Shift: change in emphasis, direction or focus

A project that brings together a diverse group of Scottish & Icelandic designers and makers to talk, explore & inspire one another

SHIFT is a project that brings together a diverse group of Scottish and Icelandic designer makers to talk, explore and inspire one another. Coming together through a series of exhibitions and activities, they will investigate one another’s location, environment, influences, skills, experience, materials and techniques. 

Through discussion and experimentation each participant will consider how this has stimulated a shift in the emphasis, direction or focus of their practice.  This project is a catalyst for fresh ideas, new approaches to creative production, making contact with new audiences and markets and fostering a deeper connection between cultures.

SHIFT is possible through our collaboration with Handverk og Hönnun in Iceland, and the support of partners DesignMarch and XpoNorth.

SHIFT takes shape in two phases.

DESIGNMARCH 2018, Reykjavík and XPONORTH 2018, Inverness

Currently, in the project’s second phase, new collaborative and individual works by all designers responding to shifts in their creative practice and thinking are exhibited in the touring exhibition ShiftED.

ShiftED tours to Inverness Museum and Art Gallery 19 May – 21 July 2018. The exhibition is an opportunity for selected Icelandic designers to return to Scotland and continue conversations with their Scottish contemporaries. Selected participating designers will be invited to join a panel discussion about collaboration at XpoNorth, details of which will be announced shortly.

ShiftED opened at DesignMarch, Reykjavík in March 2018. The opportunity for the Scottish designers to return to Reykjavík meant the final touches to collaborative works were made, relationships sustained and ideas for further new collaborative works were generated.

Read our press release from December 2017.

Here are a selection of images from the ShiftED exhibition at DesignMarch 2018, Reykjaviík.

Photograph credits: Lilja Jónsdóttir & DesignMarch

DESIGNMARCH 2017, Reykjavík and XPONORTH 2017, Inverness

In the first phase in 2017, designers from the Highlands and Islands travelled to Iceland in March, and the Icelandic designers to Scotland in June. Working in collaborative pairings they used this time to explore new ideas, develop contacts and ultimately generate new ideas for new work to be created in 2018.

The two groups of designers and makers met, got to know one another and start to foster links. Activity centred around the SHIFT exhibition of participants’ existing work at DesignMarch, Reykjavik and then at XpoNorth, Inverness.

Alongside the Craft showcase at XpoNorth we hosted a discussion panel on the Icelandic markets as well as a keynote talk about DesignMarch. Further information about the showcase, panel discussion and SHIFT exhibition in Reykjavik can be found below.

Craft Showcase at XPO North 2017. Scotland’s Leading Creative Industries Festival. 7-8 June 2017, Inverness. Picture: Paul Campbell/XpoNorth



Diggory Brown (Netty Sopata) – Kilt Maker
Diggory Brown was established on the Isle of Lewis as a bespoke kilt making business by Netty Sopata in 2008. Netty specialises in using locally woven cloth: Harris Tweed, Breanish Tweed and her own range of Zero Waste Tweeds (developed by Uist Wool) in her designs.

Julia Smith Ceramics – Ceramic Maker
Julia Smith creates contemporary pottery using traditional making methods combined with experimental glazed and printed surfaces. Her rustic illustrative style is applied across simple thrown and hand built forms. Her work is strongly influenced by her coastal location in the Scottish Highlands and often features windswept trees and manmade structures.

Lucy Woodley – Jeweller & Mixed Media Sculpture
Jeweller Lucy Woodley spent her childhood in a small highland fishing village. The sea and its creatures were a constant source of inspiration in her early work. Lucy’s work evolved from the sea to the land to incorporate the strong shapes of oak leaves and honesty seeds realised in silver with 18ct gold detail. These pieces were housed on mixed medium wall pieces which echoed the design of the jewellery. This created a whole new decorative object, extending the function of the work, giving the jewellery a home when it’s not worn and leaving a beautiful artwork when it is. Her work is now moving back towards the sea in the form of small sculptural works in silver and other materials looking at migration past and present.

