‘We are Open. Just knock hard on the front door of the house.’ says the sign in the small window of the Red Houss studio. It is just before 9:30 am on a Saturday and I feel badly for knocking at this hour of the morning without being expected. Fears of disturbance dissipate when Gill opens the door and pleasantly greats me, prompting her husband that he has a visitor.
Mike comes out and is delighted to show me his studio and artwork. You can see his architectural discipline in his paintings, prints and jewellery. Looking around his studio, I recognize Jeanette of Hjarta’s baskets and Wendy’s Burra Bear. It’s a small world. Mike’s jewellery is a combination of patterns from Shetland knitwear and landscape views from Burra and other islands within Shetland.
And then, I spot it. A deep hunter’s green soapstone encased in silver with an off-centered egg outline embedded within the stone. It’s mine! And then, of course, the Shetland patterned earrings with a similar shape to match the pendant. For one who is so picky about jewellery, I incredibly had no problem snapping these items up. Maybe it is due to the combination of his architectural eye, my appreciation for stone as a sculptor, and his attention to detail.
Gill kindly invited me in for a cuppa which I gladly received. African and Eastern influences accent their home. They are not afraid to mix colours. I cannot resist. With all the textiles surrounding me I have to ask – ‘may I share with you my latest weaving and have your opinion as to what you think about it?’. Grateful that they agreed, I scurried off to obtain the textile. We reviewed the design, colours, and mixtures. They offered their critiques, thoughts and advice. What a treat!
The impromptu encounter was a great exchange of stories and ideas. I could not have asked for more. Thank you, Gill and Mike!