Share this Post

Portage: Finger Symbols from Shetland Arts on Vimeo. Film by Jono Sandilands

Vicki Ambery-Smith
Vicki Ambery-Smith

7 August – 5 September 2010, incorporating the following talks and workshops with jeweller Alison Macleod:

  • Binding Memories Workshop – 14 August
  • Laminating Jewellery Workshop – 15 August
  • My Work and Influences: Artist Talk – 17 August
Shetland Arts’ Bonhoga Gallery is celebrating finger adornment with its new exhibition for August. Finger Symbols, the second show in the Portage trilogy, featuring contemporary jewellery for the hands by both established and emerging makers, using inspirational and imaginative materials and methods of making. An invitation is extended to everyone attend the exhibition preview at 7.30 pm on Friday 6 August.

During 2008, Shetland Arts was awarded curatorial and programme development funding from the Scottish Arts Council to research and develop ideas for the exhibition of contemporary craft in Shetland. Two years of research has resulted in the curation of three exhibitions to be held during 2010 at Bonhoga Gallery.

Nora Fok
Nora Fok

A circle is the perfect expression of infinity, continuity and connection; no beginning and no end; no turns or corners in between. The hole in the centre of the ring symbolises the gateway or door leading to things and events both known and unknown. With rings, lovers and wedded couples pledged their faith; kings and popes exercised their power; noblemen displayed their lineage, and merchants marked their goods. More than 200 rings by over 50 international jewellers can be viewed in this intriguing exhibition. Gemstones sit alongside silicone; records and cards are transformed into jewellery; and a ring depicting Venice can adorn a finger.

Fingertip ornaments, two fingered rings and decorative pieces that sit between the fingers as well as more conventional rings that suggest tradition, myth, and symbolism are on show. Mary Smith who has curated this exhibition, writes, ‘I have become fascinated by rings: their history, social importance and power; how they signify wealth, love, and loyalty to a sect or secret society; a statement of one’s individuality or merely enjoyed as objects of beauty. Unobtrusive, personal and enigmatic; rings still speak to us in a language that defies time.’

Rings from across the world are exhibited in a simple and minimalist way while others are displayed in window installations by Mike Finnie. The work sits alongside a specially commissioned film by Jono Sandilands and photographs by Chloe Garrick: both recent graduates who have returned to work in Shetland. The pure simplicity of Chloe’s photographs contrasts with the abstract adventures of the rings captured on film by Jono Sandilands that can be viewed on the Shetland Arts website (URL TBC) after 6 August. This is Shetland Arts’ first online exhibition – albeit an intriguing one!

Michael Berger rings
Michael Berger rings

An exhibition catalogue, in DVD format, featuring information on the makers, commissioned essays and a copy of the film will compliment the exhibition. This can be purchased to use with the downloadable education pack.

Alison Macleod, a Glasgow based jeweller, will visit Shetland to talk on My Work and Influences at Bonhoga Gallery on Tuesday 17 August at 7pm. Alison will also hold a CPD session at Bonhoga Gallery on Monday 16 August.

Workshops with jewellers have been a feature of previous Bonhoga exhibitions and Alison will use binding, sewing and riveting techniques to combine precious and found objects to create large sculptural rings.  Another workshop will be held on creating jewellery by collage, repetition, layering and folding flat paper elements into sculptural bracelets, brooches and rings. The workshops will be held on 14 and 15 August in the learning room at Shetland Museum and Archives.  The workshops can be booked through Shetland Box Office on 01595 745 555.

Bonhoga Gallery is open 10.30 – 4.30 Tuesday to Saturday and noon to 4.30 on Sundays.

Contact Shetland Arts for more information

Related Posts


With your continuing support, we can do more.

Find Out More

Sign up to our mailing list

Find out about the latest news by email.

Find Out More

Become a Member

Go further by becoming a member to receive discounts and deals.

Find Out More

Shetland Arts Venues