Monday 1 December 2008

MADE08 - Brighton

Last weekend I was exhibiting at MADE08 in Brighton. My sister and I went down together on the train on the Wednesday for set up on Thursday. We had ten items of luggage to control including two shelves which was a bit crazy, especially with a hurried train change in Edinburgh because of a broken engine. We stayed in a Youth Hostel right by the pier which was lovely, coffee on the beach every morning.

The show was held in the Corn Exchange which was only a 10 minute walk from the hostel, handy! The set up went well, all to plan, and there was a private view on Thursday night. The show continued over the next three days.

I had a really good time, met loads of nice people and some new customers. It was an expensive trip but I think it was worth it, you really have to travel if you want to get your jewellery known and there's a lot more people down there than up here! Although I think I'm going to look at craft shows a little closer to home for next year, a little less risk!

Here are some photo's of some other people's designs that I liked -

Angela Kerkhoff

Barbara MacLeod

Dan Stafford

Helen Noakes

Joanne Tinker

John Moore

Laura Anne Marsden

Lesley Stickland

Lindsey Mann

Rachel Darbourne

Sarah Herriot

Tanja Ufer

Sunday 19 October 2008

New Workshop!

I'm well established in my new workshop now! It's great, the sink may be up some stairs but I've got used to the basins of water again pretty quickly!

As you can see it's just as messy, creative chaos!

I've been working on Christmas kilt pin commissions and jewellery for exhibitions and craft shows since I got back from the World of Walt. Also been doing a great job of ignoring my self assessment tax forms, boooo! Meeting the accountant tonight though so hopefully I'll get it all sorted out pretty quickly.

Here's a couple of close ups of my desk covered with lots of half finished jewellery, I'm really good at making half finished pieces!

I'd really like to do a wee write up of my time in Disney World but so far I've not found the time and I think keeping it short would be the biggest challenge. I've got such a huge amount of photos it's just silly. Makes you wonder, when you're old and showing photos to the grandkids it'll take years to get through them all at this rate!

Friday 12 September 2008

Bye Bye Garage

Tonight was my last night working in my garage workshop :(

I've stayed up far too late (it's quarter to six!) finishing a kilt pin, rings for an exhibition, a ring for a friend and a bunch of stuff to be hallmarked before I go away to Florida. (Still hasn't sunk in I'm really going yet, seems mad) Got a bit more to do tomorrow and a visit to my old school with a last minute jewellery order, yay! Thankfully providing some much needed dolla for holiday fund!

Here is my studio earlier on tonight, as you can see by the mess I've had lots going on!

I will miss it, I will especially miss the proximity to my bed! It's been a great workshop. But I am really looking forward to sharing a space with friends, I've been on my own for 3 years now and it feels like time for a change. Also, they have tools I can borrow! Cal, if you're reading this, buy that laith!

Fun times ahead me thinks!

Sunday 7 September 2008

7 more days till Disney!

Been a while! Lots has happened since I last wrote!

- Won Champion of Champions with my pipe band at Cowal! Whoo!

- Got a massive blood blister on my finger, hit it with a hammer :(

- Finished a long overdue necklace for the girl across the road to match an existing bangle.

- Started building our new workshop with my friend Adrian, getting better with an electric screwdriver!

- Started selling jewellery in a lovely wee shop in Perth called Boo Vake, here is their website.

- Went shopping in Glasgow and bought a pair of hareem pants for when I'm in Florida! I think they look fab, many would disagree!

- Confirmed two more exhibitions for over Christmas in Ferrers Gallery in Leicestershire and the Designs Gallery in Castle Douglas.

- Finished a beautiful kilt pin styled on the Iona Cross, probably the most traditional I've made but also one of my favourites.

Lots to do this week in preparation for trip to Disney World, so excited but this is not the time of year for jewellers to go on holiday! I'm also aiming to get my tax return done before I leave, ahh! Can't wait until I'm on that plane! Mickey! Here I come!!

Monday 25 August 2008

Gold Ring Kilt Pin and Pendant

I finished these fabulous pieces last week, they were commissioned as a wedding present for the Bride and Groom. The left side is a kilt pin and the right a pendant, and when they are joined together they complete the gold ring. The notches represent the date of the wedding.

Monday 18 August 2008

We did it!!! We won the Worlds!! Whoooooo!!!!

The Drum Corps

Me and my Mum
So happy! It was a fantastic day! The forecast was for rain but it managed to stay dry which was also a bonus and I had an advert for my kilt pins in the program! My first advert! For the rest of the results look here >> Our novice band came 8th in their grade.

