Orkney designer wins jewellery challenge

Orkney-based art student Norna Sinclair has won a nationwide competition which will see a unique range of jewellery brought to life to mark Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

Historic Environment Scotland partnered with Orkney-based jewellery manufacturer and long-standing Orkney Craft Association member, Ortak, to challenge students across the country to design a range of jewellery inspired by the 5,000 year old chambered cairn at Maeshowe.

Norna's winning designs wowed the judges and will now be made by Ortak for sale before Christmas.

Entrants were asked to draw on the different features of the site and its past to help inspire their designs.

Norna, a Fine Art Textiles student at Orkney College, was named by the judges as the overall winner for her range, which includes a necklace, bracelet, ring and earrings. She used the circular, bird’s eye view of the site for inspiration, along with archaeological field survey drawings of Maeshowe.

Pictured above: Norna Sinclair

She also drew on other aspects and features from the local surrounding landscape, using coloured enamels and the nearby Barnhouse Stone. Her creations will now be manufactured by Ortak and will be available to buy in gift shops and online next month.

Celebrating her win, Norna Sinclair, said: ‘Winning this design competition is a fantastic accolade and a very exciting time for me. Being an art student, you often have ideas that never reach fruition so it's a real privilege to see my design taken from sketches on paper through to final pieces of jewellery and manufactured by Ortak. It has been a wonderful experience and I'm looking forward seeing it go on sale.’

One of the judges, Historic Environment Scotland’s Kari Coghill, said: ‘The standard of design entries was incredibly high and it was fantastic to get a real insight into the emerging design talent within Scotland. Whilst judging wasn’t an easy task, we were particularly impressed with Norna’s innovative approach and it was great to see how she used an archaeological field survey drawing of Maeshowe to spark her creative process.’

Pictured from L to R: Michael Gardens (Ortak), Kari Coghill (HES), Chris Hunt (Scotland Re:Designed)

Helping to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, the competition was open to students studying art, design and creative industry related degrees, with the initiative attracting entries from aspiring designers from Glasgow and Edinburgh to the Highlands and Orkney.