Local crafters raise over a thousand pounds for Ukraine

Local crafters Rozanne Perdu and Fiona Gray have captured the spirit of the Bressay community by donating the proceeds of their new work to the Ukraine recovery fund, the DEC appeal. In total the two women have raised £1,109.96. BDL caught up with them to ask about their process as artists.

When did you start drawing, Rozanne? And what does making art mean to you?

I have always enjoyed doing arts and crafts for as long as I can remember, especially more so since our children have now grown up and I have time to try different art. To me art means the pleasure I get from creating something and standing back and thinking, “I did that”. As well as the therapeutic value. Art is a great way to switch off from all the stresses of life and completely focus on what I am making through drawing, painting or cutting shapes out on my fretsaw.
I love that I can create art that is very special, personal and meaningful for an individual whether that be on stone, paper, wood or slate.
We have been great admirers of your detailed work, in particular, on rocks. Can you tell us why you like to paint on rock and what might be the advantages?
I love the feel and look of our beautiful natural stones. They are so smooth to paint on and each one very unique for its purpose. I love the idea of boats painted on stone as this reflects the sea and surroundings. I have painted stones for a variety of different requests- gardens, memorial gardens, grave sides, gifts, decorations, all which are very personal to the individual. The feedback is very inspiring and encouraging.
I have had requests for painted stone and slate which has been posted to America, New Zealand, Germany, France, England, Scotland, Ireland and throughout Shetland, all from our peerie island Bressay. Also, I have recently started using pastel pencils and I’m really pleased with the outcome so far and hope to be working with this more.

You have painted several rocks recently to raise money for the DEC Appeal for Ukraine. Can you tell us where we can commission you and if there are any more available?

If you would like any artwork completed, I can be contacted through my Facebook business page, “Rozanne’s Crafts” or on Facebook messenger using my name, Rozanne Perdu. I also have some crafts for sale in Speldiburn and the Bressay Heritage Centre. At Christmas time you can find some of my crafts in The Bressay shop. I’ve recently painted stones to raise money for the Red Cross DEC Ukraine Appeal with 100% of the sales going towards this much needed cause. And we’ve reached up to £770 in total so far. Thank you kindly to all the folks who have bought a stone.
Love, Peace and Kindness through art.

Fiona Gray, (pictured below), has been weaving for nearly 25 years and counsels any would-be makers to pursue their own interests first and let everything else fall into place. Here’s what she had to say to BDL:

How long have you been weaving and where did your initial interest in woven textiles come from?

25 years ago, I watched a lady spin fleece and was completely fascinated by the process. The gentle sound of the wheel and the ease with which the spinner made thread never left me. 5 years later I bought my first spinning wheel and created some terrible uneven yarn, which is apparently a desirable creative art yarn. nI was soon hooked on spinning, refining my process and gathering too many skeins of yarn to be considered sensible. I knitted with lots of it, but realised a much better way of showing it off was to weave with it. My first weaving loom was a simple Rigid Heddle Loom 16” wide. With this I could make scarves, shawls and fabric to chop up and sew. It was extremely portable and it travelled with me wherever I went. My second loom was a knitters loom - a 27” version of the Rigid Heddle Loom. I began to explore with more varied colours and textures and made some pretty unusual creations which I mostly gave away or kept as samples. I’ve always been influenced by nature, colour and the mood of my immediate environment. There is nothing more pleasing than having scores of colours surrounding me as I make a wall hanging tapestry or testing colours in a weaving pattern. It’s like painting with wool.
My Rigid Heddle Looms were immediately replaced by 8 shaft table looms when I stopped my travels. Of course the process of getting the warp on the loom ready to weave was much more complex, but the results were certainly worth the frustration.

Where does your inspiration for your woven pieces come from and how do you turn your ideas into textiles?

Shetland’s skies, coastlines, seas and beautiful landscape are my source of colour inspiration. My favourite medium for weaving is wool, though I tend not to use this for neckwear. The colours of wool available from local sources are perfectly blended to represent the real colours of Shetland and I use these exclusively in creating fabric for cutting, for tapestry, small rugs and wall hangings. This scarf features our own island Grindischool
wool. Once I’ve completed a weave, I challenge myself to try to make something new and different. Thus far, these have been handbags, tote bags, cosmetic bags, clocks and backgrounds for cards.

I love learning and took many online classes during lockdown. Some were for fun and some have have really pushed my boundaries of possibilities. One such course introduced me to the fibre Tencel. Tencel is made from the pulp of Eucalyptus trees, is sustainable and is super soft. It is my chosen neckwear fibre as it is comfortable and elegant to wear.

Do you have any advice for any crafters trying to set up their own small business?

I belong to two online Guilds, one specifically for weavers and I’m also a member of the Shetland Guild of Weavers, Spinners, Dyers and Knitters. During Shetland Wool Week 2018, when helping with Chris’s Garth’s Croft Tour lunches, I was asked by one of the participants if I would write an article for her magazine! I was rather stunned, but thrilled to appear over two pages in the British Fibre Art magazine later that year.

I am self taught in all my fibre exploits. I love the freedom this offers me and can push myself to new learning when I’m ready. The Shetland Textile Museum annual competition last year was entitled “The Beach”. While Bonnie the black lab was enjoying a swim at Mail beach, I spotted a lone starfish in the sand. This became the focus of a wall tapestry I entered into that competition, winning second equal prize. This year, my entry of a tapestry woven clock to the Shetland Guild competition “Inspired by Michaelswood” won the weaving shield. I was thrilled recently to have been successful in the Shetland Arts and Crafts Quality Assurance process. I am now part of the Shetland Craft Trail, which I hope will increase footfall to Speldiburn. Mine is a tiny business, grown from a hobby. My weaving products are unique and although I might make two or three different items from one weave, no two pieces will be the same. I believe that much of my inspiration comes from not working under pressure, as my mind is clear to create. I do not undertake commissions, as such pieces can take a long time to start and finish. I have an Etsy Shop and an Isle20 shop, both online and Alison kindly sells for me in the Mail Shop. Recently, I’ve been weaving and sewing cosmetic bags for a fund raiser for Ukraine. I’ve sent £205 to the DEC funds so far and hope that by selling a further 5 bags, I’ll be sending a further £100. These donations are gift aided which makes a potential total to £412.25. Sunflower Fabric Bags are currently for sale is Mail Shop and Speldiburn. Thank you for supporting this cause. I love what I do, and hope that you do too.

Published on April 30th 2022

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