Friday 31 December 2010

Bye Bye 2010

Well here it is, the last day of 2010, it's been a funny old year, lots of ups and downs, things gained and things lost. I'm sitting at the table in front of the window just now looking out at the harr upon the Tay, it's a beautiful last day and I'm looking forward to the drive across to Skye soon to spend Hogmany with some dear old friends. So as a wee end of year blog post here's my three favourite creations this year.

Paua Shell Kilt Pin

Ruby Flower Power Necklace

Green Small Worlds Pendant

I hope you all had a good Christmas and all your presents made it through the post, and if not, hey you have some to look forward too! I was very pleased with the response to the christmas decorations I emailed out this year instead of cards, many of you indulged my decorating desires and sent me your photos of it in situ, it pleased me greatly!

Now, must go pack a bag, there's plenty of adventures round the corner and the sun is shining outside, all the best for 2011 and lang may yer lum reek!

Tuesday 9 November 2010

New jewellery in galleries in time for Christmas!

I recently restocked four galleries with jewellery for the Christmas season. (Can't believe it's that time!)

The Victoria Sewart Gallery in Plymouth now have a collection of Biomorph Rings, Brooches and Necklaces a well as jewellery from over 40 other designers, the gallery also runs jewellery making classes from their workshop.

These pieces went to my local stockists, the DCA Shop in Dundee, Biomorph Rings, Brooches and Earrings and Biodrip Pendants. The DCA is well worth a visit for Christmas presents, as well as jewellery and ceramics they have a range of inspired gifts, magazines and notebooks.

The Open Eye Gallery in Edinburgh received a collection of Biomorphs and a couple of the popular Biocube Rings which sit alongside an exciting and ever changing exhibition of contemporary fine and applied art.

And last but definitely not least with it's wonderfully sparkly floor, Jewel Thief in Brighton have a new collection of Sweet Sweet Chains and Bracelets as well as Biomorphs and a Biohoop Brooch.

If you live near one of these galleries what are you waiting for? Every piece of jewellery I make is completely unique so if you see a piece that you like you'd better snap it up soon!

Sunday 10 October 2010

Trip to Shetland

Last week I spent two days on the beautiful Shetland Islands, it was business but just as much pleasure!
I flew (got blown) up to Sumburg from Aberdeen in a tiny two prop plane early on Tuesday morning and driven over the runway and up through the main island to Weisdale, home of Shetland Jewellery. After a tour around their workshop and showroom I chatted to the staff and makers and learnt a lot about how a jewellery workshop of that style runs, quite different to my own wee business but I have come away inspired with lots of useful ideas on how I can improve the running of my own practice. Then I visited the companies shop in Lerwick, J G Rae's, and had a nice wee walk about the town, I particularly liked all the tiny wee streets and sandy inlets near the harbour.

That evening I was treated to some home cooked fresh Shetland salmon, yum! On Wednesday after another morning in the workshop I had lunch at the Weisdale Mill (more salmon!), which houses the Bonhoga Gallery, unfortunately it was in between exhibitions but I had a good root around their very well stocked shop! Then back to Lerwick for an afternoon in the Shetland Museum, I could have easily spent the whole day in there! There was lots about the geology of the islands and early life which I love learning about and the next morning (with my hangover from the Lounge) I managed to squeeze in a visit to Clickhimin Broch to experience one of these early settlements for real.

Outside the Shetland Gallery there is an interesting installation called the Shetland Receivers which is made up of four dishes on posts made from local materials each containing a speaker which plays clips of conversation, sound and music recorded in Shetland or sourced from the Shetland Archives. An anemometer controls the recordings so that on a calm day long sections of the clips can be heard and on a really windy day the clips merge into one another. There are also lights on top that illuminate a box of shetland wool blue and turn on and off in response to the wind speed.

I didn't take many photos of this as it started raining pretty hard so I had to hide in a pub :)

I met loads of brilliant folk, saw some crazy Norwegian accordion playing and found a place I loved and know will visit again, topped off with a drive back to Sumburg in the most glorious sunshine and the most thorough search at an airport I've ever had!


Tuesday 31 August 2010

New Jewellery

I've just sent some new jewellery to two galleries down south. These silver Rope Rings are now available to buy from Artifex in Birmingham and the Biomorph earrings and necklaces from Franny and Filer in Manchester.

My Biomorphs are inspired by the forms and colours found in the surrealist art of Desmond Morris, Wassily Kandinsky, Yves Tanguy and Joan Miro. Each one is made individually from sterling silver and filled with resin, which is dyed, shaped and finished by hand so every Biomorph is unique. The word Biomorph was coined by Desmond Morris who used it to descibe something which is not quite plant but not quite animal either, something in between. Please visit my website here>> to see more Biomorph designs.

