Laura Knowles has been interning with us for a couple of weeks to get some work experience on her year out from Glasgow School of Art, we tell you all about what brought this gem to us.Read More
Jeweller Jen Cunningham joins the team at Vanilla Ink as a freelance jeweller working with Scott creating and remodelling commissioned pieces of jewellery.Read More
It dawned on me that I have been attending New Designers for 10 years, 11 if you include my own year that I exhibited way back in 2007. Known to showcase the best of graduate designers, it's ideal for us to have all graduating jewellers and silversmiths under one roof.
Things have changed since then and I really noticed it this year to the point that I am questioning whether to attend next year.
Over the years the jewellery section of New Designers (which is always the part we are most interested in of course) has been getting smaller and smaller. First they introduced a cafe, offering stands to corporations, courses being cut left right and centre and some not being able to afford to attend. Is this something we should be worried about? Is this a cause for concern regarding our industry. It would be interesting to open a discussion about this and perhaps this is another blog post but for now I would love to share my highlights from the show.
Having attended the show for 10 years running I have seen many graduates work and it's things that are different that catch my eye. Jesmonite seems to be a popular material this year but the work of Heidi Carthew really stood out.. Perhaps it was the giant diamond shape that caught my eye, or the fact she was making vases and stands and was in the jewellery section that helped her stand out.
Cleverly crafted and beautiful, that's really what I'm looking for and Heidi has captured that in her work. Would certainly love to have one of her pieces in my house. Check out the rest of her work here.
Sara Chyan's work takes a minimalistic approach to conceptual support. Sara's latest collection really stood out from the crowd in One Year In. It is inspired by her obsession with heat, using low melting point metal - bismuth to tell the story, exploring the possibility of using temperature to access one's emotional state.
Anna Jane Younie's work is inspired by her home land of Orkney. Huge vessels that are craggy and textured making them incredibly tactile. I have discovered a love for ceramics recently and Anna's work really stood out, she was also awarded the Craft Scotland Graduate award and you can see why. Translating the beauty of Orkney into large vessels and vases.
Created by scoring, folding and forming sheet silver, the Veer series from Silversmith Alex O'Connor is inspired by a season of walking in wintertime through the raw, rural landscapes of Cornwall and Wales. Drawing on the sensory experience of place, the visual weight and overall balance of this elegant, grouped collection reflect the artist’s physical encounter with slanted rain, driving wind, and the untameable outdoors.
I was drawn to Alex' work due to the simplistic forms but what often hides behind simplicity is a complex process. We are opening The Smiddy - A Centre of Excellence for Silversmithing and Jewellery later in the year and my appreciation for Silverwear and it's complex nature has grown.
"I take inspiration from Glasgow's architectural quirks with my main focus given to the chimney tops which live above the city having no real purpose anymore. Chimneys are in some cases key to holding a building together and if removed incorrectly the building could collapse. I mimic this idea in my work building structures with both wire and sheet which if not cared for especially in the making process could meet the same fate." Rachel Hardie talking about her graduate collection that I first saw at the GSA Degree Show earlier in the year, if I remember it then they've done something right. I love the use of the black and gold and the quirky nature of her designs.
I was first attracted to Jack Durling's older work because of it's black and gold and it's tactile nature, but then it drew me in further as I could sense he was trying to say something more than the beautiful objects they were. Jack seeks to create emotive work thats brings focus upon conservational issues that are of an often ignored and complex nature. Subtle hints are incorporated to address greater problematic issues in the world in which we live today such as animal welfare concerns and pollution. Jacks compassion for wildlife protection has led him to create his latest body of work 'Cloaked Cetacea' to express the beauty and value of these species.
In a hidden lane not so far away, lies Scott McIntyre, co-founder & co-director of Vanilla Ink, passionate educator, Star Wars fan and master of jewellery! (sorry, I still have Star Wars fever from Christmas time!)Read More
This week, I was lucky enough to attend a creative business workshop held by The Design Trust's Patricia van den Akker. Patricia visited us at the Vanilla Ink school, along with 20 other attending jewellers and creatives to teach us how to make more money from craft and how to run a successful creative business.Read More
We are thrilled to announce the Inkers of 2018, 7 emerging jewellers and silversmiths join us from across the country for our 9 month Vanilla Ink Professional Development Programme.Read More
Apprentice Louise here, my second week at Vanilla Ink and I'm already being filmed for STV! Read all about it...Read More
"I feel so happy, I feel so glad.
