such an appropriate link since Shetland is currently going through another Oil Boom of such with the building of the Gas Plant at Sullom Voe. I was lucky to find someone with some great colour (the only thing missing from the Tom Kidd book) pictures from the time in my project at college and Douglas has gracefully allowed me to use his photos again in this exhibition.

photo credit: Douglas Young
photo credit: Douglas Young

ANYWAY! so me and Cushla visited the store on Monday. Since the Textile Museum is an accredited UK museum we are able to borrow pieces from other museums. I think I have a good selection from the Bod collection but there were some gaps! I took some pictures of the things we looked at, I didn’t choose them all because although from the era some didn’t give the vibe I’m going for, in the 70s and 80s there was quite a 70’s/80’s does 40’s thing happening along with the kind of thing I’m looking, which I have seen myself in my vintage clothes buying (shock, horror, not) so a bit too vintage looking but I still think it’s all interesting to see what was being made in Shetland at that time.

IMG_2169 IMG_2163
IMG_2150 IMG_2146 IMG_2141 IMG_2135 IMG_2125 IMG_2122

The exhibition at the Bod opens on the 15th of May, Ill be sure to take some pictures and show you what else I chose from the collections.

Speak Soon. x

10 thoughts on “visits and exhibitions

  1. I love old class pictures, too. I’m curious as to how this picture came to be colorized. It’s obviously a black & white original. Did people wearing Fair Isle sweaters go to the museum later to tell them what colors they wore?

    1. No I coloured it in myself, I can’t remember if it was photoshop, or an online tool but the colours are the original, then I made the black and white. It’s a coloured photo of Mams. :)

  2. So interesting! Those last few jumpers are beautiful. And I love the Photoshopping you did of the class. :)

  3. Super post and super photos, I feel it is so important to convey the evolving nature of Fair Isle knitting, and you did so well!

  4. It’s great to read about your process exploring the oil boom, and Shetland fashion/textile history in relation to it. Love the rich selection you’ve got here – what a wide variety. When is the exhibition on?

  5. I always look forward to your blog. Loved reading about the oil boom ( it was also effecting my home town in Norway) and as always I love seeing the Stranded Knits made by islanders. Gorgeous! I’d love to check out all the knits at the museum.

  6. Lovely sweaters, I recognise that bottom one from the Shetland Textiles book. Interesting what you say about the vintage revival of the 70s/80s, I’ve got a Vogue knitting book which is very much 1980s does vintage, doubly fascinating now that the 1980s has become vintage in its turn. I wonder if you could trace any similarities between the two times and their interest in vintage.

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