Saturday 19 November 2011

This and That

Why hello there! It's been a wee while, I've just realised my business and I have turned another year older since my last post, yay! So what have I been up to you may ask? This and that.... had a braw weekend in Germany performing with my pipe band where I got to open the show with a solo drum fanfare which was pretty exciting, made some cracking kilt pins (if I may say so myself), doing a bit of drum teaching....and learning, played my fiddle a lot recently which has been lovely and just sent some jewellery down south to the Chapel Gallery in Lancashire for their Christmas Exhibition - Objects of Desire

Biomorphs at the Chapel Gallery, Lancashire

And here are some of those kilt pins I was boasting about -

Drum Major's Mace Kilt Pin

Miners Pick Kilt Pin

Lotus Elise Father & Son Kilt Pins

Crabbit Midge Kilt Pin

Set Square Kilt Pin

SA80 Bayonet Kilt Pin

Germany was a pretty whistle stop tour, mostly on a bus, that fortunately sold beer, but we did get to see a bit of culture, as well as provide it of course!  We stumbled across this brilliant house in Braunsheweig and a church with some amazing stained glass.

Happy Rizzi House

Stained Glass Window in St. Magni Church

A much bigger stained Glass Window in St. Magni Church

We also stopped off in Köln for a couple of hours, saw the massive cathedral, helped/annoyed some buskers and drank some beer.

Köln Cathedral

Gerhard Richter Pixel Window

Nice Mosaic!

Even some thistles

That's all for now!  Is it too early?.... Probably not...ok here goes because I probably won't be back for a while.... hope you all have a lovely Christmas! 

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Gordon Duncan Kilt Pin and Necklace

I was honoured to be asked to make a Kilt Pin and Necklace for the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust recently.  They were presented to the compères Gary West and Fiona Ritchie at the fifth annual Gordon Duncan concert, A National Treasure V, on Saturday night.  The design for the Kilt Pin was based around the Gordon Duncan skeleton logo (read here for the full story!), the Necklace for Fiona has a design based on radio transmission waves on the front and the logo on the back.

And here's the flyer I made for the occasion, hope you picked one up!

Friday 19 August 2011

Biocubes at Black Box Boutique

I sent a new collection of Biocubes down to Black Box Boutique in Edinburgh last week. If you haven't visited this wee gem of a shop yet then you must! It's filled with curious delights of the jewellery, textiles, ceramics and illustration kind and situated on West Bow Street in the Grassmarket. Run by jeweller Hannah Livingston the shop showcases not only the work of the talented makers but an interior created by Board Stupid furniture designers, branding created by Rydo and an in-house jewellery studio where Hannah Livingston and Sarah Brown create their work, all fellow ex-DoJers I'm proud to add!

Double Sided Biocube Pendant
Biocube Rings and Ear Studs
Biocube Earrings

Here's the Batman Kilt Pin I mentioned in my last blog, this particular Batman logo comes from Warner Bros Batman Beyond animated series in 1999. Did you realise there were lots of different Batman logos? I didn't! Great wee video showing the evolution here>>

Batman Kilt Pin

Managed to escape reality, and pipe bands, for a few days this week and spent some relaxation time in the cutest wee bothy on the shores of Loch Shieldaig under the impressive Torridon Mountains, I really needed it and I find it so inspiring to be surrounded by the Scottish scenery even if it comes with midgies!

Thursday 4 August 2011

Kilt Pins and Thritty Pings

Hope you're all having a fun summer and are getting the time to catch some rays!  I've been busy in my workshop, enjoying lunches outside in the sunshine and back competing with the pipe band again so it's all go!  I've quite a few things to show and tell!  Let's start with some Kilt Pins, four commissioned and a wee treat for myself.

Himalayas Kilt Pin
A client gave me this gorgeous big Citrine to set in a kilt pin alongside a hillscape of the Himalayas, as seen from Darjeeling. It is the biggest stone I've ever set and I enjoyed the challenge. This is something I love about making bespoke kilt pins, I'm always getting interesting requests which lead me onto learning new things down paths I might not have explored by myself. Whether it's techniques, working with different materials, history, geography or the evolution of the Batman logo (that one's coming soon!) it keeps my head buzzing with ideas.

Brindisi Column Kilt Pin

Banff Kilt Pin

Loch Trool Kilt Pin

Composition Kilt Pin
The Composition Kilt Pin was the wee treat for myself, to wear at my first pipe band competition of the season at the weekend there in Ireland, not that it brought us much luck!  I hope to make more in a similar sort of way over the next couple of months and actually get something for sale online, they are really great fun to make, kinda like sketching in metal.

Kenmore Kilt Pin and Cuff Links

These cuff links were made to match this kilt pin, a commission from last year, the shape is taken from the bridge at Kenmore and they have the mottos from the Bruce and Hunter Clans etched into them.

