Jewellery Studio in Dundee’s industrial quarter


Manhattan has lofts, London has warehouses, Dundee has mills.

Giant, impressive disused buildings ripe for refurbishment and reminders of Dundee’s 19th century history as a textile trading capital.

There are no working mills left in Dundee today, but Meadow Mill home to WASPS’s 58 artists studios and gallery space over 4 floors, remains as industrious as ever.

This weekend at Meadow Mill, a party was thrown to celebrate the whirlwind first year of Vanilla Ink, a first of its kind jewellery studio providing a 1 year development programme for graduate jewellery designers.

In just 12 months, founder Kate Pickering, a graduate of the Masters of Design for Services at Duncan of Jordanstone has started her business idea from scratch based at WASPS.
Vanilla Ink set out to foster 8 talented jewellers, who are now in a better place to operate their own individual businesses. Along the way Kate fundraised £8,000 to take Vanilla Ink to International Jewellery London and has been crowned a Trailblazer in Professional Jeweller Magazine’s Top 100 List, and has recruited the next group of designers for 2013-2014.

Kate, funny and modest, says its been an incredible year and she hopes to see the concept, delivered with the help of the creative community in Dundee, grow in other cities.

Visit Vanilla Ink Studios for details of resident jewellery designers and jewellery making courses.

Across the road from Meadow Mill is Verdant Works , Scotland’s Jute Museum.

WASPS Artists Studios





Dundee rewards creativity !

2012 has been announced by the Scottish Government as the “Year of Creative Scotland” with a £6.5 million investment boost for creative culture. And acting as official host for the year  will be neighbouring St. Andrew’s.

So with “creative” being the buzz word for 2012, its encouraging to learn that Dundee Council has been putting its money where its mouth is with the annual “Craft Makers: Dundee Award” . This year the prize money of up to £1500 has been awarded to Nikki McWilliams Design, who has decided to use the money to display her homewares brand at trade show Top Drawer in January where she’ll be unveiling some new designs.

Dundee designer Nikki McWilliams who phoned her mum and put the kettle on when she heard she had been awarded the Dundee Craft Makers Award

Nikki’s designs have been popping up everywhere and I’m very taken with the nostalgic biscuit inspired home accessories. If Santa’s listening Im rather in love with the Bourbon cushions !

Tunnocks Teacake Cushion

Bourbon Biscuit Cushion

Nikki and her elves are working up to the last minute and will be taking orders up til midnight on Wed 21st December for guaranteed next day delivery.

Cup Of Tea Print

All of Nikki’s work is handmade from start to finish in Scotland, using locally sourced materials and resources, a design belief thats very important to her.

Buyers from places like John Lewis, Liberty, Anthropologie and will be scouring the Top Drawer trade show for new designs to fill up their shelves. Get in on the action and buy direct from Nikki while we still can.

Shop Happy, Shop Local !

This year Im not feeling at all tempted by all the shiny Christmas catalogues dropping through the letterbox or the blah blah emails from Amazon or Gap. I want to spend my money on original things in welcoming independent shops and and with local designers. It feels nicer. Here’s where I’m heading this week !

Wed 30th Nov – Mohair – the most stylish boutique in Broughty Ferry in my opinion, are having a special shopping evening from 5.30 pm with discounts and drinks on offer. Everyone welcome. I actually love this shop, everything about it from the designers stocked to the old vintage trunks in the windows is chic, chic, chic. Owner Mhairi has a great eye and gives brilliant customer service. I rarely see my favourite fragrance brand Miller Harris outside of the big shopping capitals, but Mohair stocks a full selection of all the Miller Harris scents and candles. These would make the best Christmas present EVER – Fleur Oriental (in the deep red box) is a beautiful sexy warm scent. Couer de Fleur (yellow box) my best ever summer fragrance, and Im testing out the new Pluie, inspired by a rainstorm in India. Also in store is a well selected selection of the ‘cool girls’ favourite jewellery Alex Monroe and a myraid of other soft, pretty, elegant, sophisticated items of lovelyness. Mohair, 146 King Street, Broughty Ferry. 01382 737 359.

Friday – I ll be going along to the WASPS Studio at 18 Airlie Place, DD1 4HJ to pour over the work of over 40 designers who will have their work on sale from Friday 2nd to Saturday 3rd December. Music and mulled wine are promised as well as a chance to chat with the designers themselves.

Sunday 4th December at the Queens Hotel in Dundee is a one off visit from Funk Fair , usually based in Edinburgh. A collection of well vetted vintage dealers with clothes, jewellery, furniture and collectibles on sale. Dealers include Gladrags of Forfar, The Frockery, Kate Pickering of Vanilla Ink Studios in Dundee, Kathleen of The Sassy Hatter in Brechin and Jody from Falkland !
11am – 4pm. Entry £1.

Bunty and Bella’sBig Boutique Bash is happening on Sunday too! Along at Maggie’s Centre at Ninewells this is always worth a visit. Cakes and tea and designers on site.

Thats a hell of a lot of shopping to be done. Updates and pics on purchases to follow…

For anyone not able to make it along to these shopping events, check out the online shopping boutique based in Dundee which stocks a huge variety of young, new brands and independent designers.


Mohair, Broughty Ferry


Miller Harris collection at Mohair, Broughty Ferry

28th August 2011 – Bunty and Bella’s Big Boutique Bash, Maggie Centre, Dundee

This looks very interesting indeed and I plan to go along on Sunday to experience whats on offer.

Everything about it spells a really lovely afternoon out –  a chance to see the amazing  Maggies Centre building designed by architecht Frank Gehry whilst oohing over a selection of beautiful, unique things created by 10 clever crafty types including the talented lovelypigeon and the organisers Bella and Bunty who Im keen to find out more about. Its a clever way of combining shopping and fundraising  and by all accounts lots of opportunities to drink tea and eat cakes (provided by Bibi’s bakery in St Andrews.)  Gather up some mums and friends and make it a date.

The Big Boutique Bash is on Sunday 28th August 2011 between 2 and 4 pm in the grounds of Maggie’s Centre at Ninewells Hospital, Tom McDonald Avenue, Dundee.