Fair Isle Chairs on display in Da Gadderie

An exciting new exhibition of Fair Isle Chairs by local carpenter Eve Eunson is on display in Da Gadderie in Lerwick. In collaboration with the Shetland Museum and Archives, this exhibition gives an insight into the history, traditional craft and distinctive qualities of Fair Isle chairs.

The exhibition features three of Eve’s new handcrafted pieces as well as historic chairs from the Shetland Museum and Archives collection which, along with items on loan and their incredible stories, make this exhibition truly unique.

Eve was born and raised on her family’s croft in Fair Isle. In 2018, during a period of self-imposed “retirement”, she came up with the idea to survey the traditional chairs of her native isle. Following in her great grandfather’s footsteps she then learned the wood and straw working skills to recreate them.

Eve said: “I wanted to track down and survey all the chairs that I could find, and then make an example of each type. I had no previous woodworking experience, little knowledge of vernacular furniture and hadn’t performed any research since leaving university in 2007. What I did have were survey and drawing skills, and a deep love for the heritage of the island that I am from.”

“Two years, hundreds of miles, 70+ surveys, 200+ drawings, thousands of photos and three furniture workshops later – and the project is now complete.”

Dr. Ian Tait, Curator of Shetland Museum and Archives said, “We are delighted to be able to open Da Gadderie doors again and showcase the fantastic work of a local worker in wood and straw that is keeping a traditional craft alive.

“Usually we hold exhibitions for artists from the creative community, travelling exhibitions and galleries or displays from our own collection. What makes this particular exhibition different is its collaborative approach. We have worked closely with Eve, included pieces from our own collection as well as being involved in the installation, graphic design and overall look of the finished display."

The Shetland Amenity Trust provided a grant of £2,173.10 to help fund Eve’s research and training costs as well as pay for the materials required to handcraft three Fair Isle Chairs.

Mat Roberts, Chief Executive of the Shetland Amenity Trust said: “We felt this is was an important project for the Trust to support. There’s a strong legacy element and it’s fantastic to see the continuation of this traditional craft into the next generation.”

This exhibition is running from now until the end of May 2021.

Please check our current opening times before you plan your visit and remember booking is required.


Bairns Activity Sheets - An exciting range of children’s activities associated with this exhibition are available to download now, including designing your own chair.

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