May I introduce you to Joanna Hunter – founder and head designer of Joanna Hunter Knitwear (JHK) and Ninian, and also superwoman of Shetland.
I met Joanna Hunter at her store Ninian in Lerwick, Shetland on a cold and windy winter morning in January 2016. Not that a cold and windy morning is particularly special at this time of the year, but the encounter with the Shetlander designer and business woman made it so.
Joanna welcomed us in the little design studio attached to her shop in central Lerwick. There had been a water leak over the holidays, and it was still a little chaos, but then I guess that is what a studio is supposed to be anyways: creative chaos. We sat down with a cup of tea and started spilling the beans.
The designer tells us about her work process and inspiration at first, but soon we drift off and talk about everything – from starting a business as a teenager, running it successfully as a mother of two, island life and how to keep inspired in the midst of all that.
JHK produces knitwear entirely on Shetland. The patterns are often inspired by traditional knitting patterns (such as Fair Isle) but also influences Joanna gathers on her travels. The pieces are machine knit and hand-finished by women all over Lerwick, only the wool comes from wherever Joanna can get her hands on.
I would like to thank Promote Shetland and Visit Scotland for supporting my trip to Shetland and drawing my attention to Joanna’s label and shop! Of course, also a big thank you to Joanna for taking time to chat with us about her knitwear, career path and island life.
All photos by Kathi Kamleitner.