Ella Gordon graduated from Shetland College UHI in 2012 with distinction in Contemporary Textiles and currently divides her time between working at Jamieson and Smith, a local yarn business based in Shetland and running her own business making cushions.
What does your job involve?
Since finishing university I have continued working almost full-time at Jamieson & Smith, which is a shop in Lerwick that sells Shetland wool products, and working on my own business in my spare time. Jamieson & Smith is a brilliant place to work and I feel the training I have gained at university really helps with my job. I think it’s important to try and work somewhere with some relation to what you studied even if it’s not a huge part of your everyday work. Working with the general public is a good skill to have and I love helping people choose colours for the things they want to knit.
In relation to my own work, I understand the benefits and pitfalls of trying to run a business in a remote place like Shetland and through my blog and online promotion I try to connect people with my products. I have continued making my cushions and products for commissions which is working really well for me at the moment. As I don’t have a huge amount of free time, only making things when ordered means I don't feel pressured.
What did you study at UHI and how does it relate to your current job?
I studied textiles which is extremely relevant to both my jobs. In my wool shop job it helps me to help people choose wool, colours and patterns. A knowledge of textiles in general also benefits my job. The skills I learnt at college help me create my products for my own business. The BA Contemporary Textiles Course was quite demanding work wise but I feel like it has set me up well for starting my own business, as we were taught to work hard and to a high standard.
How did you get into your job?
I began working at the wool shop part time while at college and went full time when I finished.
Where would you like to go with your career in the future?
I’m becoming more confident in my skills as they develop which has meant I have entered items into exhibitions and would like to do more of this in the future. I also recently helped curate an exhibition at the Shetland Textile Museum where I am a trustee.
In the long-term I would like to be fully self-employed but for the moment I enjoy having both my jobs.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Appreciate the time and freedom you have while at college to really expand your ideas and enhance your skills to the highest level you can in the area of your interest. Once you have left you are on your own so try and learn as much as you can!