What We Are Up To
Vanilla Ink likes to focus on the process and here at Vanilla Ink we don't like to keep any secrets. It is a glimpse into the world of a designer, showing thoughts and ideas and to encourage discussions. In this blog there will be posts from all of our designers.
You can also follow their own blogs to get all the juicy details.
Up next in our 'Meet the Inker' question and answer we have DJCAD graduate Scarlett Erskine. We share with you Scarlett's unusual inspiration, techniques and her new collection she has in the pipe line.
Vanilla Ink: You have an interesting concept to your jewellery can you tell us a bit more about it?
Scarlett: My concept comes from my own experience with Eczema, at the start of my fourth year in jewellery my eczema flared up, this effected my jewellery making and really the use of my hands in general - opening bottles became a whole new task!
So I decided to create a positive out of this negative and use skin conditions as my inspiration....
Today I thought I’d take to the blog and talk to you about something I am rather passionate about, British handmade design/products. I hope to start a conversation on twitter #supportlocaldesign on why we should be supporting young creatives such as the Vanilla Inkers!
In a time of huge mass production in the East and globalisation, the UK is struggling as local businesses are closing while big corporations are booming and seem to be dodging large tax bills. We should start to consider the impact this has on manufacturing and the human cost this has in the UK. We all know about the Industrial Revolution but is it time that we are in need of another one? Is it time to give some justice to local people with some pretty impressive skills?
So I propose an idea that we should all try to support our local communities more....
Next in the series of 'Meet the Inkers' is Yorkshire born and London taught Victoria Kelsey. Interested in the grimes of life, Victoria was extra keen to be a part of Vanilla Ink which is set in the grimy industrial quarter of Dundee, next to the treasure trove of the Recycling Centre.
Vanilla Ink: You have travelled a long way to be a part of Vanilla Ink. But first, tell us about your life in jewellery so far, where did it all begin?
Victoria: Yes 470 miles!
I studied Jewellery at Middlesex University in London....
Today is a first in the series of interviews from Vanilla Ink and their inkers. We have realised that we have been harbouring 8 jewellers for three months and some of you don't know much about them.
So last week we chatted to Robin Bell, the only gent in our studio. Robin is always impressing us with his trade secrets and extensive knowledge of the industry. This is what he had to say about his career so far, Dundee and why Vanilla Ink. If you have any questions for Robin that we didn't find the answer for, either email us (email@example.com) or comment below.
Vanilla Ink: Your career in the jewellery industry has been eventful so far, tell us a little more about it.
Robin: I suppose my interest in jewellery started in Higher art....
One thing I would really love to do this year is to present my brand to the public in a variety of different ways including collaborating within the realms of fashion but also through the media of film.
Today I have been researching across the board using video as a way of marketing your work:
http://vimeo.com/49378348 from the stories of ideas and how something is made from Zoe Arnold
http://vimeo.com/49378346 to the intrinsic value of the handmade of Simon Hasan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaBNjTtCxd4 to the all out luxury extremes of Cartier
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxBamOvADlY and one of my favourite jewellers Solange Azagury Partridge taking the more story teller route.
All very interesting and diverse and it comes down to what the customer perceives a brand and its products.
So as a customer are you interested to see how a piece of jewellery is made or just how it can be styled and worn?
Also how important is it for you when buying a product that it is handmade in Britain....
January is a natural time to make lists and plans, and recap
the previous months’ lessons learned. The first three months as a Vanilla Inker
have gone so quickly.
Kate has worked hard to give us a varied diet of speakers,
workshops, events and even a webinar. Mentors have been supportive and I am
especially grateful to Jane Gowans for her helpful advice. Experts in their own
fields, such as Mike Press, Lauren Currie, Jamie Mac and Patricia van der Akker
have shared ideas and challenged us to develop our practice. We’ve explored new
market opportunities, taking part in the Open Studios event at WASPS
Meadowmill, an evening event with co-host Nikki McWilliams, and the first
Christmas Design Fair at the DCA.
In 2013 we can look forward to sharing skills, social time,
development of the Vanilla Ink online shop venture and furthering our own
My plans are to spend more time in the workshop...and make...
At the end of the year Vanilla Ink held its first Jewellery Class. We were amazed that the class was filled within a week of its launch, we actually managed to squeeze in one extra to keep up with the demand.
We had 6 people join us in the studio where they were going to be with us for 5 weeks to learn the basic jewellery techniques and make something lovely for someone they care about or a cheeky wee gift for themselves.
I've been teaching jewellery night classes for the past three years at Dundee University but this one felt different....
For most of us the holidays are over and its back to the grind, though many jewellers will tell you that the rush is over and its a chance to breathe easy for five minutes. Well maybe not, My fellow jewellers and I in the workshop are working on collections and photo shoots to be ready for the end of January, so keep your eyes peeled for some wonderful creations.
to be successfull as a jeweller you always need to be one step ahead of the public, while most people settle into the routine we are already looking to the month(s) ahead....
