Shetland Arts’ International Textile Festival programme released

26 Jun 2013 in Shetland, Visual Arts & Crafts

The full programme for Shetland Arts’ International Textile Festival has now been released and features a number of events for the public including a knitting conference, a textile art exhibition at Bonhoga Gallery plus talk, an opportunity to meet Shetland textile artists and craftmakers, textile-related tours around Shetland, a participative group knitting project, knitting workshops, and textile exhibitions at Shetland Museum & Archives, ASF Shetland, Shetland Textile Museum, and Unst Heritage Centre.


In the Loop 3.5: Making Connections is a knitting conference that takes place from 31 July to 2 August, exploring the contemporary potential of knitting with a strong Nordic theme. At the conference participants will hear speakers who are experts in the field of textiles, including artists, curators, designers, knitters, theorists, and historians. In the Loop 3.5 is the fourth in a series of acclaimed knitting conferences initiated and led by Linda Newington from the University of Southampton Library, this year run in collaboration with Shetland Arts. The price to attend the whole conference is £75, and day packages are available for £15 for day 1, and £30 for days 2 and 3. Places can be booked via Shetland Box Office and the conference is open to anyone interested in attending.


Saturday 3 August will see the public opening of Lighten, an exhibition of textile art at Bonhoga Gallery by a group of ten textile artists from Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, exhibiting along with two Shetland artists. Interested members of the public are invited to attend the opening which runs from 11am-1pm, and/or to visit the exhibition which runs from 3 August to 15 September. There will also be a gallery talk by artist Bente Saetrang on Saturday 3 August from 1-1.30pm. Bente is a well known Norweigian textile artist who specialises in printing on fabric. All events at Bonhoga are free to attend and all are welcome.


Also on Saturday 3 August is Meet Shetland Textiles – a drop-in, free to attend, textile networking afternoon. Come along to the Upper Cafe Bar in Mareel from 2 -5.30pm and meet textile artists and craftmakers living and working in Shetland. A unique chance to meet with and find out all about the amazing textile work going on in Shetland. The textile artists available to meet on the day are: Emma Blain, Julia Downing, Ella Gordon, Margaret Hamilton, Wendy Inkster, Barbara Isbister, Jo Jack, Pearl Johnson, Elizabeth Johnson, Niela Kalra, Wilma Malcolmson, Roxane Permar, Barbara Ridland, Helen Robertson, Hilary Seatter, Wendy Shaw, Suzanne Shearer, Nan Smith, Hazel Tindall, Andrea Williamson, and Julie Williamson.


Textile enthusiasts can also look forward to the opportunity to join two ‘Textile Tours’ on Monday 5 August – one to the West of Shetland exploring open studios and textile centres, from NielaNell and Laurence Odie Knitwear to Jamieson’s Spinning Mill, and one to the North of Shetland inlcuding a special visit to the Unst Heritage Centre for a lace knitting exhibition. Both tours will go on sale via Shetland Box Office soon.


Shetland Arts is also looking for local knitters to sign up to take part in Own Our Own Time, a participative outdoor knitting circle project taking place on Thursday 1 August. Basic knitting skills are required. Own Our Own Time will take place at the Shetland Textile Museum at the Bod of Gremista on Thursday 1 August from 6-8pm. Anyone interested in taking part is asked to email


Knitters can also attend a drop-in afternoon of Swedish 2 ended knitting at Shetland Textile Museum on Saturday 3 August from 2pm (participants are asked to bring size 2.5 or 3 needles), or take part in an Estonian Knitting workshop in Mareel’s Green Room on Wednesday 31 July led by Kait Lubja (places will go on sale soon).


A number of exhibitions across Shetland will also play a part in the festival: a Nordic themed exhibition of contemporary textiles by Shetland College Students being shown at Shetland Museum & Archives during July and August, an international textile collection being exhibited at ASF Shetland (Ann Sutton Foundation, Sellafirth, Yell) in July and August, a Nordic Textiles exhibition at Shetland Textile Museum running from May to October, and a lace knitting exhibition at Unst Heritage Centre from May to September.


The Living Lerwick Fair Isle Festival & Street Market will also get involved with textile window displays and a Fair Isle knitwear-wearing bike ride from 4 – 11 August.


Shetland Arts’ Marketing Officer, Lisa Ward, said: “Textiles have long been important to Shetlanders, and the International Textile Festival aims to explore their contemporary potential and future in relation to the wider world, particularly the Nordic countries. We’ve already had lots of interest and we expect, with the launch of the full programme of activities, we’ll see even more people getting involved.”


Shetland Arts’ International Textile Festival has a strong Nordic theme and will cover the broad activity of textiles; including art, knitting, design, education, and business. More information about the International Textile Festival and its associated events can be found at

Source: Shetland Arts