Anyone who is in any doubt about the future of art and craft in Shetland needs to get along to the Shetland College Degree Show and End of Year Exhibition. The college has been transformed by the colourful art work which stretches along corridors, meanders in and out of classrooms and flows up and down flights of stairs. It is all testament to the great work which is being done to nurture Shetland’s artistic talent.
The Degree Show consists of the work of two artists: Lynn McCormack and Izabela Delnicka. The vibrant colours of Ms Delnicka’s scarves immediately grab the visitor’s attention; Ms McCormack’s shadowy effects are subtler, but no less powerful. The two markedly different styles complement each other perfectly: this is an exhibition of sunshine and shade.
Both artists cite Shetland as an inspiration. Ms Delnicka’s scarves combine her interest in cultural identity with the bold colours found in Mexican ceramics and floral patterns. She believes that the long, dark Shetland winters have made her more aware of the importance of colour in design. Ms Delnicka explains: “As we struggle to see the ‘joy’ outside in winter, the touch of vivid colours makes things look brighter and more alive”.
Lynn McCormack’s knitted structures explore the world of shadows and “the idea of the seen and unseen.” She adds: “Growing up in Shetland, I’ve always been very aware of light and shade. It’s always fascinated me”.
An air conditioning fan in the corner of the room makes the sparkling, bell like pieces dance and their shadows move with them. The effect is both mesmerising and other worldly.
Asked why she chose to embark on the degree course, Ms McCormack says that she was brought up to be “very practical”. She adds: “This was my chance to get in touch with my creative side. I’ve had three children and I just thought it was time to do something for myself. I’m so glad I did. I’ve been really happy with this course and with the support offered by tutors”.
The End of Year Exhibition was bursting with colourful art work. There are far too many highlights to mention here. You’ll just have to go along and see it for yourself.
The exhibitions are open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 4pm until the 17th of June. Catch it while you can – you have just one week left.