The Toevakoddi Project

Welcome to The Toevakoddi Project

This art project commemorates all Shetlanders’ payment of rent and tax in wadmal, a wool cloth woven at home and fulled (stabilised and lightly milled) in the sea.

The toevakoddi of the project title is a rocky cleft with suitable wave action where the fulling was traditionally done.  Our art explores the psychological and physical landscape surrounding the community task of processing surprisingly large quantities of cloth for an annual deadline. This is an early ingenious use of wave energy.

Throughout our collaboration we’ve worked at toevakoddies around Shetland, fulling cloth, making ebb art and sketches in various media.  We’ve experienced a sense of wonder in approaching a seemingly anonymous crevice on the shore and in seeing, with the immersion of cloth, both the cloth and the place itself transformed.  The cloth billows and concertinas, seeming to be made of something different entirely, almost alive.  In a live fulling via Skype with Faroese artist Katrina í Geil, we watched the Shetland and Faroese cloth streaming out into the water.  (Faroe was the only other place where cloth was fulled in the sea.)

From these experiences and sketches we have developed installations using  print, video, photographic art, wool cloth and poetry.  Through these media we hope to share something of the atmosphere and significance of the toevakoddi, an environment only just beyond the shore that is linked with lost processes and not quite reachable images of our island past.

Ever present in our minds throughout the project has been the burden of the task on our forebears of processing of the cloth, once essential for survival in Shetland.

Hazel Hughson, Barbara Ridland and Joan Fraser


This project is sponsored by Jamiesons of Shetland, Jamieson & Smith, Laurence Odie Knitwear and Ocean Kinetics.