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Published: 17 April 2021

By Andy Ross

What is happening at GlobalYell?

Over the past year and a little, since 17th March 2020, the studio has been closed to visitors and I have been in London. Next week we return to Shetland for a month. 

This trip is to clean and tidy both Ferncliff, our home in the islands, and the studio. The studio will then be ready to reopen when the time is right and once things ease a little more. 

It is a good time to be in Shetland. In April and May the migrating birds return and the flowers start in earnest. For a few short months the daylight in the islands is long and we are looking forward to long walks in the simmer dim. 

While GlobalYell has been closed work has not stopped. The Wellbeing Festival, celebrating art and craft, is ongoing and shortly there will be a new page on the website where you can catch up on what is on offer. At the moment we have eight tutors who are going to run short sessions in creative writing, painting, music and the like. The intention is to hold this festival every year or two and for this first one to be a chance to learn for us all. In this new world we are living in it is exciting to be trying these things out and to be working with some very creative people too.

The second project, building a network of organisations and people involved in using textiles as developmental tools, is even more exciting. Although we are only two months into the project I have already spoken to people in South Africa, Switzerland and across the UK. Some of the themes that are emerging through these contacts have been sustainability in textiles manufacture and production, preservation of craft skills that are disappearing across the world, artificial fibres and the effect that these are having on the industries of the planet and on the environment, and the many cultural aspects of textiles across the globe. It is proving to be Very Interesting, not to mention Stimulating, and I will share some of the projects that are turning-up on the blog. 

After 13 months away from the islands that we have called 'home' for almost twenty years it is going to be a little strange to return under these circumstances, but it will also be good to see friends and to spend time in glorious Shetland. Pictures will, I am sure, follow...