Creative Orkney and Orkney Food & Drink gear up for festive season

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Artists, designers and makers from around Orkney are set to join forces with local food and drink producers at a series of special events during November, aimed at boosting business in the run up to Christmas.

A highlight of the month will be a joint Creative Orkney and Orkney Food and Drink Festive Fayre, being staged in Kirkwall Grammar School over the weekend of 11 and 12 November.

The event, which will showcase around 30 local businesses from across the creative and food and drink sectors, will run between 10am and 4pm on the Saturday, and 10am and 3pm on the Sunday. Entry is free, with a host of demonstrations, product tastings and special Christmas offers available over the weekend.

A full list of all the Creative Orkney and Orkney Food and Drink members taking part is available on the Events page.

Later in the month, seven Creative Orkney members and 11 businesses from Orkney Food and Drink will be heading to Glasgow to take part in the Country Living Christmas Fair, being staged in the Scottish Event Campus in the city.

Billed by organisers as a chance to step inside the pages of Country Living magazine, the event – running between 16 and 19 November - covers everything from gift and home styling ideas to cookery demonstrations and live entertainment.

The Creative Orkney businesses making the trip to Glasgow are Karen Duncan Jewellery, Flow Glass, Aurora Jewellery, Annie Glue, Elsa Tait, Hume Sweet Hume and Zoe Davidson Jewellery.

Orkney Food and Drink members taking part are BOX'd (Orkney Marshmallows), Deerness Distillery, Highland Park, The Island Smokery, J Gow Rum, Orkney Bakery, Orkney Distilling, Orkney Gin Company, Orkney Isles Preserves, Stockan’s Oatcakes and Westray Bakehouse.

Attendance by the Orkney businesses at the event is being supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Orkney Islands Council, through the joint Orkney Marketing programme. The programme part-funds stand costs, and fully funds the costs of the design and management of the group stand which ensures the Orkney exhibitors have a distinctive and impactful presence at the fair.

Twelve Creative Orkney members will also be exhibiting at the Ship of Fools Gallery in Kirkwall’s Bridge Street throughout November.

The exhibition, which highlights the work of Harray Potter, Flow Glass, Donna Eunson Glass, Castaway Crafts, Jane Glue, Bill McArthur Seascape Art, Aries Gallery, Carrie Paxton Design, Artworks of the Earth, Toumal Art Studio, Ceri Biddle, and Rosalind Johansson Textiles, will be open between 10am and 4pm, Wednesday to Saturday.

A different exhibitor will be on hand in the gallery each day, giving visitors the chance to meet makers and talk about their work.

Kirsteen Stewart, project manager for Creative Orkney, said: “Christmas is such an important time for our creative businesses, with these November events aimed at showcasing their talents and products to customers locally and further afield in the run up to the festive season.

“We’re fortunate in Orkney that we have such strength in depth creatively, with our artists, designers and makers producing a truly remarkable range of work. In the short time I’ve been in my role, I’ve been stunned by the variety of activity within our creative sector and the huge reach Orkney products have in terms of national and international markets. That’s all great for Orkney’s economy and our reputation as a community where quality and attention to detail is paramount.

“Local people are very supportive of their artists, designers and makers too, and we hope these events will act as further encouragement to shop local in the run up to Christmas.”

Edgar Balfour, project manager for Orkney Food and Drink, agreed: “These events are vital for our local food and drink producers as they bring a welcome boost to business after the end of the busy tourist season. It’s also good to present a united front with our colleagues from Creative Orkney and to let folk locally see the incredible range of products that are now being made right here in the islands.

“The Scottish food and drink market has a worldwide reputation for quality, with Orkney very much at the forefront of the industry, but it’s also a hugely competitive marketplace and we can never take our foot off the pedal in terms of marketing our products to as wide an audience as possible. The Country Living Christmas Fair is always a key event for our food and drink businesses and we’re all very much looking forward to taking the very best of what Orkney can offer down to Glasgow.” Newsletter

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