I have found the best job,
I could have ever had!!"
- a re-imagining of 'Changes' by Black Sabbath.
Hello everyone, I'm Louise - Vanilla Ink's new creative apprentice and I'll be posting a blog every Friday to chart my progress as an aspiring jewellery maker over the next 12 months. (Please ignore that the first blog was posted 3 days late). I'll be writing about my time in Vanilla Ink, the new skills I'll be acquiring, reflecting on what I've learned and all the fun stuff in-between. Hopefully you'll forgive my ramblings and lack of good grammar, I'll write as candidly as I can to make up for it.
So, from being a skint, unemployable ex-student for way too long to becoming Vanilla Ink's first jewellery apprentice has been a huge confidence boost to say the least. Previous soul crushing jobs of mine were made up of pushing sales on the unwealthy, being hounded by managers leaning over my shoulder passively demanding ridiculous targets, facing computer screens day in, day out with minuscule toilet breaks as well as many of angry phone calls from customers who seemed to only ever want to complain about how terrible their bank was or how they couldn't understand my 'thick Scot's language'.
Fast forward some perils and revelations later, I now come to work to get creative! Out with the over ironed business attire and in with the new old work cardigan and Vanilla Ink peenie. My new bosses are artists and they speak my language. I still don't know how I got so lucky as to get this apprenticeship. My friends and family kindly say its due to my skill, time studying and hard work - which of course I won't argue with but I am aware of how difficult it is to find a creative job within the craft sector. Most of my creative friends still don't have work never mind creative work. So, after a semi decent/semi disastrous interview I got the call offering me the apprenticeship. Me, who had next to no jewellery experience and who had been out of work for over 2 years had got the coveted apprenticeship. I beamed, laughed and jumped for joy for over 2 days after. Then went into panic as I was to start the approaching Monday and couldn't even remember to make a packed lunch anymore. But there's nothing like just getting straight into something you're anxious about.
Working with fellow artists is so different than my time working as a banking customer advisor or insurance claims administrator. And yes, both jobs were as boring as they sounded. Not only were these jobs boring but also had a huge impact on my mental health. But now, no longer do it dread going into work. I now have two amazing artists, jeweller entrepreneurs as my bosses who just happen to speak my language, Art. They also easily understand my 'thick Scots accent'..
For anyone who doesn't know of Vanilla Ink, co-founders and directors Kate Clifford and Scott McIntyre, they are wonderful, inspiring people. I don't regularly meet or come from a place that boasts enthusiastic, aspiring and inspiring talented creators. I've been catching myself just watching them and trying to visually take in what they do and learn how they manage to do it so well. They are the creative influences I never had, I now christen them my 'work parents'.
But I guess that's why I'm actually here, to learn and live the jewellery business. It's only been 3 days so far but so far, those 3 days have been filled with so much fun and stimulation. Getting to manipulate metals and create items in a fresh, bright, welcoming environment while having two incredibly talented jewellers give me their valued combined 20 years + knowledge and experience definitely seems like a privilege. I certainly feel like reaping these benefits and making up for all those years stuck in an office behind a computer. All I can think about is how much I'm going to learn and be able to do in the future. How valuable everything from making a piece of jewellery to learning how to run a business will be in my professional and personal life.
I look forward to continuing to soak up every piece of knowledge and advice my two new work parents give me. I look forward to getting to know and having a great working relationship with like-minded creative talents. I look forward being able to create, to design, to make people happy, helping others to create and be happy. And most of all I look forward to just enjoying everything I'll get from this wonderful opportunity.
If you are into the Instagram thing then follow my progress there too at @louisevanillaink. https://www.instagram.com/louisevanillaink/
Top learnings from week 1:
Making jewellery is fun!
"What you do to one side, do to the other."
Saw blades can break very easily.