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Business / Artist’s shop to make colourful addition to the street

Avril Thomson-Smith in her shop ahead of opening on Thursday. Photo: Dave Donaldson

A LOCAL artist is set to bring a splash of colour to the centre of Lerwick by opening a shop and studio on Commercial Street.

Avril Thomson-Smith will have a soft launch of her premises at the former outdoor clothes shop opposite Aurora on Thursday (11 May).

The opening days in May will be Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 10am and 4pm, with more hours in the summer.

It is the latest vacant property on the street set for a new lease of life.

There has been concern raised in recent months about the number of empty premises on the street.

Perhaps the most prominent is the M&Co fashion retailer, which closed all its branches in the country following administration.

Thomson-Smith is known for painting vibrant pieces of work inspired by Shetland’s landscape.

She said the downstairs will be a shop and gallery space, with mid-landing area likely to be used for painting and framing.

The retail space will offer artwork as well as other items like cushions, tea towels and notebooks.

Meanwhile there will be space upstairs that potentially could be used for art workshops in the future.

“It’s certainly very bright and cheery stuff that I’m doing, so I’m hoping the local community will like it,” she said.

“I’m just looking to sell my own items at the moment just to keep things simple, but if I can’t keep up with demand I might have to take in other people’s stuff.”

Thomson-Smith is a business studies teacher at the college, and she is planning to carry on that role as well having the space on the street.

“I don’t want to take any major risks with [the shop], so I’m just going to see how it goes over the summer,” she said.

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The artist added that having her own space is a “dream”.

“This has always just been a peerie hobby but as I got older and as Covid hit it kind of made me rethink my life a peerie bit and what I would like for the future,” she said.

“I think as I get older I start to realise if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it.”

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