Shapinsay Heritage Arts and Crafts (SHAC)

The purpose of SHAC is the advancement and preservation of the historical, cultural, natural heritage, arts and crafts of the Island of Shapinsay including the education of the public in all matters relating to these, in particular but not exclusively through the provision of a heritage and craft centre. It is organised by a Board of Trustees elected by the members annually. Currently these are:

Lenka Mellor – Chair

Julie Watkins – Treasurer

Jenny Hall – Minute Secretary

Margaret Eunson

Chris Perry

Edith Tait

Normally SHAC operates as the Heritage Centre out of The Smithy in Balfour Village but since the beginning of the Covid pandemic it has been closed to the public and the space is being used by the pop-up charity shop Cast Affs. The closure is being seen as a great opportunity for a redesign and updating of the Heritage Centre including a full digitisation project which will see SHAC moving online to expand its storage capacity and extend public access to its extensive collection of historical, cultural and social material. The completion of a full inventory of records and artefacts in reoaration for this project is well underway at the time of writing in December 2021.

SHAC is not completely dormant though. It has taken advantage of the support offered by the North Isles Landscape Partnership Scheme (NILPS) in Orkney to develop an ongoing programme of events and changes which will raise the profile of SHAC and increase the service it can give to Shapinsay residents. In August, for example, a weekend of dry stone walling organised by NILPS was enjoyed by a number of Shapinsay stalwarts and will be followed up with a second in the coming months.

In October 2021 the monthly Craft Hub meetings began in the Community Centre for crafters of all ages, both novice and experienced, to come together on a Saturday and exchange ideas, skills and conversation over tea and biscuits. These have been very well attended. And the highlight of the year will be a Christmas Extravaganza over the weekend of 4th/5th December (see posters below) when we hope to afford members the opportunity to sell their crafts for the first time since the beginning of Covid and run workshops for all ages to a backdrop of Christmas music and refreshments.