Category Archives: orkney

You’re Already Making A Difference… And More

christmas papdale country living

Wow it’s October already! This year is going so fast! Lots of lifeboat pendants to make, tie bars and all. And more pieces in preparation for next months local Papdale Christmas Shopping Night extravaganza, as well as Glasgow’s Country Living Christmas Fair. Even some one off pieces for some lovely customers. Busy. Where did summer go!

pave setting stonesLast week was an unusual one. First off, whisked off to Glasgow to take part in an Intermediate Stone Setting Class taught by the fantastic Scott McIntyre, part of the Vanilla Ink team. From smooth flush settings on day one to pave settings, day two. These settings are definitely something that takes practice – but have to say – pretty proud of what I achieved. Something which will be very useful for bespoke items such as engagement and wedding rings. If you’ve not heard of Vanilla Ink, I’d highly recommend having a wee look! They have some great jewellery classes throughout the year.

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Then back in Orkney, two ladies came into the studio to receive a big donation from Zoe Davidson Jewellery. Bella and Mai from the Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild collecting their 10% from the Saltaire lifeboat range. This was only launched 3 months ago and has already raised over £300! Thank you RNLI for this chance to give something back for all the effort you voluntarily give to saving lives at sea round here. And thanks to you for all supporting this charitable cause. I am humbled by your generosity and the RNLI’s selfless energy. saltaire-thank-you-donation-zoe-davidson

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Favourite Places in Orkney

Stromness, where I live and work now! A wavy necklace of stone gables and piers and slips along the edge of our sheltered harbour. Yet the Hoy Sound tides roost and rage just off the harbour month and the North Atlantic winds can howl over Brinkie’s steep slopes, above us. A quiet haven in the storm. A beautiful place to live. A well knit community living close to each other and sharing our problems, music and joys.

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Beautiful Warebeth overlooking the Hoy hills

Warebeth, a rocky beach to the South of Stromness. A place to relax and clear the mind. Stack rocks into a tower as high as you can. Balance on boulders but watch you don’t fall. Walk right round the shore and try spot a seal or two. Tractors working their fields as birds pick up the worms. Such a sight and different every day.

rackwick zoe favourite place orkney

Walking down to Rackwick Bay

Rackwick, somewhere completely different from Orkney! A huge green valley on the edge of huge hills and the Firth. Almost abandoned, now lived in by a few hardy souls and folk from Stromness on holidays.

A dramatic land cut off from the rest.

Almost.

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The iconic Old Man of Hoy

The Graemsay ferry sails from Stromness to Whaness on Hoy over the swirls of the tide. Then a cycle – walk – mini bus a few peat bog miles round our big hill, past ancient fallen stone circles and a house carved from a huge stone block! To a warm and sunny valley set around a huge sand and red bouldered beach. Camp at the Burnmonth hostel, free! Fish in our ‘river’ for a monster troot and swim in the sea – if calm! Tramp to the famous Old Man of Hoy, the dramatic Kame or even more lonely Rackwick Little and the jewel of Hoy, Mellsettar House. A surprising Arts and Crafts masterpiece set at the end of Longhope, even has a peedie forest! And mind on to take Avon skin so soft for the blood-thirsty midges!

 

Orkney is full of surprises. Come visit. And please come by my workshop in Stromness!

Further reading: Orkney.com is a fantastic online resource for everything ORKNEY! Provides great information regarding what to do in Orkney, upcoming events, local arts & crafts and more.

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New Saltaire Collection in Conjunction with RNLI

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Photoshoot on the Stromness RNLI lifeboat

Wow! Not only the launch of the new RNLI “Saltaire” collection for Stromness’s 150th Anniversary later this month, but a photo shoot on the huge blue and orange lifeboat and crew! Good start to this month!

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Zoe Davidson joins up with Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild. Photo credit: RNLI/David Bowdler

So how did this RNLI project come about you ask?

The Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild approached me for jewellery that was unique and individual to Stromness, Saltaire’s town of launch. A special collection to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of the first lifeboat in Orkney.