Yellow Broom (Clare Waddle and David Robson) – Product / Lighting Design
Each separate Yellow Broom product is co designed and crafted by hand within the Cairngorms national park; valuing good craftsmanship and the design process they have created a collection of sustainable wooden lighting with a zero waste approach to making that is both utilitarian and aesthetically pleasing.

Jen Deschenes – Textile Artist
Jen is an artist specialising mainly in hand screen printing and embroidery techniques. Her work always has a narrative at its core and illustrates and realises a contemporary personal story. Born and brought up on the small island of Whalsay in Shetland, a place that has had a massive impact on the way she looks at the world and her place in it. She likes to imagine herself as a storyteller but in a different medium.


Agustav (Agusta Magnusdóttir & Gustav Johannsson) – Furniture Designers
AGUSTAV is a furniture design and production company focusing on creating high-end furniture and aims at making pieces that can last lifetimes. At AGUSTAV the creation process centres on weighing out aesthetics and functionality. Product quality is assured by using carefully chosen, high quality materials that are skillfully crafted by furniture makers.

Disa / Arndís Jóhannsdóttir – Designer & Saddlesmith
Arndís Jóhannsdóttir lives & works in Reykjavík. She has worked with fish skin since 1984, making mostly bags, bowls and smaller products. Arndís has taken part in various exhibitions in Iceland and abroad including Nordic Cool 2004, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Transform Via Paris, Expo, Hannover 2000, and in Japan, Paris, Germany and Scandinavia.

Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir – Ceramic Artist
Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir is a ceramic artist and her background is first and foremost Icelandic. Iceland has a great story-telling tradition and it shows in her works which are often characterised by story-telling features. In addition to her studies at the Icelandic School of Arts and Craft, Guðný has also studied and experienced ceramics in Denmark, Finland and Hungary.

Ýr Johansdóttir – Textile Artist
Ýr Jóhannsdóttir is an Icelandic textile artist who works with natural fibres to create colourful knitted garments with cheeky designs. Her work explores themes of the body, both real and imagined.

See below for designer makers who previously participated in SHIFT.

Craft ShowcaseXPO North 2017. Scotland’s Leading Creative Industries Festival. 7-8 June 2017, Inverness. Picture: Paul Campbell/XPO North.


SHIFT: a change of emphasise, direction or focus
8th June 2017 10am – 5pm, Eden Court, Inverness

The group of Scottish and Icelandic designer makers showcased their work at XpoNorth on 8th June and some also  participated in the panel discussion, ‘Shift: Scottish Icelandic Maker Collaborations’ . They also met up informally to exchange ideas and investigate one another’s location, environment, influences, skills, experience, materials and techniques.

The showcase was curated by ilka North  – a collaborative creative practice of designers, visual artists, curators, writers and creative thinkers. Based in the Highlands of Scotland, they exist to interpret and facilitate diverse projects in the creative industries.

Exhibiting designer makers were:

Highlands and Islands


Here are a selection of images from the SHIFT Craft showcase at XpoNorth 2017

Photograph credits: Paul Campbell & XpoNorth




An exhibition of work displayed at Gallerí Grótta, Reykjavík, 23 March – 22 April 2017 






The designer makers and our partners are documenting SHIFT on social media, tagging posts #SHIFTmatters. A collection of online and social media activity following their stories is available here, with a selection of images from Instagram below.

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SHIFT has been made possible through a collaboration between Emergents in Scotland and Handverk og Hönnun in Iceland, with the support of partners DesignMarch and XpoNorth. The project is supported by funding from Creative Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Emergents is a community interest company that aims to support the development of creative careers, enterprise and the economy in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

Handverk og Hönnun is a private non-profit institution operated with financial support from The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture in Iceland. They aim to support the development, furtherance and preservation of Icelandic crafts, applied art and design.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. They enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  They distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit  Follow on @creativescots and

HIE is an ambitious organisation with a unique remit from the Scottish Government that integrates economic and community development. They work in a diverse region which extends from Shetland to Argyll, and from the Outer Hebrides to Moray, covering more than half of Scotland’s land mass. They want the Highlands and Islands to be a highly successful and competitive region in which increasing numbers of people choose to live, work, study and invest.