Big changes are a foot. Yes Christmas and New Year have only just past, but while everyone was having a lovely time (not that we didn't have a lovely time) we have been busy concocting a plan.
Our biggest changes are going to be happening online with a small refurbishment of the website. We are going to be closing the online shop for a few weeks while we gear up for our new designers. We have loved having the amazing designers that we have been selling for just under a year but now is the time to focus on our Vanilla Inkers....
So it’s the first day of 2013 and I am quoting a Muppet’s song already (good start)! Usually today is a time for hangovers, cooked breakfasts and some time to reflect and make resolutions.
I have spent the last week at home with the family eating and drinking my way through Yorkshire. So I thought it best that I should start as I mean to go on and write a reflective blog on the year gone by (glass of red in hand of course).
2012 involved ups and a great deal of downs for me but as always I have learnt more about myself and where I want to take my work....
Ive been a working jeweller for 5 years and obviously I'm still learning. But over the past month I have learned my greatest lesson whilst being a jeweller, there is no bigger than making someone's engagement ring. And I don't think I quite realised it when I took on the challenge. Yes, I understood that it is a very important ring, a ring for a lifetime (hopefully). But it didn't quite hit me until I started to make it and I had two to make in just one month!
The first was extra special as it was an engagement ring for my brother to give to his long term girlfriend and mother of his two beautiful children, my nephews....
So it's been three months since the beginning of the first Vanilla Ink programme. I am now on my Christmas holidays and it has given me some time to reflect. A lot has happened in the three months, in fact it doesn't feel like three months it feels so much longer just because so much has gone on. We have had our first three professional development classes all given by such fantastic designers. The professional development classes are a monthly must for the Vanilla Inkers where we bring in the professionals, be them graphic designers, service designers or jewellers, these classes are intense, challenging and throughout provoking....
To celebrate the new website and online shop Leanne T Evans jewellery organised a celebratory gathering. Here are some photos to have a snoop at, to check out the website head to www.leannetevansjewellery.com....
Bye for now x
Yesterday we got out of Dundee and into Glasgow to go to the Saunt and Sinner fashion launch. It was held in a beautiful space and everything was very well put together. They held an exhibition featuring a conceptual range of what there fashion label is going to be like. This meant you could see the inspiration, the thought process and all the work and passion they have put into it.
The live model that had to be still throughout the event has an interesting touch which will definitely make me remember the night and the lovely black and white macaroon made by Bibi's that I took home....
Tomorrow (Wednesday 5th) we will have Scottish based jeweller Jane Gowans in the studios giving the inkers an insight into her experience in the jewellery trade so far. We are very much looking forward to hearing Jane's story and being able to talk to her one on one. It will give a chance for the inkers to ask Jane any burning questions that they have about the industry and really get the nitty gritty insights.
We have decided not to keep these nuggets of information to ourselves and we wanted to throw out a twitter Q&A session. Send us your questions now or join us tomorrow between 10-12 on twitter and ask Jane Gowan's about her life as a jeweller so far....
Its official, Ltevansdesign now has a new branch, Leanne T Evans Jewellery, please visit http://leannetevansjewellery.com/ to browse and purchase jewellery or just to find put some more about Leanne T Evans.
Bye for now, Leanne Evans x...
Its been a couple of busy weeks in the Vanilla Ink Studios. Everyone is busy working to make a collection for this year's DCA Christmas Craft and Design Market. We will be exhibiting and selling our beautifully handcrafted jewellery from 2pm - 6pm at the DCA, Dundee.
Here's a little sneaky peak at the jewellery I've been making for Saturday!
There will be a range of local makers and designers all selling their work all under one roof accompanied by minced pies, mulled wine and live music - All you need to do your christmas shopping!
Hope to see you all there!...
Vanilla Ink is now offering Hot Desking. We have four benches to rent on a semi permanent basis from 1/2 days to full months. So if you fancy a trip to Dundee for a day, week or month, or you are a Dundee based jeweller who's looking to work in a collaborative environment in a cozy and friendly studio for a wee while, have a look at our rates and drop us email or a call.
*experienced jewellers only (must have basic jewellery training).
A few of us Vanilla Inkers took to the road again today (Friday). This time across the water to Fife and the quaint town of St Andrews.
We had heard on the grape vine of a new venture starting up with Fife Contemporary Arts and Craft. Having my ear close to the ground about this kind of thing (and with my intel) I knew they would be looking for jewellers to showcase. So in conjunction with Craft Scotland the call was put out for #treat a new shopping experience....
I have been a bit quiet on the blogging front, but I have been very busy in other aspects. I have been working on a new website and online shop, which is going live on the 30th November (a week and a half away)!!!
I would like to invite everyone to the celebratory night of the launch on the 7th December:
See you there :)
Bye for now x...