Ashley tell us a bit about why you came to The Smiddy…
A: At the start of July, I spent a week’s residency at The Smiddy, teaching some classes in return for using their beautiful workshop. I grew up 30min along the road from Banff so it was especially nice to be back.
Tell us a wee bit about yourself…
A: I run a jewellery brand called Behind Bracken. Items are handcrafted in recycled or Fairtrade metals using traditional goldsmithing techniques, with an appreciation for minimal design and heirloom jewellery. I graduated from Gray's School of Art in 2009 and now live in Edinburgh, but I’m current Jeweller In Residence at the Vanilla Ink sister site in Glasgow.
Did you do any teaching when you were at The Smiddy?
A: I teach already for the Glasgow Vanilla Ink so was excited to trial our kids classes up in Banff, and they went down a treat. First up was Hammer Club for 8-12 year olds which we actually sold out of so fast we added another date, and then sold out that one too!
We focused on 3 different techniques; hammering, stamping and roll printing. Everyone went away with a treasure bag of samples and a keyring to hang from school bags.
With our Make a Ring class for 13-16 year olds, we had 3 very talented friends book on and each made a beautifully textured ring- and learned all the techniques to make them including texturing, sawing and soldering.
What else did you get up to?
A: I was really excited for a week away from my normal routine to start developing some new work that I’ve had on the cards for a while.
What did you think about Banff as a location for a creative residency?
A: The Smiddy provided the perfect space to work on some new samples and had all the tools I needed to do so. The beach on the doorstep makes lunch breaks a proper treat and of course, I couldn’t leave without making a few trips across the road to the infamous Spotty Bag Shop which stocks anything and everything.
Also worth noting that Banff has a post office which was really handy for me to post a few customer orders from.
Anything else you would like to add?
I wish I’d had longer to spend in Banff but hoping in the future I can return,. I am already eyeing up their Make a Spoon class…so I may be back sooner rather than late.