Bringing the Haar to London

Friday Sep 14, 2018

Haar in Shetland hanging over the sea above a steep road

Nielanell and Karlyn Sutherland at Decorex, London

What happens to colour and shape when they are seen through Haar, the coastal fog that can envelop the eastern seaboard of the British Isles?

This question is answered by a new textile, made in a collaboration between Shetland designer Niela Nell Kalra and Caithness artist Karlyn Sutherland.

Haar Shetland blanket on a Shetland love seat, outside the Gospel Hall, Hoswick. View to the sea behind. Blanket knitted in greys and yellows

Haar is a collection of six blankets, set to receive its launch at Future Heritage 2018—Decorex International’s prestigious showcase of contemporary craft, and part of the London Design Festival.

Karlyn Sutherland's work in fused glass, to be displayed alongside the new Haar blankets at Decorex, London.

Designed during a visit by Sutherland to Kalra’s studio in Hoswick, the blankets are knitted by the state-of-the-art Textile Facilitation Unit at Shetland College UHI, and hand-finished at the Nielanell Studio. Yarns were carefully selected for their individual properties, with silk, Shetland wool, mercerised cotton and extra-fine merino all being used. Unusually, these were chosen for the way in which the fibres reflect—or don’t reflect—light.

Haar Shetland blankets knitted in greys with highlight colours of blue, red or yellow. Shown draped and folded on an antique, wooden Shetland love seat.

In particular, Kalra was very keen to use a native Shetland wool, sourced locally from world-renowned spinning mill Jamieson’s of Shetland. A unique and special fibre, and part of Scotland’s heritage, Kalra believes Shetland wool deserves its place (and holds its own) alongside the world’s most luxurious yarns. 

Close up of a worker's hands holding washed fleece at Jamieson's of Shetland mill - which is ready for spinning

Wool ready for spinning at Jamieson's of Shetland, Sandness.

In the construction of the textile, knit stitches have been cleverly manipulated to bring colour to the foreground, or make it recede: just what happens in misty misty conditions. Haar is a representation of the surface of an atmospheric phenomenon.

Haar Shetland blanket in greys with yellows. Shetland wool in a heavy weight of yarn floats over the finer silk, cotton and merino

Knitted and hand-finished in Shetland. Silk, Jamieson's of Shetland pure Shetland wool, mercerised cotton, extra-fine merino.

Alongside the textiles, Karlyn Sutherland will be showing her own work in fused glass—a complementary investigation of the interplay between colour and light.

“We are delighted to bring some Scottish Haar to London and honoured to have been selected for Future Heritage by Corinne Julius. It is incredibly exciting to show our work alongside designers and makers of the calibre of Tord Boontje, Glithero and Jochen Holz”.

~ Niela Nell Kalra & Karlyn Sutherland


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