making jewellery work.
Founder of Vanilla Ink.
Being a jeweller I understand what it takes to become a jeweller in todays landscape. I aim to expose the potential of jewellery graduates, providing them with the necessary tools to make the leap into industry.
If you have been following Vanilla Ink on our other channels you will have noticed that we have been a bit busy.
The studios are buzzing and May is just as busy and I feel this may be the consensus with the run up to International Jewellery London. That doesn't meant that we don't have anything planned in between from the bonnie banks of the River Tay.
The blog has come second to everything else and it is becoming forever more frustrating as I love to blog. I need to remember to find the time to dedicate to this reflective space....
On the 30th of April the Vanilla Inkers will be taking to the stage, not for them to strut their stuff but for their jewellery. The inkers are currently hard at work creating collections specifically for the catwalk. Building on their own style but making it BIGGER! Some have collaborated and combined their styles and others have styled a look together. Either way, we can't wait to see what it looks like on the stage worn on the beautiful models.
Nightwalk is a yearly event that promotes Scotland's up and coming designers....
It's been a while since we have blogged something and I can not believe that we have not written a post about our recent success…For a month we put ourselves on the line and started a crowd funding campaign. It was something that I had thought about for a while and the perfect project came up to fund so we bit the bullet.
International Jewellery London is something a jeweller dreams about, something they aim towards a little further down the line. Vanilla Ink always wanted to take their jewellers to national trade show and after a bit of thought we decided to put the two together, Vanilla Ink and IJL....
A chance for you to come and check out the studios for yourself. There will be tea, cake, jewellery and inkers. You can ask us any burning questions on how Vanilla Ink works, pick up an application form and have a wander around bonnie Dundee and get a feel for the place. We will be there from 10am-6pm so feel free to pop by and say hello.
For more information on how to get there please have a look on our Vanilla Ink facebook page....
For eight weeks now we have been feeding your jewellery appetites with our 'Meet the Inker' - interviews with our family of Vanilla Inkers in the run up to the opening of our online shop where we will be selling the beautiful work of said Vanilla Inkers. Last but no means least is our final interview Audrey Reid. The knitter of the group, to which she has been forced to teach us in our up-coming skill shares, Audrey tells us how she has used her skills and incorporated them into her work.
Vanilla Ink: Tell us where it all started.
Audrey: Jewellery-wise I did an evening class about 6 years ago at Lauder College (now Carnegie College) at the same time as I did an HNC in Art & Design at Elmwood College....
Today's meet the inker brings you Sally Anne Fenton - the senstive soul of our bunch, Sally's work looks at capturing a memory of a lost one. This has translated into a beautiful collection that has shifted into the commercial market seamlessly. Sally tells us about her time in Vanilla Ink so far and her girly side.
Vanilla Ink- Your degree show work had great meaning and importance to you, are you willing to share that with our readers?
Sally- My degree show collection was inspired by my grandmother who sadly died at the beginning of my fourth year....
Award winning jeweller, Filipa Oliveira talks to Vanilla Ink about reviving a Portugese tradition and writing a book.
Vanilla Ink: You didn’t begin your jewellery career in Dundee; tell us how you got into the trade in the first place?
Filipa: It all started when I was around 9 years old. My mother taught me to do beads necklaces which evolved into more elaborated pieces. At that time I was already selling it to my friends at school. But it wasn’t obvious for me that what I wanted to do was jewellery....
Vanilla Ink sees an eclectic mix of talented jewellers and this one does not fall short of that. Ruth travels nearly everyday from Glasgow to be with us at Vanilla Ink. The only inker to have not been through university but Ruth doesn't show any less passion, determination or skills.
Vanilla Ink: Why jewellery?
Ruth: BECAUSE I JUST LOVE IT!! :)
I have always been kind of creative, painting, drawing, glueing, cutting everything in sight and have had a love for jewellery since I was young. I used to buy cheap pieces from charity shops or high street shops and redesign them all the time then I just realised this is what I wanted to do full time so I enrolled in a course and it started from there....
Well with all the excitement that has happened today, we are equally excited to share with you todays Meet the Inker. Today is turn of Leanne Evans, with a history of jewellers running through her family it seemed like a natural path.
Vanilla Ink: Your collection has already come so far since graduating. The jewellery trade is in your veins; tell us where is all begun.
Leanne: Thank you, yes the family on my dad's side, are from Birmingham and all worked in all parts of the jewellery quarter, some making handmade jewellery, to working in the factories, my great gran was used the fly press to stamp out shapes, other members of my family were involved in the admin and electric side of keeping things working in the quarter....
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....
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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....
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....
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....
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....
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....
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....
Last Friday saw the collaboration night between ourselves and Nikki McWilliams. Autumnal Delight Night.
It was such a lovely night, where we had drinks, prizes and fantastic design on show. The hallway was light with fairy lights and the waft of delicious mulled cider made for a lovely ambiance. The first 20 saw each visitor getting a goody bag filled with Vanilla Ink and Nikki McWilliams treats :)
Thank you to everyone that came and enjoyed the night....