We are looking for the next range of exclusive products for the Shetland Arts shops at Mareel and Bonhoga. In 2021 and early 2022 we provided artists and makers with development funding to create prototypes for new products – these ranged from broch egg cups to handmade enamel brooches, illustrated tea towels and woodblock prints.

The next range of products will be launched in spring 2023 – do you have an idea you’d like to develop?

We want to enable artists and makers to develop prototypes for limited edition products that can be retailed at between £10 and £35 (wholesale £5 to £17.50).

Each successful applicant will receive £500 funding to develop a design that Shetland Arts may commission for a production run, to be sold through our retail outlets.

These can be handmade craft items, or products that are produced by another company from your original designs. The prototypes submitted at the end of the development period should be as close as possible to the finished product. The funding is intended to allow artists and makers the time and additional resources to try new methods or new production processes, in order to develop new revenue streams.

We invite artists and makers in Shetland, or with a strong Shetland connection, that: 

  • Can demonstrate the quality of previous work.

  • Are keen to explore the potential of new production methods.

  • Can design a product to be wholesaled at between £5 to £17.50 per unit.

  • Are happy to grant exclusive rights to Shetland Arts from the date the commission is awarded to 12 months after the product goes on sale. After which you can make the product available through all your usual sources. If we decide not to commission your product for any reason the rights will revert to you immediately.

Shetland Arts will provide: 

  • A payment of £500 to develop a prototype (prototypes must be as close to final production quality as possible)

  • Two group sessions between successful applicants for mutual support.

  • A project initiation and a mid-project meeting with the Shetland Arts retail team to discuss ideas.

Selected artist/makers will have until the end of February to design their product and produce a prototype.

How to apply: 

We aim to make the process as simple as possible and ask for the following in the first stage: 

  • A description of your current or previous work with appropriate images

  • A short statement of how you intend to approach the opportunity – including any initial ideas you might have.

Please use a maximum of two sides of A4 and include some information about yourself as an artist/maker; for example a link to a website, a statement about your work or a CV. We welcome images, drawings and links to recordings or film as part of your submission. 

If you would prefer to submit your proposal by video, please make sure it is no longer than 5 minutes duration and upload via Vimeo or YouTube, protected by a password.  

All applications will be considered by a panel from Shetland Arts and shortlisted candidates may be invited to discuss their proposal further before a final decision is made. 

For any queries or support in composing an application, or if you require this information in an alternative format, please contact us. 

Please send your applications to [email protected] with the subject line ‘Retail Commissions’. All applications to be made by midnight on Sunday 4th December.