News / handmade in aberdeenshire

Feral Strumpet at North East Open Studios

This year I will be taking part in the North East Open Studios arts festival in its 15th year. Artists across Aberdeenshire have opened their studios to the public for nine days in September, to celebrate the wealth of artists, craftspeople and makers in this area of Northern Scotland.
This will be my first year at NEOS and I’m honoured to be showing my work with potter Fiona Duckett at her beautiful studio and gallery in a converted chapel, Watergaw Ceramics.

The gallery will be open September 8th-10th, and the 13th-16th from 10am to 5pm.  You can also join us on the opening Saturday the 8th for special libations and some music in the late afternoon from Gerald Duncan on guitar and Neil Hankin on banjo.

To find out about the myriad artists and makers taking part in NEOS this year, you can download the PDF of the book here. Find below the local Banffshire Coast map. 

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Let's Call It Self-Love Wednesday

Starting at midnight tonight, I'm offering 20% off everything here at feralstrumpet.co.uk for 24 hours with coupon code: LOVEDAY18
V Day always has me wistful for its Roman counterpart– Lupercalia– a festival of purging fevers and she-wolves. Surely there is something worth celebrating on this day besides cupids and St. Valentine? Let’s call it Self Love Wednesday. (I confess: I’d always liked the empty tissue boxes decorated as post boxes on our desktops in grade school, and counting up the hearts afterward. Maybe I just like getting post, even if it comes in a heart-covered tissue box!)

Won’t you be my Feral Valentine?
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Original Gifts Under £15

From stocking stuffers to secret Santa ideas, you’re sure to find a little something that’s perfect & totally original. Check out the Gifts Under £15 Collection.
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Feral Sterling

Sterling silver is the most requested metal for specific pieces like earrings and shawl pins, and is one of the most popular metals for my delicate necklace designs incorporating stones and recycled pearls. Unlike copper or bronze, it is less forgiving and carries with it a certain responsibility as a precious metal.

Silver has long been imbued with magical qualities– aiding in warding, healing and liminal divination.  With correspondences to the moon and the element of water, it is a metal I have enjoyed wearing as almost an extension of myself.  Increasingly I have moved into this kind of jewellery that the wearer can enjoy daily, that almost becomes part of the self. You can find such pieces in the Feral Sterling Collection.

All my sterling pieces are hallmarked at the Edinburgh Assay Office, which has a long and fascinating history, hallmarking the work of silversmiths since the 15th century. I am proud to be working as part of this tradition.

The Hallmark consists of my Makers Mark, the metal purity– which for my sterling pieces is 925, the lion rampant which is a symbol of Scottish silver and the mark of the Assay office itself, which is a castle. Lastly the letter denotes the year of the piece in the Assay Office dating system. The hallmark is a guarantee of precious metal purity and dates back to 1457 when the law was passed making the mark a requirement, and the castle hallmark dates to 1485.

Much of the work I make is delicate and the hallmark is now applied on such small work with a laser, meaning you will need a jeweller’s loupe to clearly see it on smaller pieces. The photo on the right taken with a macro lens shows a the hallmark on a section of the back of a shawl pin.

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THE SOUND OF THE SEA

The Sound of the Sea

The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
And round the pebbly beaches far and wide
I heard the first wave of the rising tide
Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep;
A voice out of the silence of the deep,
A sound mysteriously multiplied
As of a cataract from the mountain’s side,
Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.
So comes to us at times, from the unknown
And inaccessible solitudes of being,
The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul;
And inspirations, that we deem our own,
Are some divine foreshadowing and foreseeing
Of things beyond our reason or control.

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I have long been influenced by the sea, but now its proximity seems to come into my work in more subtle ways.  I have always loved using shell shapes and ammonite fossils in my work, as well as abalone and repurposed pearls. With my daily visits to the sea I now find different lights and moods and even movement come into play.  One instance of this is in the Sea Chains earring design.  The hues of deep reds and bright blue-greens echo the diversity of colours in the tide pools at New Aberdour– red, brown and grass green seaweeds mix with blue crabs and pink anemones, and all seem to flow in a meditative dance.

I designed these earrings to move and flow with the wearer, much like the seaweeds in the rock pools!

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Sneak Peek of this Friday’s Thunder Moon Update!

In this shop update I’ve focused on sterling silver pieces, taking the sea and lunar beauty as my inspiration. There’s a mermaid worthy wedding set of abalone earrings and necklace with freshwater pearl accents (the pearls are all up-cycled from vintage pieces).  This set is perfect for a casual seaside handfasting or wedding, and could be worn long after your special event.

The luminous moonstone drop is paired with rustic, faceted garnets in the second necklace. All of my designs are created one at a time, by hand. I’ve created another pair of my ever-popular alchemist hoops–Delicate and lightweight, these hand forged sterling silver hoops are adorned with three stone drops: faceted pyrite and garnet with lovely strawberry quartz, all with hand wrapped sterling silver bails, inspired by the alchemical ideal– through magic you can turn blood, sweat and tears into something golden.

This update corresponds with the Full Thunder Moon this weekend– sometimes called the Buck, Hay or Blessing Moon.  It is the last full moon before we start our harvests in ernest.  How will you celebrate?

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