I have an evening in the workshop to do now, with pizza, getting some kilt pins, cufflinks and bangles ready for posting to the assay office for hallmarking. And then a couple days to get lots of other odds and ends tied up, bags packed, shirts ironed and shoes polished for I have a busy couple of weeks ahead of me!

On Friday I'm off to Helmsdale with a few members of the ACJ for a day of gold panning on Saturday, then returning on Sunday to go straight to Edinburgh for five days on the Drum Major course at the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming (hence the show polishing and ironing! should perhaps add 'buy port' to that list too) then home again on Friday night to change kilts for Pitlochry games on the Saturday, really keen to camp in Pitlochry since it's the last competition of the season but that I'll decide when I see the weather forecast, then back to Edinburgh for another five days of drum majoring! Phew! And already the 'to do' list for my return is looking rather daunting!

Stand at ease, Stand easy!

Saturday 21 August 2010

Long Overdue

How time flies when you're having fun! I feel like I've been chasing my tail all summer, managed to pack a fair few things into the last couple of months though! Camping, walking, out on the boat at Castle Sween, Piping Live, pipe band competitions and of course, making lots of kilt pins and even some Biomorphs for the first time in ages!

And some exciting news! I am now featured in the Who is Who in Gold and Silver Goldsmiths Company Directory on the Goldsmiths website, go and have a look!

Here's some of the jewellery I've created in the last wee while -

Skiers Kilt Pin

Lerryn Kilt Pin

Necklace for Willa - made from parts of a gold ring and amethyst

Dark Isle Kilt Pin and Cufflinks

Dark Isle Kilt Pin in Action!
Photograph by Steven Seymour

Kildrummy Kilt Pin

Bike Wheel Cufflinks

Ring for Ann-Marie

So lots done and lots more to do! Away to crack on!

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Happy Customers!

I recently made these three kilt pins for the Groom, Best Man and Father of the Groom to wear on the big day. As you can probably tell they are avid Dundee Football Club supporters!

I thought this was a good photo of surprised faces!

And on Sunday, at Strathmore Highland Games, this finely dressed young chap was spotted sporting an Islay Spalding Kilt Pin. I was commissioned to make this a couple of years ago by hs girlfriend and was inspired by his love for rock formations. The blue resin was coloured to match his kilt.

It's a beautiful day in Dundee today, not going to waste it so going for a wee walk up a hill with a picnic and a camera.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Cameron Barracks

Just back from a week of Summer Camp with the OTC, up in Cameron Barracks again and I took some photos this time! It was a week of guard duty, band practice, learning stick drill, doing kit and fun times in the mess. Also some great gigs, played at the Atholl Gathering with the Atholl Highlanders which was a great honour and something really special to me and at Stirling Castle with the Glasgow OTC and the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. Plus the weather was awesome!

Now I need to switch my jewellery head back on!

Sunday 2 May 2010


Well it's been a wee while since my last post and a month of changes and new things, also my first month of being single in 6 years. So although it feels like time is constantly whizzing by, when I think back to the start of the month it seems a long time ago now.

I spent the first week up in Inverness teaching army cadets the side drum at Cameron Barracks, which, for aesthetics and history, is my favourite army camp I've visited with the OTC (nothing beats Cultybraggan for pure kwality!) That's maybe a kind of un-armyish way to look at things but it's what I find important! And also probably a good qualification for a Drum Major. This is one of the new things....... I am training to (hopefully!) take over as Drum Major when our current Drummy retires this summer and last weekend got thrown in at the deep end at the last minute and was Drum Major at our unit's Pass Out Parade. This was a pretty big step for me, it's very very different being at the front of the band and being responsible for what they are doing and where we are going as opposed to hiding at the back and following the person in front! So I'm glad my first parade is done and looking much more forward to the next one!

Another new thing is a new flat! Got the keys just after I came home from Inverness but still not moved into it properly, stressing me out a bit being between three places now and really looking forward to moving in proper, especially for the 10 minute walk to the workshop! Hooray! But stupidly I thought the time it takes to move stuff and first of all build my amazing but slightly ambitiously designed platform bed, shelves and desk plan to put everything in would magically appear, but it hasn't and already I'm feeling the pressure a little to get a big bulk of work done before I'm away again for a week of Annual Camp at the end of this month. But hey, at least the OTC are paying us again! You can just see our beautiful view of Dundee and the Tay out our living room window in this photo -

Ok, enough typing, some pictures of lovely Kilt Pins perhaps??

This Kilt Pin was based on the shield and spear design on the Kenyan flag.

This Kilt Pin was a first for me as it was made exactly to the customers specifications with very little design input from me, this is the drawing he gave me to design from -

I've also been doing some more work on a garden sculpture I've been working on for a while now, it's going to be a large copper version of a french onion plant and there's a smaller silver version on the way too. Here's some shots of its progress -

And to finish off, my jewellery bench today, better get back to work!