Over the festive period I have enjoyed getting back into fish skin preserving. When I preserve skins I do large batches at a time so I have a ‘stock’ to make work from. With depleting numbers however it was time to get preserving a new batch.
If at all possible I will preserve fish that have been caught by myself or family after we’ve eaten the fillets of course, but with it being winter and far too rough to go out on small boats I visited a local fishmonger to ask if he could supply me with some skins. Much to my delight he was very willing to accommodate and was interested to hear what I would do with them! Skins from the fishmongers usually go to waste so I feel great joy in being able to take this produce and use it within my work. I got a large batch of haddocks which I have preserved a lot of in the past and 24 beautiful salmon skins – a skin I have only preserved a hand full of times.

There’s something really lovely about preserving during the winter, it makes me feel much more connected to history as traditionally preserving skins and foodstuff was all in anticipation of the long, harsh winter months ahead. And oh my goodness has it been wild in Shetland over the Christmas period! I feel very fortunate to have a roof over my head and a roaring fire to sit next to.


These skins will be part of a series of artwork being exhibited in my upcoming solo show ‘Island Connections’ at Bonhoga Gallery, Weisdale, Shetland. The exhibition will explore the relationship between people and land specifically islanders. The works on show will be a collection of pieces I have made as a response to Shetland, specifically my home island of Fair Isle as well as to the Finnish Archipelago where I recently carried out an artist residency.
There will be a Public Opening for my exhibition on January 20th, 18:00-19:30 so if you find yourself in Shetland please don’t hesitate to pop along for a glass of wine and a chat!


If you enjoy my fish skin work you can check out some of my older pieces in the ‘Gallery of Works’ section of this website and for any purchase enquiries please just drop me an email at vrosssmith@hotmail.com

In other promotional news I have recently set up a Facebook page for my artwork, you can find me by searching ‘Vivian Ross-Smith – Visual Artist’. Im also on Instagram (my personal favourite social media platform!) and Twitter at @vrosssmith if you fancy keeping a more regular tabs on what I’m up to.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and I wish each of you a creative and adventure-full 2017.

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