Artist Statements

Artist Statements


Hazel Hughson:  Artist Statement

My artwork is an installation of Shetland cloth, coloured and used as a medium to visualise cloth currency, through new structures based on scale, quantities, measurements and land values.

Ideas developed from experiencing previously unknown toevakkodi processes and exploring documents that record details of known amounts of cloth, owed by named Shetland townships.

At precarious sea fullings recreated at toevakoddies with reinvented previously unknown rock attachments for cloths subjected to the sea, tides, and rock surfaces; ordinary cloth becomes something other than a source of comfort and warmth. Valued in units of currency, it connects back from the sea to the land values that made it. Then it is measured, collected, and shipped by sea from Shetland in unknown forms of packs and cargoes.

The absence of defined images of Shetland cloth currency gave me freedom to imagine cloth structure as rent or tax, and to visualise payments from small rents and ledgers to substantial cargoes.

This led me to imagine ways to bring a new presence of cloth to the gallery.


Barbara Ridland:  Artist Statement    

Toil and Movement

My artwork is a sequence of four photographic installations.

To evoke people at work and the tumult of water and cloth at the toevakoddi I used my whole body to engage in performance: using gesture, resistance and movement. Taking a risk, I allowed myself to be led by the environment, the process and material rather than being in constant control. 

I have used flashes of colour against dense darks to intimate the survival of human resilience in the midst of oppression. The body may be overwrought but the spirit prevails.

Sketching, I used photographic multi-layers, photo-montage carried out in the camera, to communicate the energy and interconnectedness of the physical and psychological environment of the tovakoddi. A palimpsest of the activity of centuries.

The fourth installation of photographs was shot from a place on the rocks when the fulling process was complete. They reflect a fuller understanding of the elements involved. Finally, in an imaginative written exchange, the toevakoddi is allowed to speak for itself. 

Graphics in collaboration with Jono Sandilands.


Joan Fraser: Artist Statement

I’ve had the feeling, in approaching this subject, of trying to touch a thing that’s just beyond my reach.  Aspects of a way of life are lost to communal memory, just as the flooding tide drowns the contours of the ebb.  The wadmal, product of the land, has its constitution changed by the water.  Boundaries blur and time slips. Shapes appear and disappear, come into focus and then dissolve.  It is almost as if we can see our forebears on the shore, tying their cloth to a stone; we look again and there’s nothing but the flood.

This sense of slip and discovery is also something I have been conscious of in the process of making work for this exhibition.  Between painting on the glass and lifting the paper for a print, there is a gap which lets in chance.  Or you write a word on a page, and then another beside it, and something emerges that must have been there all along.