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The Saltaire lifeboat being launched in Stromness. Photo taken from RNLI blog.

Where does the name “Saltaire” come from?

“Saltaire” is named after a man called Sit Titus Salt who was from the village of Saltaire, West Yorkshire. He donated this lifeboat and was a leading figure at the start of the Bradford lifeboat branch. Saltaire was a ten-oared lifeboat, which relied on the power of strong men alone. It is safe to say, we have come a long way from this.

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The Saltaire Tie Bar, which will be available on Zoe’s website after the launch on the 23rd of June, 2017. Photo credit: Suzanne Lee Photography

About the new Saltaire Collection

Zoe’s new collection “Saltaire” is designed in collaboration with the Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild. For each piece sold, 10% will go to the RNLI Trust, used to purchase life saving equipment and help train volunteer crews. Saltaire is the name of Orkney’s first lifeboat, launched in Stromness 150 years ago. Inspired by the RNLI lifeboats and it’s volunteers, the pieces reflect the unpredictable swirling tides and seas here.

Some of the works feature gemstones such as London Blue Topaz and the brilliant Fire Opal, a symbol of courage, representing the colours of our current lifeboat. For Orkney folk, the sea is part of everyday life and has been for centuries, whether it be for work, transport of leisure. So it’s a great comfort the lifeboats are there in need. Not only can you buy a unique piece of jewellery, you can help raise funds towards the life-saving RNLI.

Further reading:

Sign Up to Zoe Davidson Jewellery’s Newsletter and be the first to buy from the Saltaire Range!

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Our First Year in Business! Let Us Reflect…

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Wow what a year! So many changes in 365 days.

Hoy Sound Collection of swirls announced our birth in May 2016, then the cubic squares of the Barriers Collection in September.

Meeting lots of friendly Orkney folk at the annual County Show in August. Going down to my first ever Trade Fair in Glasgow this year in January!

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Zoe showing her works at Scotland’s Trade Fair at the beginning of the year.

And of course, Gok Wan!

Gok Wan’s Fashion Brunch Club invited me to show my collections on his eight glamourous models at the Perth Race Course in May to celebrate Ladie’s Day. I trained down to the plush event, all glitz and glamour, in a huge 600 seater marquee. And the sun shined too. See all the highlights of the event on my Instagram and Facebook page.

What have I learned in a year?

Work hard, every day counts, don’t be afraid of change and you never know what is round the corner – so be prepared and stay positive! And thank you for following my work as it grows and changes, who knows where we will be next year.

If you are interested in keeping informed…

…please sign up to my Zoe Davidson Jewellery Newsletter! You will receive special discounts, tips and trends on jewellery, as well as the latest news on my business. Please click “Sign Me Up!” to opt-into my newsletter.

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Why Celebrate the Life of St Magnus?

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Magnus’s Plaque in the St Magnus Cathedral

Magnus was murdered on the orders of his cousin 900 years ago, on the lovely island of Egilsay. Power corrupts.

Magnus was a peaceful lad but his cousin Haakon Paulson, who shared the earldom, was a traditional viking who resolved problems by the sword.

The two cousins agreed to meet on Egilsay to settle their differences. On terms of truce, only 1 ship would be used for each earl. However, Haakon maliciously brought 8 ships full of armed men. Magnus was trapped and killed.

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St Magnus Cathedral standing tall with its warm red sand stone

Magnus’s body was buried at Birsay and after the St Magnus Cathedral was built by his nephew, Earl Rognvald, he was carried there and his bones placed in a column of the nave. What a beautiful memorial in red for Magnus, and peace. Let’s celebrate peace a bit more, be a bit more positive about folk and feel the sun shine a bit more everyday. Springtime. Life after dark.

 

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Find out what’s going on and how to get involved during the Magnus 900

This year Orkney folk will be commemorating Magnus’s death, making a path following the route his body was carried hundreds of years ago. A good walk keeps our body active and healthy, let’s walk a bit more and appreciate what we have. Life is good.

 

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