Also that day the Courier, our local newspaper, published a feature on me and my jewellery. Please click here to read it. I am really pleased with the article as I was quite nervous about what was going to be written but I think it's a brilliant piece and the photos look really good too.

The band were at Crieff Games yesterday, I was so tired after my week of early starts doing my driving lessons and the day before (winning the Worlds gives you a hell of a hangover!) I managed to fall asleep in the shower trying to get ready in the morning. But it turned out to be a fun day, I had a lovely cheeseburger, some snoozing on the bus and dodgy judging! We got 2nd in Grade 3 and 1t in Grade 2.

So I'm having a bit of relaxing day today and a bit of a tidy up/sort out. My little sister is moving out today so I'm going to be moving my 'office' out of my tiny bedroom into her old room, well half of it, it's split in two from when my other sister, Sarah, and I stayed in there. I'm also moving workshops soon to a place in Dundee that I'll be sharing with a few friends. Starting to get a little bit stressed as I have all this to do plus making jewellery for up and coming exhibitions and craft shows and the Christmas rush, and my kilt pin commissions which are proving quite popular before I go away on the 15th September for two weeks. Although I am feeling quite postive about everything just now. Ahhh! Can't wait though! Going to Disney World in Florida and I'm sooooooooo excited, it's annoying when you want time to go slow and fast at the same time!

Friday 15 August 2008

Driving and Para-Gliding are fun!

I can drive!!!!

I've just finished a five day driving course! Although I've not sat my test yet, I'll be doing it sometime next week rather than tomorrow like the girl I did the course with as I'll be in Glasgow at the World Pipe Band Championships! Whoo! We have a good chance of winning grade 3a so I just hope we play well and it doesn't rain too hard!

This is me on my first day driving to Arbroath on the duel carriageway! Broooom Broom!!

Other exciting news, I was para gliding last night! Well, evening! My sister, Sarah, got a voucher for a para gliding lesson with a friend for her birthday and we've been meaning to go for ages but not been available at the right time. So after my day of driving yesterday we got a call from the guy saying it was good to go now of we were ready! So it was all very exciting and random! So we went up a hill between Perth and Dundee somewhere and did some gliding! It was great fun, a really nice smooth feeling, sort of like flying a nice big stunt kite but you're hanging underneath it. Stomach muscles a bit sore today though and I got dragged through a cow pat!


I finished this Kilt Pin recently, it was commissioned for a birthday present. The circles are inspired by a camera lens.

I've got a couple of other Kilt Pins on the go and I've just finished putting together bracelets and necklaces made from resin shapes and chain. They are really fun and colourful! They are getting hallmarked just now so I'll put a photo up soon!

Right must go, band practice!

Tuesday 29 July 2008

European Champions!!

Whoooooo Hooooo!! MacKenzie Caledonian Pipe Band - European Champions 2008!!

I've just spent the weekend in Lisburn playing at the European Pipe Band Championships where we got first in grade 3a! Bring on the Worlds! (16th August, Glasgow Green)

Other stuff I've been up to this month....... spent a week in Nice, very nice! Did an interview for Made08's Maker of the Week Blog, cracked on with some more Kilt Pin commissions (couple of new photo's on my website) and finished these rings and bangles called Biocubes.

Friday 4 July 2008

Barcelona and Zaragoza

I'm back from Spain! I've had a great week, lot's of sun, Gaudi, jamón y queso sandwiches, cerveza, espresso and walking! So here's a quick (!) rundown of my holiday and some photo's.

My dad and I arrived in Barcelona at lunchtime and after dumping our stuff at the hotel and changing into our summer clothes we headed out for the first of many coffees. Found a nice little cafe round the corner from our hotel which also had a good cocktail menu and selection of tapas. Then we set off in the direction of Park Guell, I've been a big fan of Gaudi for ages so I was really looking forward to seeing his architecture and designs. It was a fairly long walk from our hotel but that's how I prefer to see a city, it's the best way to get a feel for it and you always see unexpected things. Barcelona is one of these city's were all the buildings have something interesting about them, also the streets are wide and there are lot's of trees about, really nice to walk about in.

Found this guy playing an instrument called a Hang at an entrance to the park......want one!

The park is beautiful, full of nooks and crannies that we didn't have time to explore properly, some day I will definitely be back though and spend a day adventuring.

