Our newest retail space on Level 2 demonstrates our commitment to promoting and supporting the work of artists, designers and makers living and working in local AB postcode areas. Operating with a ‘pay it forward’ ethos, the shop features 3-4 makers at a time, on a three-month rotation. They then nominate makers whose work they admire for the next slot bringing you a constantly evolving range of meticulously crafted products from a diverse range of local creatives, including ceramics, fine art, textiles and accessories.
Ailsa Joy Pottery
Ailsa Joy Simpson
Ailsa Joy Simpson graduated this year from Gray’s School of Art with a degree in 3D Design, specialising in ceramics. Their work is inspired by the local landscape and culture of Aberdeen, “The Granite City” and their current practice involves experimenting with ways to incorporate local materials into ceramics.
Ailsa’s series of functional homewares are made using locally sourced granite in the glazes – the diversities in the granite give each piece a natural speckle. The colours in this series are inspired by the coastal landscape of Aberdeen, combining the colour of golden sands with sea greens and blues of the North Sea. Each piece features a seam of gold which represents the mica found in Aberdeen granite that gives it its characteristic sparkle. The mica present melts in the glaze as it forms, so Ailsa adds this gold lustre seam to give the granite back its golden shine.
Ailsa creates functional handmade ceramics which they hope people will have an emotional connection to through the materials used to create them, and also that these handmade everyday objects will be treasured in the home.
Megan Falconer is a jeweller and silversmith based in Aberdeen. She focuses on creating unique, handcrafted jewellery and silverware using rocks from the Scottish landscape.
By making her own tools, Megan can create completely one-off pieces of silver and gold which celebrate her surrounding coastline. Her craft explores the connection between the tool, the maker and the object created. By combining traditional techniques with contemporary practices, Megan’s designs highlight the qualities of both. The designs she creates are process led due to the characteristics of her tools and means she can never fully anticipate the final outcomes of the pieces she creates. The unpredictability of the process drives her to create beautiful and bespoke jewellery and silverware that cannot be replicated.
Megan has spent the last six years refining her jewellery brand and is proud to sell a range of jewellery to suit a variety of budget and styles. Her pieces range from simple everyday earrings and necklaces to rings with 18ct gold and precious stones. Megan also welcomes bespoke commissions and remodels.
Nicola Brand is a fibre artist and illustrator, specialising in character design to create one-of-a-kind designer plush toys.
Nicola has been creating bespoke dolls since graduating with a BA (Hons) in Textile Design at Gray’s School of Art in 2012. Her illustration work was her main focus for a number of years but during the 2020 lockdown, she wanted to produce something more tactile and started creating fibre creatures again.
Nicola likes to work in wool felt, faux fur and wool roving and she loves to experiment and find new ways of creating her unique creatures. The inspiration for these creatures comes from years of collecting toys, watching cartoons and playing video games and she is particularly drawn to characters that are typically the anti-hero. What she loves most about her work is when clients find one of her creatures that personally resonates with them.
Nicola’s growing body of work saw her move from home working at the beginning of 2021 to a studio space at the Northern Arts Club which has become a haven of creatures, materials and inspiration.
Paper Houses Design
Paper Houses Design is a textiles lifestyle studio based in Aberdeenshire creating bold and stylish patterns for everyday products. Its founder, designer Mhairi Allan, has a background in textile design, including printing, embroidery design and textile teaching.
Inspiration for the product range - which features homeware, fashion accessories, notebooks and sketchbooks – often draws on man-made structures in the local landscape. The studio’s second collection, FORM, featured here, looks at the recently A-listed high-rise buildings in Aberdeen city and their surroundings, developing from shadows and light on a concrete brutalist staircase. Sketches are developed into surface patterns which are designed to transcend seasons. The products have all been created to be practical and simplistic to work with different needs. For example, the silk square can be displayed like artwork or worn to add a finishing touch to an outfit.
Process and people are key to Paper Houses Design who spend months researching, sampling and talking to the people that help in the creative process. The patterned cotton is digitally printed in England where the water is fully filtered clean before it is returned to its source. The printed fabric then comes to their studio where it is turned into everyday products by them, supported by Scottish freelance manufacturers.