Design notes from Niela
At the water’s edge: from printmaking to knitwear
The Shoormal collection came from an experimental monoprint, made while I was designing another knitwear collection entirely. This print just seemed to stand on its own: I put it aside.
Monoprint made by laying thread over the plate
Coming back to it, I wondered whether this linear imagery could form the basis for a collection in its own right. It’s actually the only time I’ve made a collection from just one image.
Experimenting with the imagery by placing it into a garment shape
As I experimented with scale and placement of the design, and had swatches and sample garments made up, Helen (the knit technician) and I were so excited by the interesting space created between and within the lines.
Later, when Katie (my studio manager) and I began to handle the knitted pieces in the studio, I found that the garments made me think of the shore here at Hoswick—and particularly the area between the high and low tide marks.
Rivulets of water from the receding tide, Hoswick.
In Shetland, the word shoormal (or shoormil) is used for the high tide mark—or the area between tides. Maybe it could be described as an in-between type of word describing an in-between type of place.
And, of course, the imagery in this collection came from an in-between stage of another design. Along with its visual connection with the shore, I see my Shoormal knitwear collection as a manifestation of the joy of serendipity, and of finding an unexpected gem in my creative process.
Shoormal is also a reminder that the journey can be as important as the destination—in life as well as in design.