Tag 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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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?

stmagnus, cathedral, orkney, 900, anniversairy, celebrations

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.

stmagnus, cathedral, orkney, celebrations, 900, anniversairy

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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Highlights from ZDJ’s Launch

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Visitors Catching Up at the Launch

Cannot believe it has been a whole month since the launch of Zoe Davidson Jewellery! And what a month it has been. Since the launch, I have been busy creating beautiful jewellery for my lovely new customers and thankful for all the wonderful supportive comments so far.

In this post I would like to highlight a few key moments at Zoe Davidson Jewellery‘s launch, held on the 1st of May 2016.

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Samples of Zoe Davidson Jewellery’s Fold Form

Demonstrations
Every wondered how jewellery is made? This is exactly what I wanted to show my visitors on the launch day and enjoyed doing it! It is a great way to socialise and create a connection with your audience.

Before working in jewellery, I’d always want to watch a professional at work, no matter the craft. Almost proof that they are who they say they are. At the majority of exhibitions and fairs, you meet the makers behind their stands of emaculate work but think, how did it get from a sheet of metal to a piece of jewellery?

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Hoy Sound Collection on Display

I take great pleasure in showing individuals how small a jeweller’s saw blade is and how to measure their ring size. The most common question I had was:

 “In what form do you get the silver in?”

The surprise they got when I said “in sheet or wire”, like many jewellers. Demonstrating and explaining the fold form technique was my favourite part: using some fire, banging the metal and showing that something so rigid can be shaped with just a bit of heat. It’s always memorable if you can surprise someone.

Drinks and Nibbles
I believe if you want to make an impression at a launch party, keep visitors drinks topped up, give out delicious food and have a consistent theme throughout.

Hoy Sound, my first jewellery collection, is a fast flowing channel of water situated to the South of Stromness. Thus, I thought because my work is sea-related, why not provide fresh local seafood? It also helps that I work at my local fish shop part-time!

Orkney Fish, my local fish shop, were kind enough to sponsor me with providing delicious seafood for the launch. On the menu: smoked salmon pate, crab pate, flaked hot smoked salmon and some scrumptious veggie options. This is an opportunity to thank Orkney Fish and OFS Ltd greatly for the amazing support and providing a fresh taste of the sea to compliment oceanic jewellery launch. Thank you.

But this goes for anyone starting a business: don’t be scared to ask for help. You will be surprised at how generous companies are as they have been there themselves.

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Our Hoy Sound Collection shot by Art Mosomi Photography

Images and Film
In the gallery space beautiful images by Art Mosomi Photography had been printed and hung up for show. Images of some Hoy Sound pieces worn on the gorgeous Johan, the face of this collection. Photography sets a pleasant atmosphere and allows individuals to get a clearer understanding of what the work is about. I suggest you get images printed professionally and make sure they are actually good photographs. It shows you are serious in what you are doing. In Orkney, iDesign have been invaluable in creating some amazing work for me, from posters to signs to leaflets. Their customer service is friendly, prompt and more importantly, local.

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Zoe Davidson Jewellery [Our Story] Screen Shot

Finally, adding a bit of movement and sound in the gallery creates drama to the whole launch. On display, a film telling the story of Zoe Davidson Jewellery, made by Videographer, Gustavo Castro Elgueta and Orkney Musician, James Watson. Artistic to watch and easy on the ear, this film made a great back drop to the event. Having final items to sell is one thing, but giving them a personal story is another. The full video is on my website if interested: Zoe Davidson Jewellery [Our Story]

Finally some tips if you are planning a launch:
– Plan a good launch date ahead of time.
Make sure it is not clashing with any other events that may be on in your area.

Ask yourself: what would I want to see at a business launch? Because it is probably what other people are wanting to see too. For me, is seeing how the work is made and tools uses.

Ask for help. I could not have launched on my own without the help of friends and family. Make sure you have someone on hand to pass out drinks and nibbles as you need to be connecting with your customers.

– Lastly, relax and enjoy the event, as your business only starts once.

To finish this post, I would like to say a huge thanks to:
– Art Mosomi Photography for the launch photographs and many other services you have provided.
iDesign for sponsoring our launch and delivering excellent service.
Orkney Fish who provided us with some amazing local seafood.
The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, for supporting us consistently and lending their film projector.
The Royal Hotel, Stromness who kindly lent us their wine glasses as we would never have that many in the house!
– Finally, my friends and family. For being at the launch, for helping and being so positive. I cannot thank you enough.

To view my website and products please go to www.zoedavidsonjewellery.co.uk

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Cheers!

