Sunday 10 October 2010

Trip to Shetland

Last week I spent two days on the beautiful Shetland Islands, it was business but just as much pleasure!
I flew (got blown) up to Sumburg from Aberdeen in a tiny two prop plane early on Tuesday morning and driven over the runway and up through the main island to Weisdale, home of Shetland Jewellery. After a tour around their workshop and showroom I chatted to the staff and makers and learnt a lot about how a jewellery workshop of that style runs, quite different to my own wee business but I have come away inspired with lots of useful ideas on how I can improve the running of my own practice. Then I visited the companies shop in Lerwick, J G Rae's, and had a nice wee walk about the town, I particularly liked all the tiny wee streets and sandy inlets near the harbour.

That evening I was treated to some home cooked fresh Shetland salmon, yum! On Wednesday after another morning in the workshop I had lunch at the Weisdale Mill (more salmon!), which houses the Bonhoga Gallery, unfortunately it was in between exhibitions but I had a good root around their very well stocked shop! Then back to Lerwick for an afternoon in the Shetland Museum, I could have easily spent the whole day in there! There was lots about the geology of the islands and early life which I love learning about and the next morning (with my hangover from the Lounge) I managed to squeeze in a visit to Clickhimin Broch to experience one of these early settlements for real.

Outside the Shetland Gallery there is an interesting installation called the Shetland Receivers which is made up of four dishes on posts made from local materials each containing a speaker which plays clips of conversation, sound and music recorded in Shetland or sourced from the Shetland Archives. An anemometer controls the recordings so that on a calm day long sections of the clips can be heard and on a really windy day the clips merge into one another. There are also lights on top that illuminate a box of shetland wool blue and turn on and off in response to the wind speed.

I didn't take many photos of this as it started raining pretty hard so I had to hide in a pub :)

I met loads of brilliant folk, saw some crazy Norwegian accordion playing and found a place I loved and know will visit again, topped off with a drive back to Sumburg in the most glorious sunshine and the most thorough search at an airport I've ever had!