‘Island Connections’ is a series of works considering the relationship between people and land. Vivian recently spent 2months as Artist in Residence on the island of Korpo, where she developed this new body of work as a conversation between the Finnish Archipelago and her home islands of Shetland, and in particular Fair Isle.

  Although these two networks of islands have very different landscapes, they are tied together by latitude and island mentality. Being an islander is an identity that connects people. It’s a way of life, of thinking and being.

  Vivian is interested in the passing of knowledge through generations, resulting in communities having a deep understanding toward their island. Vivian considered the formation of these island connections by looking at details of light, colour, geology, human impact and community. Combining elements of painting, textiles and sculpture Vivian embeds the stories and traditions of island life into the materials and imagery of the works.

Tools, 2016. Acrylic and gloss medium on board.
Fair Isle and Korpo Nets, 2016. Handcast bronze with natural patina from the North Sea and Baltic Sea.
Process video of Korpo net in the Baltic Sea.
Before the Snow, 2016. Acrylic, salt and gold leaf.
Erosions, 2014. Copper sulphate, acrylic and gold leaf.


Lower Leogh Light, 2016. Acrylic and gloss medium on board
Korpo – Nauvo, 2016. Acrylic and gloss medium on board
Island Journeys, 2017. Preserved and hand stitched salmon and haddock skins
Hill Sheep, 2016. Acrylic, water colour and gloss medium
Worship, 2015. Copper, model, copper sulphate, rust and wood.
An island is an Island, 2016. Hand stitched and naturally dyed linen.
‘Offerings’ 2015. Mixed Media. 82x49cm


‘Island Connections’ is open at Bonhoga Gallery, Weisdale on Wednesday – Friday 11am to 3pm and Saturday – Sunday 11am to 4pm until Sunday 5th March.

7 thoughts on “ Island Connections ”

  1. A wonderful show in what looks like the perfect space for it – I wish I could see this in person.

    I’ve already remarked on how much I love your hand-stitched map, and the title “Worship” adds another level of interest to the sculpture piece. The bronze and patina’d (patinaed? yes- apparently, that’s it) nets have been fascinating to follow – it’s wonderful to see them hung together.

    If you have the time, can you comment on the meaning behind Hill Sheep? It’s visually really very interesting.

    Compelling work, as always. Thanks for sharing this post!

  2. Hi Kristin @lostgeographer
    I’m so glad you enjoyed virtually browsing the exhibition if only I could bring it to you in person! I’m so pleased you have enjoyed watching the pieces develop and turn into the finished works they now are. I’m very thankful for the internet to be able to share this all with you.

    Yes I would be happy to comment. ‘Hill Sheep’ depicts the clippings made into sheep’s ears before they are put out on the open hillside for common grazing.
    Each croft on Fair Isle either used one or a combination of these markings on their flock of sheep. Each summer when the sheep are collected in from the hill for clipping and dosing, the markings allow the sheep to be dealt out correctly to their respective crofts. Now many people spray paint markings on their sheep or have tags on their ears but when I was younger the marking were all cut into the sheep’s ear.
    I wanted to depict the markings almost as ruins or some kind of traditional island imagery that may seem confusing out of context to the viewer but are intriguing motifs nonetheless.

    Any more questions just ask away!

    Vivian x

  3. Hello Vivian –

    That’s fascinating, and it sent me off to read about earmarks (and to learn that’s where the political/budgetary term comes from as well!). That your piece reminded me of architectural or ancient ruins is exactly the reason I wanted to know more about it.

    Thanks so much for your response!

  4. Hi Vivian,

    I always enjoy reading about the process behind your work, especially your trip to Finland.

    Last month, I read the book Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez. Have you heard of it? The geographic focus is the arctic of the western hemisphere, but the books covers more than natural history and ecology. Lopez also talks about how essential it is to explore new places as artists as well as scientists. I thought of your work several times while reading the section “Ice and Light”.

    Best wishes.

  5. Hi Erinjoelle,
    I apologise for my delay in getting back to you – I replied in my head as soon as I read your comment but alas, didn’t reply in real life!! Yes, I read and thoroughly enjoyed Arctic Dreams a few years ago and it sits on my book shelf waiting to be re-read, which I really must do now that you’ve mentioned it. Another great book I have found useful within my work is ‘The Idea of North’ by Peter Davidson. I would highly recommend looking it up if you haven’t already read it.

    Hope you are well and thank you for your comment!
    Vivian x

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