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Press Release | Art show explores Shetland's complex energy situation | Oct 2024

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22 | 05 | 24


 Of Spirit of Power: The Vernacular of Energy

On show at the Islesburgh Complex, Lerwick and at The Briggait, Glasgow, October 2024


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Photograph from Peery Sloan'sThe Language of Woolproject on The Shetland Islands | Image credit Sean Sweeney

In winter 2023 / 2024, multidisciplinary artist Peery Sloan spent time living and working on the Shetland Islands, 5,000 miles away from her home in Big Sur California, undertaking a series of residencies and projects. The resulting exhibition of textiles and photography, titledOf Spirit of Power: The Vernacular of Energy,will be on show this October at the Islesburgh Complex, Lerwick and next at The Briggait, Glasgow.

Peery's practice is based on traditional ‘women's' crafts such as weaving, beading, quilting, knitting and basketry, and considers the interplay between natural materials and social structures. Her exploration of creative action within rural communities incorporates locally sourced materials such as clay and wool, and uses ceremony and performance to explore ideas of community and belonging, whilst raising questions about energy and resource use and our impact on the environment.

ThisOf Spirit of Power: The Vernacular of Energyproject began in October 2023 in Scalloway, ancient capital of the Shetland Islands, with The Booth Residency, courtesy of Wasps (Workshop & Artists Studio Provision Scotland) and the Shetland Trust. Based on Peery's immersive engagement with the islands' community, the projectresponds to the complex energy situation in the Shetland Islands and scrutinizes the impact of the energy industry on the local community, blending scientific andspiritual dimensions on this theme through art and visual commentary.

Peery says:"Energy, both scientifically defined as the capacity for work and spiritually perceived as an unseen force connecting all living things, converges in a profound way in the Shetland Islands. Scientifically, energy is the force that drives work. It prompts me to ponder the nature of the tasks it fuels and who benefits from them. Simultaneously, spiritual energy is described as an unseen influence weaving through and connecting all living entities. Can it serve as both the connective tissue between us and the impetus for our endeavours? The Shetland Islands, marked by wind turbines and oil fields, bear witness to the dominance of the energy industry. Despite its significant contribution to the UK's energy needs, locals face the burden of high winter costs due to exported energy, accounting for up to 40% of their income."


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Photograph from Peery Sloan'sThe Language of Woolproject on The Shetland Islands | Image credit Sean Sweeney

Inspired by the rich knitting traditions of the Shetland Islands,Of Spirit Of Power: the Vernacular of Energyis comprised of two distinct collections:

The Knitting Pattern

Peery says:"I found it endearing to find knitters in most coffee shops, pubs, and public spaces around the islands. Most local publications include a knitting pattern, a clear sign that this is a definite part of the Islanders' vernacular. Taking this form, I satirized the formula of ‘materials, tension, tools, and process' to reflect the true materials needed to generate Shetland energy, namely faith in the government, numerous council meetings, a chunk of income, faith, and prayers.

The tapestry I have created is titled ‘How to Create Shetland Energy' and mimics a functional pattern that gives instructions on making knitted winter hats.A group of Shetland Islanders have collaborated with the project and knitted these hats for the exhibition, hats which are both practical and are instruments of dissent that aim to foster community solidarity and emphasize systemic issues though craft."

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 Peery Sloan's‘How To Create Shetland Energy'knitted tapestry, work in progress

The Language of Wool

Peery says:"The Language of Wool addresses the pivotal role of wool in the Shetland Islands and

Scotland as a whole. Wool, emblematic of the region, represents a craft, a source of warmth in winter, and an economic necessity. For this exhibition I have knitted a wool roving shawl, integrating raw wool laden with lichen, dirt, and peat harvested from pastures. This immersive engagement with local craft and material aims to forge a deeper connection with ‘place'. The evolution of wool, from raw to refined, unfolds a language characterized by patience and meticulous attention, symbolizing the intricate threads of resilience within this Island community.

A visual narrative of this journey is captured through a series of photographs depicting me enveloped in the wool garment, adorned with a traditional straw Skekler hat, a local guising custom. These imagesportray a fabricated creature, both alien and indigenous, endeavouring to bridge the gap and fathom the essence of the Shetland Islands. The project aspires to be a reflective exploration, scrutinizing the essence and ramifications of energy in its myriad forms, unravelling the threads that weave through the fabric of Shetland's existence. In the intricate weave of Shetland's energy landscape, it explores the nuanced threads that bind the Islanders to their environment. This project delves into the resilient spirit of the community as it navigates the complexities of energy, both seen and unseen. From the yarn of local traditions to the threads of systemic challenges, the unravelling narrative seeks to illuminate the layers of strength and endurance woven into Shetland's fabric."

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Photograph from Peery Sloan'sThe Language of Woolproject on The Shetland Islands | Image credit Sean Sweeney

SeeOf Spirit, of Power: The Vernacular of Energyas part of Wool Week on the Shetland Islands at the Islesburgh Complex, Lerwick from 29th September to 5th October, and at The Briggait, Glasgow, from 11th to 18th October.



Print Ready 300dpi images for press use: 

PEERY SLOAN Skekler 4_photo Sean Sweeney

PEERY SLOAN Skekler 2_photo Sean Sweeney

PEERY SLOAN How to Make Shetland Energy

PEERY SLOAN Skekler 1_photo Sean Sweeney

Editors Notes


Artist Peery Sloan, a Tennessee native, once served as the designated yarn-roller for her needle-working grandmother, a role she loved and embraced even into adulthood. This early engagement with craftwork laid the foundation for her multidisciplinary art practice, which is influenced by traditional ‘women's' crafts such as weaving, beading, quilting, knitting and basketry. Now residing in Big Sur, California, Peery's work draws inspiration from the natural environment and explores the concept of belonging. Evolving into a socially oriented artist, she employs ceremony as a medium to bridge social connections and disconnections, while addressing human environmental impact. Rejecting confinement to a single medium, Peery's art is site responsive and adaptive, utilizing materials and practices relevant to each community she works with. Her work has been exhibited across the United States and internationally.                                                                                                                                                                                        


For further press information or additional images contact Mercedes Smith at Fine Art Communications | Tel 07825 270235 |