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To See the World in a Grain of Sand…” - William Blake

Shetland Arts’ beach workshop at St. Ninian’s last week was a huge success, not least because it was a beautiful day and the sun shone throughout - it was more like the Bahamas than Shetland! The workshop was lead by artist Anne Bevan, whose exhibition runs at Bonhoga Gallery and the Pier Store in Lerwick until mid-September, and was funded by Scottish Natural Heritage as part of a Community Action Grant awarded to Shetland Arts for the project.

The workshop, for all ages from 5 to 105, was designed to explore the subject of Anne’s exhibition – unseen (microscopic) organisms present in the marine environment. Those on the workshop were invited to consider the sand beneath their feet, arguably in more depth than they had ever done before. For this Anne was accompanied by Professor Kate Darling, eminent marine bio-geologist, Jen Hadfield, award-winning poet, and a wide collection of microscopes, magnifiers and sampling equipment. Through art, poetry and science children and adults alike were mesmerised, inspired and amazed by the knowledge, insight and imaginations of Anne and her colleagues.

Jane Matthews of Shetland Arts said: “It was a delight to see so many people keen to learn about the unseen natural wonders all around us, and in the company of such a stellar line-up of brilliantly creative minds. We are very grateful to Scottish Natural Heritage for their support in this venture and we are looking forward to hosting more workshops before the close of the exhibition.”

She continued: “Anne’s exhibition takes something microscopic and uses it as a platform from which to consider wider issues or sustainability and existence, and this is what makes it so interesting. The fossilised remains of the microscopic organisms that Anne portrays exist in the oil we depend on for our modern existence, so we have plenty to contemplate.”

Anne is hoping to involve more groups of people in similar workshops towards the close of her show in mid-September, which will be publicised nearer the time.

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