Art in The Old Haa, Burravoe, Yell, Shetland

Art in The Old Haa, Burravoe, Yell, Shetland

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.



So much of life today is designed to be disposable. As someone who regularly visits the coast and beaches, the evidence for this throwaway society is sadly often to see.

I feel it is really important to re-cycle where possible. I do this in my daily life and try to reduce the amount of waste we throw out, and its no different in my artwork.

In 2014 I won an environmental award for the garden I built, around our home, which is open to the public to visit. It has a strong theme of recycling, and I used various objects such as tyres, pallets, kerb stones, re-used slabs, plants from skips, net and wine bottles to create areas of interest.

I carry this through to my work, and am delighted to use discarded pieces off wood to paint in. I collect up bags of ‘firewood’ from a local company and discover off cuts of fantastic wood such as solid oak.

Even my work desk is reclaimed – it is actually an old door fixed to a small desk! It’s great and gives me a perfect large workspace. It would have made no sense to throw it out and spend hundreds of pounds on a new desk when it works perfectly.

Although lots of my work features repurposed items, my most well known re-cycled artwork is possibly my re-used scaffolding boards, which are simply large chunky planks of wood which get dumped periodically to comply with various health and safety rules. I re-use them, cut them up and paint onto the raw wood, which has an even more interesting texture when it is marked, chipped or gouged into. Surely a smooth canvas would be pretty boring in comparison.