On the train to Goldsmiths Fair!

So… Its been a while…

Not through lack of things to blog about but because I’ve been prioritising, not just in work but in life too, spending an hour or two doing an update is time that could be spent in the studio or spent squeezing in some me time at the swimming pool.


Since finding out that I would be exhibiting at Goldsmiths Fair things have become increasingly busy to the point where friends have asked when I’m going to be human again and when they are going to see me next! The slightly worrying thing is that I don’t seem to notice that life is racing past and I forget even my closest friends Birthdays (sorry Anna!), so I think that the work/life balance is something that definitely needs more consideration when planning events for next year, I’m sure when I’m older I’ll appreciate having had those extra trips to the pool and staying in touch with people I care about. I have my husband to thank for dragging me out to socialise now and then, if it wasn’t for him I would probably end up being a hermit jeweller, getting my groceries delivered and adopting all the neighbourhood cats.

At the moment though I am still very much enjoying things and have the energy and enthusiasm to pull consecutive late nighters in the workshop, keep on top of the housework and do some volunteering. Its just as well as I have the Goldsmiths Fair in London next week from the 23rd-29th, Lustre in Nottingham from the 8th-10th of November, Selected at the Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh from the 29th of November till the 21st of December and then in early 2014 I’ll be participating in another exciting event that I can’t reveal yet! On the volunteering side of things I am the youngest (by a long shot) director of The Isle Martin Trust which manages our beautiful community asset Isle Martin.

little me on Isle Martin in the 1990’s. Wish I still had that dress, what an awesome print!

As well as all that I have had some commissions including a lovely set of wedding bands for some friends Nick and Annie. The clients wanted to use some sentimental old gold jewellery as well as some new Scottish gold that Nick had panned for, this resulted in two rings that had far more meaning than something off the shelf.

Made using the clients old jewellery. Melted down and cast into wire to form the rings with granulation details in Scottish panned for gold. Romantic indeed!

Persistence paying off

Having become more comfortable with visiting London on my own after attending New Designers then New Designers “One Year On” I applied for a HI-Arts travel bursary to visit Goldsmiths Fair 2011 – “the most important, prestigious event of its kind in Europe”. It was a fantastic event with a great mix of jewellery styles and silversmithing, enough variation over the two weeks to draw me in to almost every one of the 180 displays. I was so overwhelmed by the place and the fantastic atmosphere that I decided then and there that this was going to be my next big goal in life – to get in to Goldsmiths Fair.

Goldsmiths Fair is one of the few shows to offer a realistic package for recent graduates, you can apply within 5 years of graduating, you get a free stand, a bursary and a zero interest bullion loan. So far I have only seen other shows offer a reduced rate for a stand. When your starting out the investment needed for just producing enough stock for a show is daunting! I applied for this package for the 2012 show with little hope of getting in but with the realisation that I had 4 more attempts to try and get in. I was inevitably un-successful.

I applied for their Who’s Who in Gold and Silver web directory early in 2013 and though they sent me a very encouraging and complementary letter I was un-successful in getting approved for the listing. Having just been rejected for this I knew there was no chance they would approve me for Goldsmiths Fair 2013 with the same images in the application, but I decided to put one in anyway so that they could see I was still interested and would be on record for the following year as having applied the previous two years.

Late last week I got the Goldsmiths marked envelope, it was a bit heavier than the year before but I just assumed they had changed the format of their response. I tore it open in my usual manner as I walked back up to the cabin, another package tucked under my arm, I skimmed down looking for “we regret…” or “sorry” or any other negative confirmation. Then I carefully read it again, not quite believing that they had missed out the rejection part, surely they wouldn’t disguise it in the letter somewhere, using big complicated words in an attempt to ease the blow. I double checked that it was indeed my name on the top of the letter. Re-read it again. I had got in. I picked up the phone to call my husband and then put the phone down just so I could check and be doubly sure that I wasn’t making some horrible delusional mistake. I hadn’t been mistaken, I had been accepted!

Just then the fish van arrived blaring its horn us it revved up the driveway, I ran down and couldn’t stop grinning as I ordered some hot smoked salmon, fresh crab and dabs, the fishmonger had the courtesy to ask me if I was celebrating as the total stacked up and I quickly told him, he was already running half an hour late so didn’t want to hold him up with the details but he got the gist.

My next goal is to start making a living from my business and be able to attend a couple of shows a year under my own steam.

New Course in Ullapool

Very much looking forward to teaching this new course in Ullapool this summer. Eleanor White at Bridge House Art has been a fantastic inspiration to me over the years so I hope I can do her proud in teaching a small class of 6 people over a weekend to make something pretty in silver.

This course is now available for bookings through the Bridge House Art Website!

This course is now fully booked but keep up to date about a potential autumn weekend course and evening classes on Facebook


My Cabin with studio behind
My Cabin with studio behind

So after an exhausting week in Glasgow, at the Student Designers workshop New Fangled, have caught up on sleep and ready to enjoy the holidays!

New Fangled was a really inspiring experience and the perfect antidote to a certain interview that I had recently. #NF12 needs a post of its own but right now I want to express my excitement at having a wee break.

My husband and I will be up early on Thursday morning to drive from Ullapool to Strathblane near Glasgow where we will be enjoying 10 whole days of mountain biking, walks, TV and raiding his parents fridge (in exchange for leniency on the fridge raiding we will collect and decorate the tree to a pre agreed standard). Fingers crossed that the weather holds off and we can get safely down the A9 without too much snow! I wouldn’t want to miss out on my usual jobs of preparing the sprouts and doing the pigs-in-blankets, jobs requiring the diligence of a jeweller (I actually always offer to do the pigs-in-blankets as I like to make sure there is definitely enough as its one of my favourite parts of the meal!) . Then back up the road on the 30th in time to celebrate the New Year with old friends.

I have one day in the workshop left before settling back in on the 3rd – its good having a husband with a “normal” job as it gives structure to my own working patterns – returning to work at the same time as him.  So for now it is “Goodbye cabin” “Hello Christmas”.

Quiet run up to Christmas?

Having sent off all my Christmas work to their respective galleries I had thought that I would have a quiet December, giving me time to do some research on a collection for next year and fulfil my duty of doing the shopping and wrapping of presents. Best laid plans…the sketchbook is sparse, the presents are non existent and even the dishes remain un-washed. This is thanks in part to the sales I have had at The Shop Floor Project, where I also have some paintings of the remote Scottish Island of St Kilda, sales means urgent re stocking!

I have also just found out that I will be attending  New Fangled at the Lighthouse in Glasgow next week, an event for design graduates to develop their business, the timetable looks exhausting but fun.

This week I also have my second meeting with my mentor Eileen Gatt in Inverness followed by a craft event at the IMAG with HI-Arts and I plan on stopping in to see my work on display at the very stylish Amy C Mackays in Beauly.

So pretty busy really and to round it all off I have a number of commissions and demanding siblings putting in last minute orders.

The mornings work
The mornings work for The Shop Floor Project

Getting to grips with WordPress

Having been very happy with my iweb site I struggled when mobileme pulled the rug from under my feet and the site began to stagnate somewhat. So I deleted it and am starting afresh, it feels good, like when you get round to clearing out the junk cupboard or change the sheets…I was feeling frustrated at my inability to keep the blog updated, not that I blog very regularly, but now I can post up new pictures and info as and when! I am hoping this will be a long and fruitful relationship.

Silver jewellery and silversmithing in the north west highlands of scotland