Fashioned for fishing

13 November 2014

The 'gansey' - a distinctive, seamless, woollen pullover traditionally worn by seamen and fishermen - will be the focus of a new exhibition, which opens on Saturday 15 November at Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Shiprow.

The touring exhibition is the result of a major project led by the Moray Firth Partnership, which set out to find, record and conserve gansey patterns from the Moray Firth coast, and to introduce the craft and the area's wider fishing heritage to new audiences, and to pass on the skills to a new generation.

The ganseys on show feature a wide range of patterns and pattern combinations, which the fishing communities made their own. Alongside these will be contemporary interpretations of the patterns by today's designers.

Curator of maritime history, Meredith Greiling said: "We are delighted to have this exhibition come to Aberdeen Maritime Museum, as fishing and the associated crafts are an important part of the city's heritage.

"Following on from the success of the Great Tapestry of Scotland and the Kaffe Fassett exhibitions at the Art Gallery earlier this year, it is fascinating to reflect on the creativity and ingenuity of knitters from around the North Sea coast and passing on their patterns through the generations.

"This exhibition includes work by Hull College fashion students, who have been inspired by traditional patterns to create new works based on these designs."

Kathryn Logan, manager of Moray Firth Partnership said: "Ganseys, or genzies, depending on which part of the coast you are from, still have secrets to unravel. The skills and artistry of their creators provide a continuing inspiration to designers across a range of disciplines.

Over fifty ganseys have been donated to our collection so far, many of which will be on display at Aberdeen's fascinating maritime museum. Our project continues to gather information, so we hope that visitors to the exhibition will provide pictures and stories from the North-east coast to museum staff. We would also be delighted to receive any knitted samples for our pattern box. Simply visit www.ganseymf.co.uk for more information.

A book to accompany the exhibition will be available to purchase from the museum's shop. The exhibition runs until Saturday 28 February 2015.