Shetland Wool Week 2013 Line-up Announced

by Misa Hay -

The varied and extensive line up for the 2013 Wool Week festival has been announced this week, and includes master classes and events with well-known local and international knitters and designers.

Now in its fourth year, Shetland Wool Week is a celebration of Britain's most northerly native sheep, Shetland's textile industries and rural farming communities. Organised by a committee of local public, private and voluntary organisations, this community led event has a world-wide following, and attracts ever increasing numbers of wool and knitting enthusiasts to the isles every year.

Guest patron of this year's event is Felicity Ford, who, in addition to her work with "Wovember" is also an accomplished sound artist and textile designer. Felicity's workshops and lectures will include a focus on the "sounds of Shetland sheep", inviting participants to "listen" to Shetland wool.

Felicity will be joined by Tom Van Deijnen, otherwise known as "Tom of Holland" for selected events.  Tom is perhaps best known for his Visible Mending Programme (VMP), where he uses darning, patching and weaving techniques to give a new lease of life to damaged or over-loved garments.  Also on the bill for this year's event, is international designer and teacher, Di Gilpin, who has recently been awarded The Balvenie Master of Craft award for the Textiles Category for 2012. Di's work brings hand knitting to the fashion world, and her 30 years of teaching experience brings something special to her workshops.

Well-known local designers and knitters will also be providing a range of courses and events for aspiring Fair Isle and lace knitters, spinners, weavers and dyers.  The Hoswick Visitor Centre has an astonishing array of events planned through the week with Niela Nell Kalra and Elizabeth Johnston; Jamieson and Smith (Shetland Wool Brokers) Ltd will open their shop daily for lessons with Hazel Tindall, Mary Henderson and Mary Kay, to name a few; with additional events taking place throughout Shetland, including: Unst Heritage Centre, ASF Shetland, Whalsay Heritage Centre, Shetland Museum and Archives, Shetland Textile Museum and Shetland College. 

This year's event kicks off on Monday 7th October with open studios, exhibitions, tours and workshops in knitting, spinning and dyeing; and continuing through the week.  A full programme of events is available at www.shetlandwoolweek.com and a printed programme will be available from mid-May from local outlets, or to download from the website.

A further addition to this year's Wool Week, is the North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference, which will be held over four days at the end of the festival. The Conference is an international project held annually in venues in the North Atlantic region. The aim of these conferences is to bring together beneficiaries and stakeholders in native sheep and wool production to collaborate, and develop new projects and initiatives. Holding the conference in different venues throughout the North Atlantic each year allows the host area to highlight initiatives and challenges in their own area.

Previous meetings have been held in Orkney, UK (2011) and Hordaland, Norway (2012). The 2013 Conference has a theme of sustainability and the line-up of speakers and topics reflects this.   

Speakers confirmed for the event are: Karin Flatøy Svarstad, Dr Ólafur R Dýrmundsson, June Hall, Deborah Robson and Dana Macphee.  Local speakers include Dr Carol Christiansen, Ronnie Eunson, Jim Nicolson, Lyall Halcrow and Lord Lieutenant Bobby Hunter.  

Bookings for Wool Week events and the Conference will be available through Shetland Box Office from Monday 29th April, unless otherwise stated in the programme details.  For further details on Shetland Wool Week or the North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference, please contact the relevant person as listed below.