The winter months can be wild weather-wise here in Orkney, but our talented food, drink and crafts makers haven’t been hibernating.
In fact, many of them have been busy creating some fantastic new products to tempt you into a spring shopping spree.
This modern take on a traditional Orkney stool was first designed by the talented craftsman behind the Orkney Furniture Maker, Kevin Gauld, in 2006. It has continued to prove popular with customers and this special version also includes a newly-designed drawer pull and is made from ash. The design is influenced by a traditional Orkney seagrass-topped stool and features drawers in a similar style to those found in Orkney chairs. The piece can be viewed online and at Kevin’s new gallery which opened last year on the outskirts of Kirkwall.
It has been a busy few months for Orkney’s J. Gow Rum. An extension at the distillery on Lamb Holm will provide extra storage and production space, and now new products have also hit the shelves. Firstly, these beautiful Fiodh watches have been made from the first ever J. Gow Rum cask, which was used for ageing the distillery’s Fading Light rum. The watches vary in colour and grain due to the unique properties of the cask and are designed, hand-crafted and assembled in Glasgow. Meanwhile, the next release in the J. Gow Rum wild yeast series, Kveik, will be launched soon.
Michael Sinclair, Orkney’s talented woodturner has recently launched this brand-new design, perfect for displaying single stem dried or silk flowers. This half-weed pot is made from Orkney sycamore and features all its natural markings, and comes mounted on an ebonised backing board. The pot is sealed, waxed and buffed and also includes a small hole to display your single stem of choice. There are additional pieces in the range so get in touch with Michael to find out more.
The latest product from Orkney Spirits Limited, the family-run business behind the award-winning Orkney Gin Company, is Orkney Vodka. Distilled eight times using the purest local water, the vodka is exceptionally smooth with a silky texture. It can be enjoyed ice cold straight from the freezer or on its own, or served with your favourite mixers. Orkney Vodka will be available to buy online soon and from most local off-licences. Follow the team on social media for the launch date.
These new sketchbooks are perfect for the artist or writer in your life, bringing a splash of colour to help inspire creativity. Each A6 book comes with a hard front and back cover and 55 sheets of cartridge paper, and each one features a hand-painted or collaged cover by Orkney artist Jane Glue. The books come in a craft box with lid too.
To celebrate the opening of the Scapa Noust, its beautiful new tasting room, the Scapa Distillery is launching a new addition to its Distillery Reserve Collection. There are just 440 bottles of the rich and spicy Cask Finished Edition, Scapa 19-year-old Pedro Ximénez Hogshead Finish whisky on offer, which is exclusively available at the distillery and on the official website.
With the Orkney Folk Festival on the horizon once more, now seems like a sensible time to invest in a new instrument strap from the team at Orkney’s Aries Gallery. The embroidered adjustable straps are available for guitars, mandolas, citterns, ukeleles or other small stringed instruments. Most of the gallery’s straps are made to each customer’s specification with designs ranging from Celtic knotwork to runic inscriptions.
Everyone loves a good homebake but Orkney’s Odin's Kitchen is taking things to another level with its fantastic French Macarons, the delicious meringue sandwich cookies which have become popular treats across the islands. Favourite flavours locally include Orkney fudge, strawberry, lemon and biscoff, and many versions can be made dairy free and gluten free too. The macarons are available in Kirkwall’s Frozen Food Centre and often at local fairs and events, including the Spectacular Spring Fair at Kirkwall Grammar School on the 1st and 2nd of April. If you’re looking for a treat during a visit to the islands this year then you can also order direct on Facebook.
This beautiful new work by Sanday-based artist Bill McArthur really captures the feel of winter in the islands. It depicts a fierce hail shower blowing in over the island’s Start Point and its distinctive lighthouse, the painting is 82cm x 57cm and is also available in a series of prints too.