Some windows on buildings by Gaudi at the park.

Mosaic tiles on Gaudi's famous bench.

On our first evening we stumbled across the St John's Eve celebrations. We heard loads of fireworks going off and followed this huge crowd of people and ended up on the beach which was jam packed with all sorts of people! Everyone had fireworks and bangers which were going off all over the place, you really had to watch your feet! There were samba bands, fire jugglers and people in costumes with big sticks with sort of catherine wheel style fireworks going off on the end running about. It was totally unexpected and the atmosphere was electric, everyone was having so much fun and we saw no trouble, it was the kind of celebrations that just couldn't happen in the UK without some drunken yobs ruining it all.

On our second day we headed to Zaragoza where Expo 2008 is being held. Expo is also known as the World Fair, the first being held in Crystal Palace in 1851.

I didn't really know what to expect from Zaragoza but it's actually a really beautiful city, full of nice churches, shops and a nice leisure complex beside the river with outdoor pools and sports pitches. Not many people spoke English but thanks to my friend Katie I had a Spanish phrase book with me and quickly figured out how to ask for a beer! In the square there is a gorgeous church with towers and colours tiles on the roofs called Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Basilic of the Pilar), it's a magnificent building.

Fountains in Pilar Square and nice buildings.

The Expo was amazing! Full of clever and imaginative design, ideas and displays. I would recommend to anyone if they ever get the chance to visit one. The theme was water and sustainable development and there are over 100 countries participating (rather disappointingly no UK). Each country had it's own section of the pavilions to exhibit what they wanted which ranged from state of the art technology showing films and animations to creative interior spaces featuring water features and objects to dance and gastronomy. There were also exhibition spaces in buildings and structures that tied together the overall theme, plenty of decently priced eating places, stages for concerts (Bob Dylan is playing there in July) and three bridges built for the event.

One of the bridges.

Expo at night. The place was beautifully lit and there was entertainment and food well into the night.

The main structure of the event, an internatianally renowned bridge complete with exhibition space and space age sliding doors.

After spending three nights in Zaragoza we headed back to Barcelona. By the way Spanish trains are nothing like here in the UK. They are so clean, efficent, spacious and every seat comes with a pair of earphones as they show films although they are more expensive and they have a pretty strange system for buying return tickets!

Over the next three days we visited our rooftop pool, Casa Milà, the fort on Montjuic by cable car, the beach, Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Palau Guell, Le Ramble and saw the Font Magica from Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, and Spain winning the European Cup.

The interior of an apartment in Casa Milà in it's original 1920's style. Ths building was designed by Gaudi on the request of Pere Milà and his wife Roser Segimon so they could live in the bottom apartment and rent out the rest of the building.

Chimneys on the roof.

The two courtyards let natural light into every room.

Casa Batllo, another Gaudi classic.

There were a lot of scooters in Barcelona, looked like so much fun!

Looking up at the Sagrada Familia, that's Jesus sitting up there on the bridge between the towers.

The interior of the main section of the church. Gaudi's idea was that it would look like a forest with tree like pillars supporting a roof of leaves and holes of light. As you can see the builders are still hard at work! They estimate it should take another 25-30 years to finish, I can't wait to see it again and I really hope I get to see it finished, it's easily my favourite building in the world!

The Nativity façade which features story's from the bible and a wee baby Jesus above the door with Mary and Joseph. The walls are also covered with words, animals and plants, half from the land and half from the sea. The pillars on either side of the door are supported by turtles, one a sea turtle and one a tortoise. Everything means something and is there for a reason, the whole building tells a story and the really exciting bit is there's still more to come. Eight of the twelve bell towers are already built and are over 100 meters high and there will be two more huge towers, the 170 meter high central dome in honour of Jesus Christ and the tower of the Virgin Mary standing at 125 meters plus others to make eighteen in total. A whole block of flats will have to be destroyed to create a park outside the main entrance (the Façade of Glory, this has still to be completed) which will be reached by a bridge over the road and provide a point from which to view the whole building.

Detail on doors.

It’s such an interesting building I could go on about it for hours but already this blog is way to long! So, amazing holiday, thanks Daddy! And now I’d better get down to some serious work and drumming practice, I’m off again to Nice in eight days, I don’t think I’ve ever had holidays so close together! Speaking about drumming practice, my pipe band MacKenzie Caledonian won the British Championhips (grade 3A) while I was away! Whooo hooo! It’s the European Champs after my trip to Nice so hopefully we can do the same again!