Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Birthday Blog

It's Islay Spalding Contemporary Jewellery Design's 6th birthday today! (and the actual me's 31st birthday tomorrow...eeek!) So I thought I'd better give you all a wee update of what's been going on.

First of all, big one ups and thanks to jewellery student Kendal Dewar and textile designer Jen Heilbronn for helping out in the workshop this summer. Kendal has been working with me on the Oddgon and Angular Collection, cutting, filing, wet&drying and helping form a collection of pieces which are now available to buy in the Tayberry Gallery. Whilst Jen has taken the Thritty Pings to a new level, turning 12 of my original drawings into 97 different colours and styles of brooches and over 200 different earrings......stay tuned for where to buy (the next task!)

Thritty Pings and Oddgons & Angulars

Another ongoing joint project has been with my workshop buddy Louise Forbes - the Man Pin! These are pins for men, designed to be worn on a lapel, or a kilt...but equally good on a bag or hat, or indeed a woman :) The first series is made from different combinations of four tropical hardwoods: Kambala, Padauk, Ovangkol and Bubinga, and blue, turquoise and lilac resins.  We're working on the rest of our first collection now and sorting some sexy looking backing boards for the pins to be displayed on.

Man Pins

We previewed all the above pieces at the recent Dundee Jewellery Trail, part of Scottish Jewellery Week, an event started this year and driven by the fantastic Kate Pickering. In two months the idea was conceived, planned and carried out, culminating in the Vanilla Ink End of Year Exhibition, '15 Years' an exhibition of 29 Scottish graduate jewellers works, a one day symposium hosted in collaboration with The Incorporation of Goldsmiths of presentations, panel talks, ‘Meet and Make’ networking lunch and, the Jewellery Trail! - a two day open studio event.  I'm looking forward to seeing and being part of making this week grow year by year...go Kate! And the rest of the Dundee Jewellery Massive!

The Workshop

I decided to do something special to mark the occasion so I spent the two days designing and making a kilt pin inspired by my friend Jamie Craig's photo of Dundee.  He takes brilliant photo's around Dundee along with a couple of his friends, you can find their work here - Bonnie Dundee Photography

I just need to get it hallmarked now though.....hallmarking's great and all but it sure is annoying that you can't just finish a piece properly in a weekend! Once hallmarked (waiting for my next batch of commissions to be ready for the same package) it will be available to buy in my online shop....that's right, my ONLINE SHOP! Whoop! There's finally some products in it...kinda the classics just now, some Biomorphs and a wee range of Ready to Wear Kilt Pins.  Got my friend Jody Mitchell, aka PixiJo, to help me out with some photo's of my jewellery on actual people, something I've not quite got round to doing before......thanks once again to the fabulous Jen and Kendal, thrust into my clothes and jewellery and made to stand around garages and doorways for a sunny and fun day!  Used some to make these promo images for the shop - otherwise known as From The Workshop - look out for them and give them a like and share on Facebook later today, would be mighty helpful :)

visit FROM THE WORKSHOP here >>>>

There's been some interesting commissions this summer too -

Silver Kilt Belt Buckle

Columbine Kilt Pin and Cufflinks

Charles Rennie Mackintosh inspired Kilt Pin with Initials

Edinburgh Skyline and Cat Tail Kilt Pin and Cufflinks with Date Notches

Hare Pendant with Diamond Eye

Bowls Bracelet

Granulated Platinum Engagement Ring with Diamonds and Pearl

Rod of Asclepius Lapel Pin with Ebony

Arran and Dundee Shooting Kilt Pin

Skull and Drumsticks Kilt Pin with Ruby and Diamond Eyes, Initials and Date Notches

The Four Friends

Got sucked into hills, islands, rocks, beaches, scenery and the beautiful beautiful stillness, wildness and emptiness of North Uist in July visiting friends. Just saw kilt pins and jewellery everywhere.....and the colours! An inspiring time.

Also been having a bit of fun over on Society6 recently, playing about turning Oddgon & Angular drawings into t-shirts, i-phone covers and all manner of things! 

The other exciting thing this summer has been playing with the Mackenzie Caledonian Pipe Band, we've had our best results in a long time this year getting 2nd in the Europeans and 5th in the Worlds and are now gearing up for a recording in November (don't worry, I'll tell you all where you can buy the CD ;) ) and a concert in the Gardyne Theatre in Dundee on February 27th next year.  Check us oot wi' all oor trophies :)

That's all for now, sorry about the massive blog, should really remember the little and often trick.... ah well.... to the workshop!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Kilt Pins, Plaid Brooch and Cufflinks

A few of the Kilt Pins I've recently been making.

A Plaid Brooch and a wee pair of Cufflinks too.