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My Top 5 Favourite Jewellery Tools

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the absence been very busy! But here I am finally settled into my new jewellery workshop. I’m going to give you a wee tour of the top 5 of my favourite tools – new and old! – which I use everyday in creating my jewels.

zoe-davidson-jewellery-workshop-orkneyI’m always fascinated by new tools on the market, always eager to find those which save time or make a job a little easier. Since accumulating tools over the years, I’ve noticed that there are some tools which I can’t let go of. Some which I use everyday and am so glad that I paid the money for. So I’m going to share some of these tools with you and maybe you’d like to share some of yours?

  1. The Fold-Forming Hammer

foldform-hammer-zoe-davidson-jewellery.jpgThis was the first tool which has stayed with me from the beginning of my jewellery journey. At first I was a bit skeptic and was unsure if this was going to be worth the money – thinking maybe I’d change my style of work. But no! Nearly every piece I create, this hammer is helping me. It stretches the metal to create my folded-forms and has a comfortable ergonomic handle. So this definitely has to be at the top of my list.

2. The Slip-Joint and Accessories

slipjoint-zoe-davidson-jewellery-orkneyIf you have the traditional pendant drill/flex-shaft, you all know how much of a faff it is to change the drill accessories. You have to get the wee spanner, unscrew the cap nut and change the accessory – but I spend most of my precious time looking for this tiny spanner! Now things have changed for the best. I decided to invest in a ‘Slip-Joint’ which attaches to the end of the pendant drill. I have to say – this is one of the best things I have purchased. Just a simple press of the lever and you can pull your accessory out of the collet – no spanner – no faff. Saves a lot of time. Yes it was quite a big investment but it was definitely worth it in the long run. Would recommend it to anyone.

3. The Sand-Paper Rolls

sand-papers-zoe-davidson-jewellery-orkneySimple and easy to use these little things are. They are used in your pendant drill and come in various grades. I used to have a split-pin mandrel, wrap sandpaper around it then fix it with binding wire. Again, a lot of precious time wasted. Whereas these little paper-rolls are next-to-nothing and do the job perfectly well. I say – another amazing buy!

4. The Pliers

pliers-zoe-davidson-jewellery-orkneyI love my pliers. Have all types – nylon, parallel, cutters, round and so on. The nylon pliers (front right of picture) are quite a new purchase and are the most useful. Mostly, I use these for making ring shanks because they don’t mark the metal! Even better, the nylon pads are replaceable so you can go on using the same frame for ages. The parallel ones (front left) are handy too in straightening wire. I also bought a pair of Tronex Flush Cutters (left of picture), they are the sharpest wee things and the term ‘flush’ means it cuts at a right angle so leaving you minimal sanding to make the cut straight.

5. The Face Visor

visor-zoe-davidson-jewellery-orkneySanding and polishing can be a messy job. Bits of compound and particles spitting onto your face is never a nice look, especially if you’ve got customers coming through your door everyday! So here, we’ve got the face visor. So good. Forget about those safety specs – why not just save your whole face!? Make sure you look for ones with decent padding around the headband – just makes things a little more comfortable. They’re great too because you can simply lift up the visor up over your head when not in need! The visor plastic sheild is also replaceable so can be used for a long time.

Hope you enjoyed my favourite tools in the workshop and please don’t hesitate to share yours in the comments!

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Visiting Sheila Fleet’s Workshop

Nearing the end of my Christmas holidays in Orkney I decided to take up the courage and organise a visit Sheila Fleet’s workplace. It turned out the whole visit was AMAZING. They were all so down to earth, honest, helpful and lovely! Unfortunately Sheila Fleet, herself, was away South doing some work-related things. However, her son, Martin, was kind enough to show me the ropes of the workshop as he works there himself.

Makers at work

The workshop was a nice traditional bungalow building out in the middle of nowhere. Inside it was so modern! You would step into the shop first of all, where all the jewellery were all nicely displayed in glass cabinets, then walk through into the office. It was a really friendly atmosphere, like Martin said “we are all family”, and I could see that. Martin brought me through into the workshop where maker’s huddled at their benches happily making. First off, I was shown how pieces were made from start to finish with the help of pictures and pre-made jewellery and moulds. Then I got passed onto a highly organised ‘Dave’, the guy in charge of the lost-wax casting process.

Series of photos showing how jewellery is made

After this I stood by one of the makers, Bryce, and asked him endless questions about jewellery, techniques, my work, etc, as he sat there polishing almighty gold and silver on giant machines. This was utmost helpful to me.

Maker soldering silver band together

I then watched the 2 young enameling girls scooping tiny grains of glass onto silver. I learned so much from these girls as I have never tried enameling before.

Applying enamel to silver

Finally, after hours of learning and watching, a woman who works on the displaying of the jewellery, Christine, was helpful enough to show me, in detail, how she goes about displaying the work to its best potential.

Jewellery in the making

This experience was a huge learning curve for me and taught me tricks of the trade. I recommend all designers to go out and meet other makers as it can open your eyes to so many things.

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