Shetland Showcase

Shetland Showcase offers a taste of Island life to international audience

Burra BearsOne of the most fantastic spectacles of the maritime calendar, The Tall Ships Races 2011, is coming to Lerwick this July and as part of the four day celebration organisers have invited a number of local exhibitors to showcase their products and services during the event.

To celebrate the arrival of 57 magnificent vessels and more than 2000 international crew, the event will also incorporate a unique Shetland Showcase. Visitors will be able to browse, sample and purchase from various market stalls positioned along Alexandra Wharf showcasing Shetland's culture, traditions and wonderful local produce, ranging from textiles and jewellery to cheese and bakery goods.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to chat with the makers and see demonstrations of furniture making and pottery work.

The Tall Ships Races 2011-Lerwick will play host to a fantastic programme of events including music, dance, drama and arts, running from Thursday 21 July until Sunday 24 July and is set to attract thousands of spectators to the Lerwick.

Organisers are hoping that the Shetland Showcase will introduce the wealth of goods produced in Shetland to international visitors as well as encourage local people to experience the fantastic produce available on their doorstep.

Fiona Dally, project manager for The Tall Ships Races 2011 – Lerwick, said: "Shetland's creative community is one to be proud of and we're delighted with the line up of genuine Shetland producers playing a role in The Tall Ships Races 2011-Lerwick as part of the Shetland Showcase. There will be culinary delights for visitors to sample, as well as the opportunity to enjoy a number craft demonstrations taking place throughout the festivities."

World famous bear maker, Wendy Inkster will also be exhibiting Burra Bears as part of the showcase. Known as the original Shetland Teddy Bear, Wendy creates her Burra Bears from recycled Shetland jumpers and Fair Isle knitting. Burra Bears will be showcasing the Original Burra Bear, the Peerie button back Burra Bear and the Peerie Oolet, created 'specially for bairns'. Wendy has teamed up with local textile artist Hilary Seatter to create a specially commissioned Tall Ships Burra Bear using a unique pirate pattern and colours from The Tall Ships Races 2011 – Lerwick logo.

Wendy said: "The Tall Ships Races 2011-Lerwick is an exciting event which Burra Bears is delighted to be part of through the Shetland Showcase. The inclusion of some of Shetland's finest local food and craft producers to the programme showcases the breadth and diversity of Shetland's creative community."

The Tall Ships Races 2011, presented by Szczecin, organised by Sail Training International (www.sailtraininginternational.org) starts in Waterford, Ireland on 30 June, with vessels racing to Scotland, calling at Greenock in Scotland. The ships will then set sail on the non-competitive Cruise in Company leg calling in at their choice of guest harbours en-route to Lerwick, Shetland. Participating ports include Campbeltown, Islay, Oban, Ullapool, Stornoway, Stromness, Kirkwall, Fair Isle, Scalloway, Yell, Unst and Whalsay. Lerwick will host the Tall Ships from 21st July for four fun-packed days before the start of Race Two sailing to Stavanger in Norway on Sunday 24th July.

For more information, please visit www.tallshipsraceslerwick.com

More information on Shetland Showcase exhibitors

Smirk.Ink – over the last thirty years Smirk has become well known for charting Shetland life in the form of cartoons and caricatures.

Shana – Shana is a company consisting of two friends who produce a range of goods from 100% Shetland wool, incorporating traditional Fair Isle patterns. Extremely passionate about Shetland's knitting heritage, the creative duo keep it alive with their traditional crafting with a modern twist.

Aamos Designs – Aamos Designs is a unique and talented textile design company specialising in contemporary woven textiles. It was started by textile designer Emma Blain after graduating from Glasgow School of Art. Aamos Designs is well known for playful but confident use of colour and contemporary use of time-honoured woven structures to create beautiful scarves, shawls and accessories.

Vidlin Pottery - Vidlin Pottery produces wheel thrown stoneware and porcelain ceramics. Clay and glazes are formulated and made in Vidlin by John Jacobs. Each piece is unique and signed by the artist.

Nielanell Knitwear - Knitwear with attitude! Innovative striking knitwear and accessories designed and made in Shetland. Vibrant colours and scrumptious textures are transformed into flattering, simple styles for all ages.

Shetland Jewellery - Silver and gold jewellery made in Weisdale, Shetland. Designs include Celtic, Norse and Shetland wildlife together with a special range of Tall Ships jewellery.

Hjarta - Artist based on the island of Yell, producing unique baskets from Shetland plants; handmade jewellery from repurposed, beach found sea glass and pottery shards; and original paintings, cards and collages – all influenced by Shetland's wild and beautiful landscape.

Paparwark Furniture - Paparwark Furniture specialises in designing and manufacturing quality furniture from hardwoods and veneers, providing a service for clients who envision unique furniture for their living environment. Inspired by the culture and natural surroundings in Shetland, clients' individual interests and hobbies are also used in the design process, creating personalised items.

Journeyman Leather - The best in the world? It's a big claim, but one Journeyman Leather can justify. Here in Shetland, Journeyman Leather makes belts and bags, saddlery materials, using age-old saddlery skills. No fashion, no form over function, no compromise, just solid, well-made items to do a job, and to do it for a very long time.

Shetland Handspun - Shetland Handspun uses old established spinning and knitting skills to produce yarns and garments from soft handpicked Shetland fleece. Choose from smaller items such as mitts, hats and scarves, or treat yourself to an individually designed garment.

Glansin Glass - Cheryl Jamieson of Glansin Glass designs and produces hand-made fused glassware at her studio in Unst. A very proud Shetlander, she is inspired by her stunning homeland which is reflected in her unique jewellery and art pieces.

Barbara Isbister Knitwear - Traditional and modern Fair Isle designs including hoodies, jumpers and cardigans.

Skibhoul Bakery - Skibhoul Bakery in Unst produces bread, traditional island sweet and savoury biscuits, and award winning (Waitrose/Country Living Made in Britain 2008 finalist) oceanice oatcakes – wheat-free, additive-free and Vegetarian Society approved. These seawater oatcakes are mentioned in Lonely Planets Best in Travel 2011 as one of the good things to eat in Shetland.

Artisan Island Cheese - Artisan Island Cheese produces a range of delicious home-made cheeses, using the finest Shetland dairy herd and goats' milk from Fair Isle. Try the Birls soft cheese, spun with flavours including beremeal, black pepper, garden herbs and Bod Ayre's edible seaweeds. A must see stall for any cheese appreciator at the Tall Ships Race.

Austin Taylor Photography - Austin Taylor creates stunning photographs of wildlife, viewpoints and events from around Shetland. His images reflect Austin's lifelong fascination with all aspects of the natural environment. Take time to view some of the landscape, wildlife and night-time drama he has captured.

Ninian - Ninian is a locally owned and operated knitwear designer business run by Johanna Hunter. Joanna offers a wide variety of contemporary Shetland knitwear, which is inspired by vintage Fair Isle and lace designs from her own family history as well as from Sheltand's heritage. Her current collections include the original Funky Fair Isle designs and a new vintage Fair Isle range of textured accessories.

Andrea Williamson - Cheerful and contemporary knits in cosy wools, drawing on elements of traditional Shetland textiles to create new colourful useable pieces and home accessories.