Drawing inspiration from the breathtaking landscapes of her beloved Isle of Skye, jeweller, Heather McDermott shares with us some insights into her creative process, the balance between modern aesthetics and traditional craftsmanship, and her love for promoting Scottish makers. Join us as we delve into the world of Heather McDermott and discover the beauty she brings to life through her stunning jewellery creations.
Hello, please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a bit about what you do.
My name is Heather McDermott and I’m a jewellery designer and maker based in Callander.
I also create artwork mainly of trees and other small sculptures inspired by the landscape of
How would you describe your style and where do you take inspiration from?
My style is bold and contemporary but with a timeless feel. I have two quite separate collections, one in stainless steel and the other in silver and gold. However, both are inspired by my island home the Isle of Skye. Distressed colourful fishing boats, driftwood, fishing nets and the changing shorelines of Skye are a constant source of inspiration and even though I haven’t lived there for over six years, that environment is ingrained in me.
When did you begin making jewellery and how have you developed your practice over time?
I actually started making beaded jewellery when I was 10, to be sold in my dad’s gallery at home for extra pocket money. I then went to Edinburgh College of Art and specialised in jewellery. Since then, I’ve spent the past 11 years building my practice from the shed in my parent’s garden to my flat in Glasgow, to a workshop in the Hidden Lane in Glasgow then to opening my first shop in Callander. I have exhibited internationally and nationally through retail and trade shows and exhibitions at a wide variety of galleries and shops. My mantra when I first started my business was to try as many different events and opportunities as possible to get my name out there so it’s nice to be able to reap the benefits from that now with the shop.
Can you tell us a bit about the process behind creating your beautiful jewellery?
Everything is handmade from my workshop in Callander, which is housed in one end of the shop. I hand form all of my wire shapes and either solder or weld depending on the metal. Stainless steel in particular isn’t a popular metal used in jewellery but I love making really sculptural wire pieces that look delicate but are tough as nails.
As a local, what are your top recommendations for activities and attractions that visitors
should explore in your area?
There is so much to do in this part of the world and I’m still discovering a lot of amazing hidden treasures. A favourite in Callander is the walk at Bracklinn Falls but I also love popping up the road to Loch Katrine where there is a lovely 12km walk ending with a dip in the Loch. There are so many lovely independent shops in Callander as well, I always recommend Mhor Bread for their amazing pies and pastries and Ben Ledi Cafe for their coffee.
How do you strike a balance between modern aesthetics and traditional craftsmanship in
your jewellery creations?
I think the fact I hand make pretty much everything means that even though the pieces are unique and modern the are made using techniques that have been used for hundreds of years, using tools that haven’t changed for that long either. I do use some industrial techniques such as laser cutting and welding but I love the combination of hand formed shapes alongside the precision of laser cutting even more.
Tell us a bit about your shop, are there any other Scottish makers or designers that we can
Everything for sale in the shop is made in Scotland and something I am really passionate about promoting especially on the high street. I stock a variety of smaller gift items such as Rosie Sugden cashmere socks and Tessuti silk scarves made in Edinburgh and two other jewellers: Gilly Langton based in Plockton and Donna Barry in Edinburgh. I like to stock things that compliment my own work but also brings something really different to the shop.
INTERVIEW BY Eryn Inglis