Saturday 13 September - Sunday 26 OctoberPublic opening: Saturday 13 September 2014, 11am – 1pm Meet Your Maker event: 11-12 OctoberJen Deschenes is a textile designer specialising in hand screen-printing and embroidery. While collections of her work have featured at Bonhoga in past years Shetland Arts is proud to be presenting Jen’s solo exhibition Common Thread at the Gallery from this Saturday, 13 September, until 26 October.
Jen’s work is intricate and exquisite with a strong narrative at its core, drawing on Shetland traditions and her own personal histories. Born in Shetland and raised in Whalsay Jen’s Shetland roots are at the heart of her work.
Jen studied Textiles at Glasgow School of Art and the Royal College of Art and is now based in the Highlands. Her collections often involve reworking vintage fabrics, clothes and ephemera and always have a narrative at their core. Her use of drawing in her work is very important as a means of expressing this, taking inspiration particularly from old books of drawings of boats belonging to her grandfather.
Of the work in her exhibition Jen explains, “I have created a narrative, a visual story, a love story using the feminine medium of textiles but speaking of fishing, man and the sea. I have made a series of bed-jackets, stockings and knickers mainly using haute couture embroidery, traditional embroidery, hand screen-printing, digital printing, silk painting and hand dying techniques.”
In the Lower Gallery is an equally evocative narrative portrayal of Shetland by Judith Yarrow, a painter and bookmaker based in the south of England. Her work for this exhibition, The Booth, The Box and The Book relates to her time spent in an autumnal Shetland. Her paintings and prints are inspired by walking in the remote landscape and her elaborate books reflect on the St. Ninian’s Treasure and her own collections of found objects.
Both exhibitions offer fascinating interpretations of Shetland - physically and historically - complementing each other beautifully and providing a perfect continuation to the 20th anniversary programme at Bonhoga. Both exhibitions open on Saturday 13 September and everyone is welcome to come along and meet the artists from 11am -1pm. Jen will also be participating in the Craft Scotland Meet Your Maker event at the Gallery on 11-12 October. This will form part of Craft Scotland’s flagship campaign to connect craft makers at work with the public. Following on from the successful event with Bill Brown in June, Jen will be demonstrating her techniques and processes in the gallery throughout the weekend. Again, everyone is welcome.