Thursday, 14 July 2011

Real Shetland

We launched an amazing new competition last week...

Real Shetland Stories Competition. Capturing Shetland’s history.
Vi-Spring Shetland Superb Kingsize Bed, made with the finest Real Shetland Wool, worth £11,000.

A handcrafted Vi-Spring Shetland Superb bed will be specially made and gifted to the author of the Real Shetland Story that best captures an experience or memory of Shetland life in relation to wool.

Your story could be about

A long connection to something wool related - a life spent crofting or keeping warm at the fishing, or making and selling knitwear.  
A person who wore or worked with wool - a brother who lived in his favourite jumper, a granny who knitted constantly, or a dad who came home from the fishing with his jumper smelling of salt and sea and cigarettes. It might even be about an individual sheep.
A single garment - a favourite sloppy jumper worn in the 80s with a pair of DMs, a pair of work socks that have been darned hundreds of times, a Fair Isle allover that sticks in your mind, or the first pair of gloves you ever sold. 
Your story, memory or experience may be about a place – the bustle on the pier when wool came in and jumpers went out, a spot where shearing was done, winding wool in the kitchen, or a whole community’s connection to wool.
Entries will be judged by Shetland Museum and Archives Curator, Dr Ian Tait, along with local storyteller, Davy Cooper, and the Museum’s Textile Curator, Dr. Carol Christiansen.

The Project

The Real Shetland project brings together the islands’ main wool brokers, Jamieson & Smith, their parent company, Curtis Wool Direct, and Vi-Spring, who are a major customer of Shetland Wool, with Shetland Museum and Archives, Shetland Amenity Trust and Promote Shetland. 
The project highlights the importance of textiles and crofting to Shetland’s heritage, culture and economic development, and focuses on remembering and preserving knowledge and skills to ensure the future of our wool and textiles industry. 
These pieces of history will be kept to provide a rich source of information on Shetland life for future generations. Finalist entries will appear in a special edition book. 
Judge, Dr. Ian Tait said “we’re looking for personal recollections and photos that that bring back strong memories of woollens.  The idea is that we gather these evocative stories into a lasting record of wool-related memories.  It’ll be a collective “wirsit memory bank!”  We aren’t looking for the next world-class author or expert photographer; it is the story of ordinary folk and the part Shetland wool played in their lives that judges will be looking for.”
As the world’s finest bedmaker, Vi-Spring knows that real luxury depends on the best natural materials. That’s why their master craftspeople carefully fill each top of the range bed with Real Shetland Wool. 
Vi-Spring understand that the unpredictable Shetland weather and the largely natural diet of our sheep means that the properties of resilience, warmth, softness, fire retardancy and temperature control are carried right through to their luxurious beds. Vi-Spring also recognises that Real Shetland Wool is special because of the way it is and has always been closely intertwined with daily life in Shetland.


Entries should include a small written piece, roughly 100 - 300 words, illustrated with a photograph or drawing. The photograph can be of a person, a place, or depict an event. Include any known names, dates and locations. Photographs can be from a personal collection, or taken from the Shetland Museum and Archives Photo Library ( You might even want to show us a garment, a swatch, a piece of art, or even a stick drawing. The emphasis is on capturing the story. 

Winners will be announced at a special event during Shetland Wool Week, which runs from 10th – 16th October 2011. 
Entries should be submitted with name, address and telephone number to:
Real Shetland Stories Competition
Shetland Museum and Archives, Hay’s Dock, Lerwick, ZE1 0WP
or Jamieson & Smith, 90 North Road, Lerwick, ZE1 0PQ (where you can view a replica of the prize).
For more information or to follow the project:

Closing date:
15th September 2011
Terms and Conditions:
By submitting an entry you agree to your story and image being published as a book. All entries may be used for publicity and promotional purposes by competition organisers. Intellectual property rights remain with the author.  Judges decisions are final.

Real Shetland Stories, in association with Jamieson & Smith, Curtis Wool Direct, Vi-Spring, Shetland Museum and Archives, Shetland Amenity Trust, Promote Shetland. 

And here's a replica of the prize in our Lerwick wool store (the winner will have one made to their exact specifications). It is seriously the most amazing thing you've ever felt. No kidding.

Want one. More pictures to come...

1 comment:

  1. Can someone from the United States enter this contest? I could forego the prize in the highly unlikely event that I win, but I love my Shetland sheep and the wonderful world of fiber, spinning and knitting that they've opened up for me!