Evlynn Sharp & Sally Booth: Edges and Extremes - Shetland: People, Place, Industry

Saturday, August 20th 2016 - Sunday, October 2nd 2016
Da Gadderie

Edges and Extremes: Shetland and Cornwall – People, Place, Industry began its life four years ago in Scalloway and now returns back to Shetland after a visit to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Tate Modern in London and Geevor Tin Mine, Pendeen.

A collaborative arts project by English visual artist Sally Booth and Scottish poet Evlynn Sharp, Edges and Extremes is inspired by residencies in Scalloway and North Cornwall and the work celebrates the people, places and industries they encountered at the farthest edges of the British Isles.

Working closely with local people at each location, Sally and Evlynn explored industries and work practices past and present, finding connections in distinctive patterns, landscapes and rhythms of people’s lives – among them is Davie Robertson and his speed of filleting; the artistry of traditional maakers Annie Henry and Emma Isbister, and former ‘grizzly man’ Eddie Strick, the rock breaker at Geevor Tin Mine.

On Saturday, 20th August at 1pm the artists will launch the Edges and Extremes artworks & poetry exhibition in Da Gadderie during a special reception that will feature talks and a poetry performance.

Annie Knitting by Sally Booth, 2013
Annie Knitting, by Sally Booth, 2013

Cast Off A Loop (extract)

Annie never changes her tongue,

Even for a lass afore she was a seed,

Her hands are skating the wires this morning,

And now she is spretting it back…

- Evlynn Sharp


The artworks and poetry from the first phase of the Edges and Extremes project emerged from Evlynn and Sally’s month-long visit to Scalloway when they immersed themselves in the community and culture. Davie invited the artists to watch his work and the scallop workers at Hunters Fish; the artists also visited Annie’s house to witness the fantastic knitting practice of Annie and Emma, along with her daughter, Alice, and the artists met Liz, John & Peggy from the Kirk. Everyone welcomed Evlynn and Sally into their homes and workplace giving a glimpse of everyday life on Shetland. Sadly, Annie has passed away but an example of her knitting will be on show – along with a shawl by Emma – as part of the exhibition’s handling collection.

For Edges and Extremes: Shetland, Sally’s images and Evlynn’s poems focus on key themes of the project such as fish processing, knitting and fishing. The Shetland book features an introduction by Mary Blance, Shetland ForWirds, who notes: “It’s a welcome aspect of the project to see the emphasis placed on working lives. Knitting, fishing and fish processing have been vital to survival here for centuries and the writing and the pictures bring the skills, ancient and modern, to life on the page.”

For Edges and Extremes: Cornwall, Sally's images focus mainly on the world of Geevor Tin Mine such as tin mining above and below ground, and the reality of work by ex-miners, and Evlynn’s poems reflect the key themes. The Cornwall book features an introduction by Marcus Dickey Horley, Curator of Access and Special Projects, Tate, reflecting his excitement at bringing the responses of Sally and Evlynn to the furthest geographical areas of Britain “directly into the centre of London, where our urban geography can sometimes feel totally obliterated by the city’s sprawl.”

During the show, local primary school children will be taking part in creative arts workshops with Sally and Evlynn to explore their own observations and imagination.