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The First Noel the angels did sing….’  Well Shetland Arts cannot always supply singing angels but ‘Noel’ is the title for the Christmas exhibition at Bonhoga Gallery, Weisdale, which runs from 21 November – 23 December 2009.  The preview is on Friday 20 November at 7.30 pm and a warm welcome is extended to all come along and join us in a mince pie and glass of mulled wine.  As in previous years the show features affordable art and craft, by over 60 artists and makers, all priced under £100.

The gallery walls display a range of disciplines - paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and paper cuts; textiles and mixed media work, all in unframed A5 format, by over 25 local artists, allowing a rare opportunity to buy a piece of Shetland art that you can then mount and frame in your own style.  This is also a great chance to send Shetland artwork through the post as Christmas gifts without the worry of broken glass and damaged frames.  Work from emerging artists Jono Sandilands, Chloe Garrick and Samantha Jack hangs alongside pieces by Gail Harvey, Peter Davis and Mike Finnie.

You can never have too many handbags!  This year you buy an indulgent handbag printed on a fabric shopper and you get a great bag that can help ‘save the planet’.  These bags make a charming gift or why not a pre-Christmas treat for you.

The passion for badges that is sweeping the nation is reflected by Megan Price’s jigsaw pieces while initial badges from Showpony can be used to label and decorate your Christmas parcels.

There is some fine wood-turning by Bert Marsh: exquisite bowls in birch, maple and rosewood.  Also in wood, but in a different genre, is a range of humorous automata by Neil Hardy - known as Neil Hardy’s fabulous animals.  Stunning modern glass and ceramics in a variety of styles, appear alongside contemporary work that features nostalgic 1950s graphics contrasting with the simplicity of Sue Candy’s blue and white square pieces.

Painted silk scarves by Pamela Rawlinson and knitted silk and printed wool scarves by Joanne Edden.  can add colour to a Christmas outfit or warmth when sledging or building that snowman.  Wearable art somehow never seems such an indulgence.

And finally, the Bonhoga Christmas exhibition would not be complete without the usual wonderful array of jewellery.  Acrylic, aluminium, wire with pearls and gemstones, Perspex, glass, silver and resin feature in pieces elaborate and ornamental, minimalist and quirky.  The jewellery is innovative, exciting, and covetable and just what you need to treat yourself as well or wrap up pretty and place beneath the tree.  The art deco era influences Lorraine Gibby’s work while Shauna Sturrock’s pieces have a contemporary, yet Victorian, feel.  Sarah Keay, a former resident at The Booth who worked with secondary school pupils in Shetland, has produced a bright, colourful range of ‘funky’ jewellery for Christmas.  Sarah’s work is becoming very collectable and this will be a good opportunity for jewellery collectors to acquire a piece while prices are still affordable.

So, be you in benevolent or decadent mood, come to Bonhoga and be enchanted by our tempting array of Christmas treats – then reward yourself with home bakes and a marshmallow laden hot chocolate in the Mill Cafe.

The exhibition runs until 23 December and, as usual, with the Christmas show, work can be removed before the exhibition ends so that parcels can be wrapped and posted.  Bonhoga Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday 10.30 – 4.30 and on Sundays from noon until 4.30.

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