I've been lucky enough to have the help of two interns this summer, Sheila who is just about to go into 2nd year at Duncan of Jordanstone, and Lizzie who is embarking on her final year.  It's been a massive help to have them in the workshop and really fun to have new people around, I love my own space but a change is nice!

Lizzie hammering her ring

I've been having some fun recently with shrink plastic, a relaxing departure from expensive lumps of silver - think shrinking crisp packets in the oven when you were wee - making little earrings, kirby grips and brooches.  They're called Thritty Pings and are available to buy at The Tayberry Gallery in Perth.  The idea came about when I was struggling for something to put in my hair for a recent wedding, couldn't find anything that wasn't flowers or feathers! So I got out my pens and colours and made myself a hair clasp from a few pieces of shrink plastic I'd bought ages ago, this inspired me to see what else I could make with it and I'm really happy with the results and very grateful to my wee sister at The Tayberry Gallery for giving me shelf space for random ideas!

Lots of Thritty Pings

Right better head to the workshop, working on a new collection of Biocubes that will be heading to the Black Box Boutique in Edinburgh this month as well as some Strange Quarks and Melty Snarks bound for an exhibition and jewellery party hosted by the ACJ and The Tayberry Gallery at the end of this month.  This month's a busy one!  Pipe band competitions every weekend, two weddings, one I'm playing fiddle at so that needs to be seriously practised(!), a hill walk planned, kilt pin orders to complete so I'd better get on, stop talking about things and start doing! GO ISLAY GO!


On a side note.... look how my bedroom view has changed!  (And the blinkin weather)

Sunday 10 July 2011

New Jewellery in Edinburgh

Restocked Concrete Wardrobe and the Open Eye Gallery in Edinburgh on Friday with colourful Biomorphs and Biohoops.

In Concrete Wardrobe I came across some beautiful wooden jewellery by Adrian Baird Ba Than, you can see more pictures and info over on the Made By Crafty Hands blog.

 And here's a sneaky peek at some pretty wee things I've been making! 

Friday 3 June 2011

Getting Going

Had my first proper day of work again, through in Perth at my sister Sarah's shop - The Tayberry Gallery.  Did more chatting than working but did manage to finish a necklace, on sale now of course in the aforementioned Tayberry Gallery, from peg to shelf in the matter of minutes, how satisfying!  The necklace is part of me and Sarah's joint jewellery collection we've been working on together, I don't have a photo of it, but here's a couple of brooches and some cufflinks instead!

Went out for a wee walk (big walk for me right now!), Perth was beautiful today!  Popped into meet Janet Eagleton, renowned sporran maker, to bend her ear a bit about sporran cantles, something I hope to start exploring soon, I've got some awesome ideas!  Visited Boo Vake as well for a wee chat with the lovely Arlene and a browse of her quirky and colourful shop.  Got all inspired by the worn sandstone with pebbles poking through on the Perth Bridge, ideas forming for my first box designs, another project for this year. I recently completed a commission for a set of boxes and I enjoyed making them so much and now I just want to make more, I like the lid thing, there's something so joyful about opening something up to see what's inside!  And here they are!....

They were designed to celebrate the adoption of a couples two children, one box for each member of the family.  The design on top is based on the landscape of Corrie Fee and Glen Clova, the centre point being the location of the couples marraige.  The hilly ring holds the four boxes together symbolising the everlasting bond of the family.

Couple more kilt pins made recently too.... and of course! if you haven't seen it already! my (almost finished :/) scrubbed up kilt pin website!

Glen Brig Kilt Pin and Cufflinks

Arran Kilt Pin

Excited to be showing four pieces at Treasure, part of London Jewellery Week, next week with the ACJ!  Here they are!........

That's all for now folks!

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Sitting down

What a silly few weeks I've had!  After finishing a challenging commission for a set of four silver boxes I'd rolled up my sleeves up further and spent three days destroying a monstrous to do list culminating in playing at a Mess Dinner with the OTC band and then drinking too many sambucas in Liquid nightclub (I know, I swore I'd never go there), I was looking forward to my Thursday tootling about the flat and taking it easy!  But my day off was ruined by a sore tummy, assuming I had the sickness bug my sister had a few days earlier I just felt incredible sorry for myself and did a lot of writhing.  After a sleepless night my sister made me phone the doctor, I got an emergency appointment and hopped in a taxi in my joggys assuming it would be no worse than a trip to the pharmacy for a big box of laxatives.  But they sent me to the hospital!! A long wait on an uncomfortable gynae trolley (actually at this point even a cloud would be uncomfortable), x-ray, CT scan and not forgetting the disappointing enema later I was told my right bowel was twisted and they'd have to cut a bit out and stitch it up again - a right hemicolectomy for all you doctors out there!

