Art in The Old Haa, Burravoe, Yell, Shetland
It’s been a few weeks since I last posted, I hope you’re all having a lovely summer so far? Summer is traditionally a quiet time for me, art wise, due to being a busy time for the chalets.
However, we’ve been busy nonetheless. In May the Fine Arts Shetland group held its first exhibition of work, at the Old Haa museum in Burravoe, Yell.
Originally built in 1672 for merchant Robert Tyrie, the Old Haa has a rich history and fittingly now houses the community museum, displaying information on local history including information on the whaling years, local shipwrecks and collections on natural history, genealogy and a picture and sound archive.
The Fine Art Group’s exhibition went really well and there were even some sales! This was the first time I had been to the Haa, and I loved it. There’s a tearoom and a lovely outdoor space, so it’s well worth a visit if you’re at a loose end in Yell.
I’ve requested a solo exhibition there, possibly for 2018, so fingers crossed for that! If I’m successful I aim to plan a Yell themed exhibition, using mixed media and local materials – there is fantastic sparkly sand to be found at the island’s East Sandwick beach, for example.
As I come from an island, Whalsay, I tend to look at other islands in comparison. When you live on a small island you get to know every corner of them, becoming familiar with every geo and the unique shape of the coastline; and there are many differences between Yell and Whalsay: Yell has some fantastic huge sandy beaches to enjoy. What are your favourite beaches? I’d love to know.
Shetland Arts & Crafts Association
As of April 2017, Sarah Kay Arts is now a full member of the Shetland Arts & Crafts Association!
To become a member, artwork must be submitted and examined for their quality assurance assessments. I submitted five pieces, which passed with a score of 90%. This is great news and I’m very pleased to have been accepted.
This means I can now use the Association logo, and will be featured in their annual catalogue. I also have the option to be include in the popular craft trail, and will have a page on their website.
The Association are behind the very popular annual craft fair in Shetland, held at the Clickimin centre. This has become a huge event for the arts and crafts world in Shetland, and dates are now booked for 10th-12th November 2017.
Beachcombing – Challister, Whalsay
My favourite hobby, if you hadn’t guessed already, is beachcombing.
This probably started when I was a child, at “the Bug”, the local name for the small beach just below our family home at Challister, in Whalsay, where I grew up. It’s a special beach to me.
On this small section of shore line there was everything you could hope to find – fine sand, rough sand, shell sand, whelk beds, rock pools for finding small fish, crabs, sea urchins, shells and unusual shaped stones of every size.
There are unusual yellow coloured shells and some with stripes not found on many Shetland beaches. These is a larger pool of water affectionately known as ‘the crabby hole’ which offered unlimited play time for my mum and her siblings when growing up.
It was also where I found not one, but 3 messages in bottles as a child! The one which had travelled furthest was from Newfoundland, Canada, and had been sent by a boy who was the same age as me at the time. He had sent it while on a fishing trip with his dad, which I found out when I wrote to him from the address in the bottle.
The Bug is definitely one of my favourite beaches. It is hidden away, but worth a visit as it has unusual shells which I use for my artwork.
2017 is already shaping up to be an exciting year, work wise. I got some exciting news recently with the offer of a brilliant opportunity from Northlink ferries: I have been selected to have my artwork displayed onboard one of their ferries!
The Hrossey is one of two passenger ships which sails between Shetland, Aberdeen and Orkney. Footfall on the ferries is huge, so this is a fantastic opportunity for my artwork to be seen. Passengers on a trip to Shetland can sdpend up to 12 hours onboard, so there should be plenty of time to view the work!
The area for display is spacious and well lit, with lots of natural light from the windows opposite the wall. There is space for 8-9 pieces, and the size of the exhibit allows me to try out different techniques, exploring my interest in mosaics and mixed media.
The opportunity does pose a challenge, however, in that the brief for the work is an Orkney theme. (Hrossey’s sister ship, the Hjaltland, is showcasing Shetland).
So, I made a quick trip south to collect reference materials, photos, shells, sands, sea glass and sea pottery from around Orkney.
The islands have stunning landscape, as does Shetland, so I am keen to promote that and not necessarily focus on the well known tourist sites, as there are lots of interesting places throughout the isles.
The exhibition is up!. I’d love to hear what you think if you get a chance to see it!
Beachcombing – Evie, Orkney
Beachcombing is one of my favourite pastimes; you never know what you will find.
While on a beach combing trip to Orkney recently I decided to go to explore a new spot. I came across the beach of Evie, which is a large sandy beach.
It had a corrugated pattern in the sand and was very clean. At first glance, you would think there was nothing much there, but taking a closer look I noticed small shiny shells peeping through the sand.
Two hours later I was still there, addicted to collecting! I found one sought after groatie buckie. There were shells with shapes and colours I have never seen before, and all on a beach which looked unpromising. What a great afternoon. I will definitely use these finds when making future mosaic pieces of artwork.