 Anchor Kilt Pin
Designed for someone in the Merchant Navy.

 Thistle and Shamrock Plaid Brooch with the initials C and G

 Lambton Worm Kilt Pin with Sapphire Eye
Based on the legendery creature that arose from the River Wear and was slain by Sir John Lambton.

 Murdoch Family Crest Kilt Pin

 Italy and Scotland Cufflinks

 Sword Kilt Pin with initials and Aquamarine

Thistle and Shamrock 2014 Kilt Pin

I've now opened an online shop! Hooray! As well as being able to buy kilt pins online you can now buy my jewellery too :) Having a bit of a soft launch to make sure it's working properly so click here to have a sneaky peek.

Still a lot more products to be added and extra photos of the ones available already, but please go check it out, any comments are greatly appreciated, thank you!


Friday, 18 April 2014

10 mins before band...

Oh what a beautiful day! Just cycled up the road from my workshop and now I'm sitting by my window in my flat overlooking sunny Dundee and the Tay...meant to be getting drum music ready to give to the kids at pipe band practice soon but thought I'd grab 10 minutes to write this as I've just done what I've done so many times and written a blog post in my thought I'd better get it down quick!

I write a lot of blog posts in my head, I used to do the same with diary entries.  I kept a journal style diary when I was a young teenager (the best time of life to do this I'd say!), stories of so many first times and happy memories, I'm glad I wrote them down!

It's not always the actual stories though, but seeing the pages and reading the words can jog the brain into new memories. I've always liked memories, and I've always been pretty good at remembering things from my childhood and how I felt as a child and growing up...I think it's important as an adult to remember these feelings and experiences, it's a thing none of us should ever lose.  But then as I started to grow up I wrote less often and used photographs instead, I have a couple of excellent photo albums (yes real photos!!) from my student days, all organised, and even a few VHS tapes of our silly times!

But now it's all online! It's what I love about the internet and social media, especially in my line of work, I feel so integrated with my work and everything I do feeds into inspiring what I'll make next, which then feeds out again into memory joggers of what I was doing/how I was feeling at the time. I record so much of my work, what inspires me or makes me happy on facebook or instagram that now it's like my diary.  A lot of people would say social media is an edited version of ourselves but of course it is, we edit ourselves as people for different situations all the time, always have done! A negative feeling might slip through on my personal facebook page now and again, maybe even on instagram, but the positive stuff is what I want to remember, I'll learn from the negatives.

Can't really remember the point I was trying to make, and I need to go and get ready now, but anyway I think it was something about I should write in this blog more :) I used to write a bit more personal stuff but I feel the last wee while has all been photos of kilt pins, mind you that is this and this is that anyway. I think it's just the sunshine making me feel all contemplatey (no time to find the correct word or sentence structure there)

Here's a photo of my lovely view :) .....must dash!

Friday, 31 January 2014

Last of the 2013 Kilt Pins

Well, I guess it's Happy New Year....wee bit late but there we go! Thought I'd share a selection of some of the bespoke Kilt Pins I worked on before Christmas with you before rambling on about what else I've been up to, so here you go!

Celtic Spanner 

Doon Pearl Kilt Pins
Outlines of the Rivers Ayr and Doon with the customers Doon Pearl halved.

Mustang Cobra Kilt Pin and Cufflinks
Silver and resin, inspired by the Mustang Cobra and the customers initials: CAM.

New Zealand Fern Kilt Pin, Brooch and Cufflinks
Fern done three ways!

New Zealand Kilt Pin with Koru

Twit Twoo!

Maori Tattoo Kilt Pin
Designed to match the clients tattoo.

Polynesian Turtle Kilt Pin

Bit of a theme running through a few of those designs, just coincidence! Isn't it strange how things turn out?  

Every now and then I get the chance to make things in other metals too! Below is an 18ct Gold pendant, made with the customers own chain and diamond.

So things have been busy in the workshop so far this year, and not too cold. (think that still might be to come....although so long as there's snow to ski on I'm happy!)

Been working on some wood and silver kilt pins with my workshop buddy Louise, something I've been wanting to get started on for a while so that feels great! She's been making an excellent selection of 'Man Pins' too, kilt pins/brooches from hardwoods...they are so beautiful! There's been a few photos from the workshop been posted on Instagram, follow @islayspalding and @louisecforbes for a peek at what's going on.

As well as some interesting Kilt Pin commissions, I'm working on an unusual engagement ring, getting to play with more metals by making platinum and palladium weddings rings, making bits and pieces of my new jewellery collection and finishing up a great big silver belt buckle!

