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9 March – 21 April

Many aspects of life in Shetland attract artists, writers and musicians to these shores. The space, quality of light and life, tranquillity and community support are all favourable to those who create for a living, and these elements can often be found reflected in the resulting work.

Shetland Arts is extremely proud to be hosting a major exhibition at Bonhoga next month of work by Rod Kelly MA (R.C.A.), one of the UK’s leading silversmiths. The work on show will range from unique commissions for private collectors to work for the Royal Mint and other major establishments, highlighting the career of such a prestigious figure in the silversmithing world. This is a rare opportunity to showcase such a body of work that has been inspired by Shetland and will be shown alongside preliminary sketches and detailed explanations of his work.

The exhibition coincides with the completion of Rod Kelly’s new workshop and home in Muckle Roe that will become a base for himself and his wife; acclaimed jeweller enameller, Sheila McDonald MA (R.C.A.). Sheila will also be exhibiting at Bonhoga with complementary work in the gallery and also in the Lower Gallery Craft Cabinet.

Fish beaker by Rod kelly

Fish beaker by Rod Kelly

Based in Norfolk for 25 years, Rod has been visiting Shetland over the past nine years managing the construction of his own studio, workshop and house in the north Mainland. The buildings are now complete and being furnished with specialist facilities made in Shetland to his own specification using local craftsmen.

The studio is to be established as an Educational Trust and will provide a base for selected makers to come to Shetland and study under Rod and Sheila’s tutelage. As early as this March a group of young graduate silversmiths and jewellers from the Bishopsland Trust based in England will visit the workshop for a week long project. Work by these makers will be showcased in the Lower Gallery at Bonhoga in September.

Rod said: “Sheila and I have really loved renovating our small croft house over the last nine years. We find the landscape and the environment very inspiring and this had led us to build a workshop next to our house. The exhibition is a celebration of our time in Shetland and the opening of the workshop. Many of the pieces on show have been inspired by our time in Shetland. We plan to have visiting groups of young makers to work with us so that we can pass on some of the skills that we have developed over the last twenty five years. Later in the year we also hope to have other visitors who will complete week long workshops while staying locally and experiencing the beauty that Shetland has to offer. Meanwhile I cannot wait to start my first ever commission that will be started and finished in Shetland.”

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