I graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2000 with 1st class honours in Design and Applied Arts (majoring in Jewellery and Silversmithing)
It hadn't been the plan, I went to art college thinking I'd study illustration or painting, but it was my flatmate who said the department was excellent and I should try it out. She was right, Dorothy Hogg our head tutor said once, 'If you can work with metal, you can work with any material'. Telling someone they can do something is sometimes all you need. I had the confidence within me to not only work with 18ct gold but acrylic, wood and now Caithness stone. I find the process of learning about a new material to be what keeps me developing and growing.
I never even thought it possible that I could go to art college as I hadn't taken it as a subject at secondary school. But with a sudden realisation that this is what I really wanted to do, a lot of hard work at night school and portfolio class and the support of my mum and dad who never doubted my ability, I finally got there and never regretted it for one moment.
Sometimes you have to leave a place to realise the beauty of it. My husband and I, lived amongst the mountains and trees of Newtonmore for 12 years before moving back home to Caithness. I had forgotten how dramatic the open landscape was with it's windswept shores and it's peaty flow country, it has provided infinite inspiration for me since coming home.
After working as a studio jeweller for a number of years, I gave up jewellery making while my boys were young as it became too difficult to juggle the two jobs. But recently while out for a walk with the dog, I picked up a piece of stone from a disused quarry (in a stunning location sitting atop of very high cliffs) and took it home to see what I could do with it. Two years of experimentation later and a lot of dust and sludge, I have learnt a lot about this material and have also come to love and hate this material in equal measures. Love it for it's infinite possibilities and hate it for it's stubborness.
I work from home in my workshop at Seacliffe cottage. A contrary house which is half croft, half 1970's rebuild. We overlook Thurso Bay and Scrabster harbour, with the garden falling off the cliff. The beach is at the bottom of the cliff and it's wild and windy but beautiful and inspiring. I hope to continue to create more beautiful artworks using Caithness flagstone. I hope that the wearer will find a connection with the land when they wear my jewellery, I also hope they can sense the work and effort that has gone into each piece and feel they are wearing a piece of Caithness every time they put in on.