I have rather exciting news for you today, I’m now officially an award winning jewellery designer. I got funding from the VACMAs (Visual Artist and Craft Maker awards) by Highlands and Western Isles. VACMA: HIGHLANDS AND WESTERN ISLES is funded through a partnership
between High Life Highland and Creative Scotland.
Since moving to Inverness during the 2021 Lockdown, I’ve been using my daily morning dog walk to explore and get to know the local area. This is excellent for my mental health too as it helps me feel less stressed and more balanced. In January and February, especially when it was a lot darker here, it’s helped me get enough light as well as some exercise!
I wanted to continue to explore my local area and I wanted to add some creativity into that. As I noticed lots of little things on my daily walks, little flashes of inspiration that came into my head when I was walking. So I decided to apply for the VACMAs, this is the Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards. I had it in my head last year that I wanted to do another residency in 2021 but with Lockdown seemingly never ending, the idea of actually being able to go away to a place to do that seemed far fetched! I applied with the idea of an “at home” residency. At the start of February I applied and in mid February I found out I’d been successful and was awarded a small bursary to do just that! Woohoo!
I started to play more with wax when I was stuck at home last year in March and April, as it was all I had at home to work with and it was also about all I could manage to do. I’m so glad I’ve got the luxury of an at home studio now!
Working in wax is so therapeutic and enjoyable, exploring shapes and forms that I can’t possibly make with sheet metal! I made so many more sculptural pieces because I was less limited by the materials on hand. It’s also far easier, and cheaper to rectify any mistakes in wax than in silver!
It was also great, especially during such a weird year, to spend time being creative just for my own enjoyment and love of making. It reminded me of the week I spent in the sculpture department at Dundee when I was doing my foundation year at uni; we got to pick which departments we wanted to try out for a slightly longer time to see which we might want to do for the next three years.
Going back to my Finland residency I know that spending time away from the normal day to day work can be a rest, as well as inspiring motivation for my work.
I got more used to being in Lockdown and found I had more brain space, so I read up and researched jewellers who I was really inspired by when I was a teenager. Like Dorothy Hogg, Giovanni Corvaja and Tone Vigeland. They all make works that cross the boundaries between jewellery and sculpture.
So the plan for my “at home” residency is two weeks of half-day residency. I’ve limited myself in some ways, I’ve got a 45 min radius for the walks I’ll do every day and I want to explore more sculptural works than I usually make. On my walks I’ll explore the local area and take inspiration from the landscape. Most likely I’ll take my camera or just my phone with me to take photos of things that catch my eye. This will encourage me to look more closely at things that have become part of my day to day on daily walks.
Once back home I’ll be concentrating in the first week, on teasing out the inspiration; sketching from the photos and memory and putting all my thoughts and drawings down onto paper. Knowing me this might be more of a wordy, than visual, diary! Often ideas pop into my head as I’m writing, so this is a good way to encourage that process. I’ve thankfully got my research from the Finland residency to help me move forwards if I get stuck!
In week two, my schedule is to have the daily walks as normal and have the studio time aside for making in wax. Referring to my sketchbook from the previous week, I’ll also take inspiration directly from that day’s walk.
My experience of doing a residency previously has laid the groundwork and given me the tools to keep to a schedule like this. I’ll be keeping you all updated with a blog post at the end of each week and if you follow me on Instagram and Facebook you’ll see a few more posts and stories about the residency there too.
So please follow along and ask me any questions you have about it as we go!