So while I was meant to be spending Saturday night celebrating the first pipe band competition of the year for us mighty Mac Cal's instead I was in surgery, luckily I found the whole thing extremely fasinating!  I spent a few days in hospital when I was 5 with a fractured skull and have pretty clear memories of it (the only day I went to school dinners in Primary School I fell in the playground, it was mince pie, I didn't like mince pie) but I'd never even had stitches, never mind drips, cannulas, catheters and a down my throat.  Fortunately the latter two got removed before I had hit reality, damn morphine's good! But the whole experience, although obviously I wouldn't want to repeat it, was pretty interesting!

I had a couple of days with my PCA morphine feeling dead perky, had lots of visitors, cards, lego and nice messages which I was sneaking a look at on my mobile, read magazines and books, had snoozes and did lots of people watching, a hospital ward is brilliant for this! Some interesting characters indeed! And I was lucky to have some great nurses and doctors, especially my sisters boyfriend Luke who works there as a doctor and popped in to give me the low down everyday and kept my mum informed during my surgery, that actually made a huge difference and totally put me at ease.  It's scary how quickly the simplest things can suddenly become such a challenge, it seems a bit unreal now how pleased I was just to get into the chair myself.  On the Tuesday they took my morphine away and a got my first taste of hospital food, some clear soup and jelly... bleurg!  Bit of a downer that day and started noticing annoying things, like the lack of anywhere to put things down in the toilets and shower rooms - for the want of a shelf!  Staff moving your table away when you've spent so long getting everything within arms reach and being left wandering about dragging your drip trying to find a nurse to hand your piss pot to!  But I was recovering fast and two more days and wards later I was punted oot with a big bag of painkillers and lots of new lego to build!
So overall my hospital experience was pretty good, the nurses all seem to work so hard but it does seem they are short of staff, there's certainly no time for anything but the necessities when it comes to care and if you don't ask you probably don't get.

So now I'm at my parents house getting looked after and doing some convalescing, done a lot of film watching and lego building, some drawing, finally finished my new Kilt Pin website, no wait, that's a lie, the shop is still on hold... arg! Go look anyway! - - gave the rest of it a bit of a scrub up to and uploaded loads of new jewellery photos, so that's something productive!  Still got a couple of months accounts to do...(been putting that one off!) and some design drawings I should be getting on with, so plenty of sitting down type activities!  This is one of those times I wish I had an employer to give me sick pay! Aim to ease myself into workshop next week, be ready for ceilidh dancing and a bouncy journey from Rum to Mallaig in a RIB by the 19th, and then paintballing by the first weekend in July, and of course be ready to wear a drum again for the European Pipe Band Championships in Ireland in July!

Right enough about me, sorry about the pure wall of text! Next post will be about JEWELLERY! Yay!

Oh, and moral of the story - Don't go to Liquid Nightclub or school dinners.

Me with my pal the morphine button and copy of Viz

Monday 18 April 2011

The Tayberry Gallery

Exciting news!!  The Tayberry Gallery in Perth is open for business under the new management of my talented sister Sarah Spalding.  After a month of hard work making the premises her own, finding new stockists, creating a website and moving her workbench into the gallery (that's just the fun stuff!) The Tayberry Gallery reopened on April 1st 2011.  It stocks a broad mixture of jewellery (some of mine!), ceramics, painting, wood, textiles, photography and glassware, visit the website here

 And the Courier did this great wee article all about it!

 As well as some new stock on the shelves of the Tayberry Gallery I recently sent some pieces down to Franny and Filer in Manchester - 

Been pretty busy over the last month trying to get a long overdue commission finished..... but more about that later.... as well as lots of marching about in a kilt.  Got a (lucky) second place with Tayforth OTC Pipes and Drums at our inter OTC competition, Exercise Northern Lights, held at the glorious Stirling Castle, an excellent venue for prancing about with a mace.  Had a speedy trip down to Warcop to visit the ducks and play at our Passing Out Parade for the first years.  And I'm just back from a week up in Inverness teaching cadets at Cameron Barracks.   So looking forward to spending some quality time at the bench this week, going to be hard to keep inside when the weather is so nice though, barbecue tonight and another planned for tomorrow! Well you gotta enjoy it while you can!

Oh, and I made some kit pins!
Hebditch Kilt Pin
family name, rose, yorkshire dales

Canna Kiltpin
isles of canna and sanday

Hunting Kilt Pin
pheasant shooting and hay bales

Not super happy with my photos just now, needed a lot of photoshopping.... stoooopidly managed to lose my fav wee camera.  Thanks to ebay though I have a new old one coming in the post so that's pretty exciting, and I found my glasses so that's good news too. Right, time for sleeps, good night!