It has been another busy summer for Orkney’s creative community, with many makers welcoming visitors from around the world into their workshops, studios, and galleries.
Now, with autumn arriving, attention is turning to creating new products to add to their already fabulous ranges.
Take a look at some of the excellent and innovative items you can buy from our Creative Orkney and Taste of Orkney members right now. It’s time to treat yourself to something special from the islands.
After a busy inaugural summer at her new café and gallery overlooking Scapa Flow and the Churchill Barriers in Orkney’s east mainland, local jewellery designer Celina Rupp has still found time to launch her brand-new ‘Anchors Haven’ collection. Each piece is handmade in her workshop and the solid sterling silver collection features pendants, bracelets, rings and more, all inspired by the feeling of warmth and comfort experienced as you return from sea to the welcoming view of home.
This dramatic work by Sanday-based artist Bill McArthur depicts gannets soaring and diving for herring on the south side of Hirta, the main island of St Kilda. Bill used to fish around the islands and was always awed by clouds of these impressive birds. Like many folk, Bill has been dismayed by the recent impact of avian flu on many sea bird populations locally, including gannets, and this painting reminds him of happier times he hopes to see again soon.
The Orkney Brewery marked the opening of its stunning new bottle shop in Kirkwall with the launch of its brand-new Runic range of cans. Skara is a Blonde IPA brewed with citrus, pine and tangy-flavoured hops. Brodgar is a Malt Bere, using bere malt paired with rye to create a rich and full-flavoured beer. The third addition is Hafn, a Helles Lager, which takes its inspiration from Germany and the Czech Republic. According to the brewery, the range is a tribute to ‘the natural beauty and heritage of Orkney’. The beers are available online and in-store in Kirkwall and at the Orkney Brewery in Quoyloo.
These beautiful mirrors from craftsman Leo Kerr are inspired by Orkney’s crisp winter skies with a bright full moon - the timber used on the edges mimics a whisper of cloud drifting across the moon. The mirrors are made by burning the timber then cooling it with water, followed by wire-brushing the wood and finally giving it a lime wax finish. When complete, the wood appears textured and almost stone-like. The mirror comes in two sizes and is available to view online and in Leo’s Burray showroom.
Jeanne Bouza Rose has been an almost permanent fixture at the incredible Ness of Brodgar excavations of the years, and has been one of the artists in residence at the dig since 2018. During that time, she’s created some beautiful art inspired by the archaeology on display, and the archaeologists themselves. Her collection, ‘Over the Edge - Paint and Brush between Trowel and Earth’ has been on display locally over the summer and is now available to view and purchase online for the first time. The sale will end on 20th October with proceeds donated to both the Ness of Brodgar Trust and Orkney’s Peedie Retreat charity.
The team at J. Gow Rum have been busy adding to their range this summer, crafting this special charity release for the John Rae Society. 10% of the income from each bottle of Hall of Clestrain, named after the Orkney childhood home of Arctic explorer, Dr John Rae, will go to the Society to support its plans to bring the Hall back to its former glory. There are only 229 bottles of the rum itself, which comes in at 54% abv and has been aged in virgin chestnut casks for more than three years. It was then stored in PX sherry octaves for nearly two years and is the distillery’s first sherry cask and double cask rum. This heavy, full-bodied, richly flavoured rum will be available online and in the shop at Lamb Holm in Orkney from the end of September.
This new bowl from Michael Sinclair is hand-turned from Scottish elm at his workshop in Harray and features an ebonised beech base. The timber has a beautiful grain and the bowl also has hand-carved vertical grooves on the exterior, inspired by the splits and weathering you find on old fence posts across Orkney. It’s another stunning piece from a very talented craftsman.
These new framed, signed, original works from textile artist, Ceri Biddle, are all inspired by the natural beauty of Orkney. Each piece is created using Ceri’s own unique fabrics, which are hand-dyed and printed to capture the textures of the local landscape. Applique birds, boats and animals are also added and then stitched to add more detail, with hand-painted elements included. Each artwork is completely unique, too.
It has been a busy summer of building work at the Swannay Brewery base in the north-west corner of the Orkney mainland, but it hasn't stopped the team from creating a brand-nbew beer. OLA – Orkney’s first lager - was launched during the summer and is brewed with European hops and 100% lager malt. OLA features that classic low bitterness and subtle sweetness that makes helles lagers so popular and has been well-received in local pubs over the summer months. It's now available in cans from the Swannay Brewery online store, and there are also plans to expand the Swannay lager range in the future, using OLA as the baseline model.
Carrie Paxton’s beautiful glasswork always stands out in local shops, and this Ring of Brodgar-inspired piece is no different. Made using clear glass, the edges are cleaned and sanded before the design is painted using enamels and silverstain. Each stage of painting needs four separate firings in the kiln to achieve the depth of colour and detail you can see on the finished item. The glass is mounted on an oak stand to complete the effect.
It has been a busy few years for Orkney artist Ingrid Grieve. She opened her new Toumal Art Studio in Orphir, overlooking Scapa Flow, in 2022 and has been steadily adding to her range ever since. Along with her stunning paintings of Orkney’s land and seascapes, she offers a range of home furnishings, including these beautiful table lamps. Each made from prints of Ingrid’s paintings, the lamps feature various local sites, including the Ring of Brodgar and the Bay of Skaill. They’re available at her studio, online, and at Starlings shop in Kirkwall.
Whisky fans can enjoy three new releases from Scapa Distillery this autumn – the perfect accompaniment to a night in front of the fire. Scapa has added an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old to its Distillery Reserve Collection; the 8 is full of tropical notes whilst the 10 comes with grape and apple flavours. Both these bottles can be bought in the distillery shop and online. Meanwhile, the Distillery Reserve Collection 14-year-old is available exclusively at the distillery here in Orkney. It’s full of summer flavours, from strawberries to honeycomb.