The Gunnister Man exhibition may have closed at the Museum and returned to Edinburgh but his influence lives on in the Focus Display exhibition cabinet upstairs until February 2010. The Gman project is a collaborative response to the subject of Gunnister Man led by artist and designer Deirdre Nelson. The project involved eight textile makers, a woodworker and a jeweller, who were selected by Shetland Arts in proportion to the materials in the grave find; wools, wood and metal. They were invited to share their ideas during a series of group research meetings and to use the discussion to inspire their thinking. The unresolved mystery of the man’s identity was the platform for creating new work or processes, based on identity through personal possessions.
The exhibition is sophisticated and wildly imaginative, with a broad range of ideas, materials and finished objects on display. It has succeeded in showcasing the craftmaking process and the commercial value of craft. Further product development into the commercial realm is now a real possibility.
To allow the public to dip into the thoughts of the makers and to reinforce the message that craft is about thinking as well as making, an audio work accompanies the exhibition, featuring interviews with each of the craftmakers, in which they discuss their inspiration and the process of forming their ideas and distilling them into their work. Hazel Hughson, Craft Development Officer for Shetland Arts said, ‘…the public never usually gets to see the majority of work behind a new product, which is carried out before anything is actually made. Craft is said to be a process of 60% thinking and 40% making. This display highlights the design stages and thought processes our craft makers have gone through showing how, as the research deepens, product designs are adjusted or, in some cases, completely changed.”
The exhibition continues until February 2010. View photos of the exhibition