Fair Isle Chairs by Eve Eunson

Fair Isle Chairs by Eve Eunson

Tuesday, November 17th 2020 - Friday, May 28th 2021
Da Gadderie, Shetland Museum and Archives, Lerwick

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

The exhibition featured 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, made this exhibition truly unique.

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 was 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 made this particular exhibition different is its collaborative approach. We 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 was on display from November 2020 until May 2021.

The Fair Isle Chairs Project Publication - The Fair Isle Chair's Project is a unique piece of research into the vernacular furniture of this tiny island. In focusing on the humble chair this booklet draws together family history, emigration, social change, creative expression, endangered crops and the plight of a unique and endangered craft.

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

A virtual tour of the Fair Isle Chairs Exhibition with Eve Eunson and Dr. Ian Tait