Opening in September - this exhibition will be in the Upper Café Bar and will be open during Mareel’s normal opening hours.

Erien Withouck is a Belgian visual artist based in Brussels. In 2022 she started a long-term artistic research project studying old plant-based practices and rituals including natural textile dying methods used across Europe.

In February 2023, Erien spent a week in Shetland, delivering workshops in Mareel and six primary schools: Ollaberry, Sound, Brae, Sandness, Whiteness & Happyhansel, as part of Creative Sustainable Futures.

The young artists explored natural plant dyes and produced printed textile patches using oak gall ink* made by Erien.

After the workshops, Erien returned to Belgium with all the printed textiles to make wall hangings. Each hanging represents a different workshop and each patch is made by one of the young artists involved in the project.

*Oak gall ink has been used as a pigment since the fourth century as is what manuscripts were commonly written with in the Middles Ages and Renaissance. It is made using oak galls that can be found on foliage and twigs, produced by small oak gall wasps.