In Scotland, craftsmanship is a part of our DNA from weaving fabric to making tools to furniture and everything in between. In the Highlands, reusing materials is second nature even before up-cycling was trendy. There’s a running joke that balers twine is a teuchters (Lowlander Scots for Highlander) best friend fixing everything from a gate to an engine as buying new is not always better.
For every piece and design I handcraft, I want to connect its owner to the hills, glens and lochs of Scotland, back to where the piece originated, reminding them of its natural environment. In this modern life, I often feel there is a detachment with nature, which is both concerning in a practical sense as the climate is warming and in a psychological sense as we need to be closer to where we belong.
I’m passionate about collecting, catching and hunting wild food, an understanding of nature that I hope will show through in my designs. I find the symbiotic relationship between the ancient and instinctive need to gather and hunt food with creating pieces, using every part of the animal, really fascinating. There is a beautiful symmetry between up-cycling materials that would otherwise be thrown away and the natural world using everything at its disposal.
One of my favourite products that I make is the antler cufflinks. Each pair is unique due to the variation in each antler I find. For example, the size of the stag and where he lived in the landscape. It’s a beautiful material to work with, and humans have been working with it for thousands of years.
My workshop is in my back garden. All the products that I sell are handmade by me, by my own two hands in my workshop. I’m always interested in discovering new ways to utilise materials that I’ve found or are given to create tactile pieces. The materials I use are ethically sourced and collected from local estates, clay pigeon shooting grounds, slate quarries and farms. I use recycled packaging whenever possible and do everything I can throughout the making process to minimise my carbon footprint.
This blog post was originally written in Our Isles - a project that helps to promote rural small businesses, designers and artists.