We design and deliver helpful, and sometimes challenging, projects and opportunities for both the short and long-term development of craftmakers and the work they design and create in Shetland.
Craft is understood as an area of the contemporary arts which crosses over into applied arts, sculpture and fine art, through the creative use of craft techniques and materials.
Craft in Shetland represents a broad range of activity, abilities and technologies and is now recognised as more than an object or product based activity. We focus on enhancing skills, exploring materials, improving design and process, and helping with marketing and exhibition.
Support and advice
To continue the development of craft-making we provide advisory meetings on product development, design and creative development, with individual makers, designers and applied artists working at all levels, as well as those working commercially as full-time or part-time designer makers.
We encourage and assist craft groups such as the Shetland Arts & Crafts Association and Text-Isles, meeting with students and recent graduates to provide information on marketing and developing their practice in the creative industry in Shetland.
Through cross artform joint projects we can enable artists to find workspace: Currently a temporary studio space in Lerwick is being shared by seven artists and makers.
Workshops and skills development
When funding allows, we deliver occasional weekend workshops in all areas of Shetland led by professional designers or craft-makers, advertised in the local press for public involvement. We carry out evaluations at all events. We also deliver occasional artist led workshops to Art & Design students, in collaboration with Shetland College, to share skills or the experience of working in a creative profession, particularly when artists and designers visit Shetland.
Making connections and networking
We develop projects and extend opportunities for Shetland-based designers and makers, living and working at a distance from major exhibitions and markets.
We connect with organisations and groups outwith Shetland, like Creative and Cultural Skills.
The background to Shetland Arts contemporary craft development
Shetland Arts Trust developed the contemporary application of Indigenous Shetland Craft from 2002- 2006, under a far sighted Scottish Arts Council initiative, the only area in Scotland to do this. The indigenous crafts were defined as the crafts which had developed continuously in Shetland, such as textiles, woodworking and basketmaking. Since 2006, all craft areas are being developed but within the Creative Scotland definition of craft as “creative work conceived, designed and made by individuals” excluded from craft development are building crafts, graphic design, restoration craft, and assemblages of bought-in components and kits.
Visit www.shetlandartsandcrafts.co.uk and take a moment to browse through the products of Shetland’s uniquely gifted craftsmen and women.