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Media release:

Textiles take over Shetland Arts’ Bonhoga Gallery with the new exhibition, entitled Reaching Across by Cambridge based artist Jennifer Talbot, previewing on Friday 20 March at 7.30 pm and running until 19 April 2009. Everyone is welcome to attend the opening and meet the artist.

Jennifer Talbot was born in Tanzania, brought up in London, and spent several years teaching in the Caribbean. She has studied and taught textiles and taught archaeological textiles, and continues to teach on a freelance basis. She originally trained as a geographer and this sparked a lifelong fascination with landscape; and although she has worked in, and travelled to, far-flung destinations, it is those places closer to home that continue to capture her imagination.

Her work is abstract, inspired by landscape and light, using a variety of fibres such as wool, silk and flax to produce fine, almost transparent, felt. Then she stitches into this fabric by hand, adding fragments of photographs, dyed cords and silver or copper wire.

The work complements the gallery space being deeply rooted in a sense of place. She responds to the archaeology of the islands by incorporating prehistoric inscriptions, runes and symbols in the work. ‘I am also drawn to the wild bare lands of Britain’s Celtic Fringe; barren, exposed and thinly populated, these are places ‘on the edge’’, says the artist, ‘There are traces of an ancient past; standing stones chambered cairns, Neolithic villages and passage graves littler the landscape.’

In 2005 Jennifer spent time at The Booth, the artist living space in Scalloway. She has returned several times working on a series of large pieces inspired by Shetland light and landscape. The new work uses the natural colours of Shetland wool combined with silk and flax to make almost transparent hangings. In 2007 Jennifer spent two weeks experimenting on a large Shima Seiko knitting machine at Shetland College. She used 1 ply wool to produce lengths of lace-like knitting. Back in her she studio the artist treated the knitting with dye, ink, wax and varnish before using it in the felt and hand stitched pieces. This she has incorporated into some of the work in this show.

Jennifer also makes talisman pieces for which she uses found objects scavenged on walks – fossils, bones, weathered glass and shells all worked with dyes covered in metal foils or bound with threads and combined with other elements made with fabric and stitch. ‘We are delighted to be showing Jennifer’s work at Bonhoga. Work by the artist is held in public and private collections and for all those with an interest in textiles this should prove to be an inspiring show' said Shetland Arts’ Curator, Mary Smith.

Bonhoga Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday 10.30 – 4.30 and on Sunday 12.00 to 4.30.

Further information: Bonhoga Gallery 01595745750


Notes to Editors

Shetland Arts Development Agency will receive £156,803 from the Scottish Arts Council towards the cost of foundation funding for 2008/09 to support its role in promoting and developing the arts in Shetland and assisting individual practitioners to achieve their creative potential.

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