Also got an interesting side project on the go creating some illustrations for an ebook, something a bit different! I love drawing so it's been fun but it made me realise it's been a while since I drew 'real' things, that aren't kilt pins and pieces of jewellery of course, looking forward to seeing it all come together, I'll let you know when it does! Meanwhile here's a sneaky peek - 
Time to stop procrastinating and head out in the rain, doing some big solders in the workshop this afternoon and got a cushion sale to visit later before band practice......have a good one!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Fairbairn-Sykes Kilt Pin

The Fairbairn-Sykes Kilt Pin is now available to buy!
Please have a look at my website for ordering details and delivery times.

The design is based on the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife, more commonly known as the Royal Marines Commando Dagger as it features in their insignia. The knife was made famous in World War II when issued to the British Commandos, the Airborn Forces, SAS and many other units, especially for the Normandy Landings in June 1944. (wikipedia)

The Kilt Pin is cast from solid Sterling Silver and each one is stamped with it's own edition number.  It measure 95mm in length and has an oxidised black handle and a brush finished blade.  The pin is made from a strong, silver coloured base metal and his hinged at the top with a rollover catch.  The Kilt Pin is hallmarked in Edinburgh and comes in a presentation box with a certificate of authenticity.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Kilt Pins, Brooches and Cufflinks

It seems that these three things have become my specialty of late!  Over the past couple of years my practice has taken a slightly different direction than what I originally intended, commissioned items are now mostly what I make. I do enjoy it, I really enjoy it! But I sometimes I feel the artist inside me misses exploring my own ideas rather than someone else's. (according to the little red wiggly line 'else's' isn't a word....well I don't know what else to say there so that's that.)

Plan to remedy that though, I should have a bit more free time soon as I'm leaving the OTC after 12 years, my other part of life as an Army Drum Major (again, never part of the plan..isn't it strange how life turns out) is coming to an end. I'm a bit sad, but mostly happy, and I've just spent an amazing couple of weeks in Moscow with them parading up and down Red Square so I feel satisfied with what I've done and ready to go.

So the plan is to turn some of the drawing I do into real life things! I've had money put aside for a print making session for ages now, it's something I've never done, but always fancied, and I'm terrible at making time for these things!! So, Tuesday nights (and the occasional weekend throughout the academic year, plus a week winter camp and 2 week annual camp) will now be drawing time! Yay! Pens and pencils, see you next Tuesday!

In the meantime, here is a selection of some of the commissioned pieces I've been making over the past, well 10 months really, not been too good at updating the ol' blog of late...preferring the quickness of Instagram really to fire up photos of work in progress and inspiration, so please follow me there if you use it, you'll find me @islayspalding. Also I'm better at pictures than words. :) Enjoy!

 Aberfeldy Mod Kilt Pin and Brooch
Designed as retirement presents for two committee members and to celebrate the Aberfeldy Mod's 90th Anniversary.  The kilt pin has a cut out of Loch Tay and the pipe score for 'The Atholl Highlanders'.  The brooch features the Lawers Range hill line and the suns rays, taken from the Royal National Mod's emblem, the overall shape is based on a ClĂ rsach.

 Bali Kilt Pin
Outline of Bali merging into an etching of a cycle route down Scotland and notches representing the date.

 Bird of Pray Kilt Pin
Date notches and hillscapes, roller printed feather texture.

 Borseth Crest Kilt Pin

 DLD Kilt Pin
The initials DLD with a thistle set into a notched frame.

 Fiddle Kilt Pin
Form inspired by the shapes found in the fiddle, date notches and a photo-etching of the score for 'Crossing the Minch'

 KJB Kilt Pin

 Lemonwood Kilt Pin

 LM Kilt Pin
The initials LM topped with a thistle head containing a garnet.

 Oak Leaf Kilt Pins
Two kilt pins made for a civil partnership, split by the River Don and containing a photo-etched oak leave design and notches representing the date.

 Old Man of Stor Kilt Pin
Hillscape of The Three Sisters on Skye running down the centre, topped off with layers of silver making the shape of the rock feature, The Old Man of Stor.

 Rose and Thistle Kilt Pin
A design inspired by the illustrations on the couples wedding stationary with the initials E and C wrapped round the stems.

 Dundee from Wormit Kilt Pin

 Thistle and Bee Kilt Pin and Cufflinks
The thistle and bee design is taken from the Ferguson Clan Crest.

Yin and Yang / Rhino and Swan Kilt Pin and Pendant
When sat together these pieces make a styalized yin and yang design and the co-orinates for the couples favourite viewpoint, etched into the silver, join up. The kilt pin is inspired by the horns of a rhino, and the pendant the neck of a swan. When together the notches represent the date of their owners wedding.

Thanks for reading/looking! And if this has inspired you please send your commission requests to love to hear your ideas!