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Isles knitwear at V&A

Some of the knitwear which is on show. Photo: Leanne Fischler

A PIECE of Shetland can be found at Dundee’s new V&A museum thanks to a project promoting design heritage from around Scotland.

The country’s first design museum – an offshoot of the prestigious V&A in London – opened its doors last week.

Pieces of Shetland knitwear feature in a special display at the museum’s Michelin Gallery as part of a look at local design to coincide with the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People 2018.

Shetland was one of six locations chosen alongside Dundee, Orkney, Caithness, Govan and Aberdeen as part of the Scottish Design Relay, a project encouraging people aged between 16 and 26 to engage in design in their community.

Nine young Shetlanders took part in workshops held locally by knitwear designer Niela Kalra and artist Amy Gear in conjunction with Shetland Arts and independent designer Leanne Fischler on behalf of V&A Dundee.

Photo: Leanne Fischler

The group – comprised of Shannon Barclay, Nicole Coutts, Hannah Cutt, Emma Eunson, Alison Hayward, Chloe Keppie, Alyssa Malcolmson, Ella Maxwell and Bryan Mouat – decided to express feelings of community via knitwear.

A prototype collection of knitted accessories was made at Shetland College’s textile unit, and group has since founded a design collective, NOAK (Nine Of A Kind), to design and develop their own products.

The knits, and information on the design process, are now on display in the Scottish Design Relay exhibition at museum’s Michelin Gallery.

Kalra said it was “difficult to express what an incredible, and humbling, experience the Scottish Design Relay has been”.

“I am passionate about Shetland’s culture of making, and about the benefits of creative and design thinking in education and in real, commercial situations,” she added.

“It has been so exciting for the whole Shetland SDR team to be involved with such a high-profile, interesting project – and to work with V&A Dundee.

“Our young designers have been marvellous teammates, and so inspiring: Shetland design is in good hands. I am delighted to pass on the baton!”

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