A talented young Scots jewellery designer has won two major awards within 10 days after taking London by storm.
Art student Sarah Hutchison, 22, was thrilled to win her silver and gold creations claimed two coveted titles and were described as “wow” by judges.
Now she will also see her work put on display by the renowned Edinburgh jeweller Alistir Wood Tait, who help her showcase her work for London’s top talent spotters.
He provided £1000 sponsorship for the jewellery department at Edinburgh College of Art, which helped pay for its students to travel to London for the most important dates in the jewellery design calendar.
That provided Sarah with the opportunity to attend the New Designers show at London’s Business Design Centre on July 4 – where she won the Goldsmith’s Company Award for Silversmithing, with a £1000 cash prize and £500 worth of materials.
Last week (July 14) she followed that success when she was named Student Designer of the Year by industry bible, Retail Jeweller Magazine which described her work as, “awesome, in the words of our judges”.
The judging panel added: “The entry stood out from the beginning and this student has designed a fun, wacky yet accessible range and appears to be really challenging the world of jewellery. “
Yet Sarah, originally from Port Seton, East Lothian, revealed she only took up jewellery design by chance, after leaving Preston Lodge High School to study at Edinburgh College of Art.
She said: “I studied art at school and knew that I wanted to go to art college, but I had no idea what I wanted to study. But, after a foundation course in silversmithing and jewellery design my mind was made up.
“It was obviously the right choice, because three years down the line here I am, about to embark on exciting challenges.
“Winning the prize was a dream come true and has given me the opportunity to have examples of my work at some other top design galleries and exhibition in London, which I am really looking forward to.”
She also praised Alistir Wood Tait, based on Rose Street, Edinburgh, for its financial backing of the Edinburgh students and added: “The generous donation enables students from the art college to attend events and showcase portfolio examples that we have been working on and I can’t thank him enough.
“Attending those events is crucial for students as we aim to make a name for ourselves in the commercial sector. This was the main event to showcase our work to the design industry across the UK, as the awards offer graduates unique opportunities, incredible exposure and an exciting start to their careers. “
As a result of her success, Sarah will see her work featured at design exhibitions throughout the UK. That will include having items from her collection displayed at Alistir Wood Tait on Rose Street, from August 9.
Sole director Alistir Tait said he was delighted to be playing a part in fostering the next generation of jewellery talent.
He added: “I believe it is important for companies like mine to provide what help it can to encourage this talent and ensure Scotland continues to produce excellent young designers.
“We have an exceptional wealth of young, exciting jewellery designers in Scotland and Edinburgh College of Art is at the forefront in developing these skills. I hope these students will continue to attract wide attention and start to secure leading positions in the industry.
“Sarah’s creations are wonderful, truly unique and I am absolutely thrilled to be the first jeweller launching her work.”
Sarah, who graduated with a first class honours degree in Design and Applied Arts, will now be embarking on a post-graduate degree in silversmithing and jewellery at the Art College from September.
Her design pieces range from £175 for an elaborate pair of titanium and cubic zirconia earrings, to £1150 for an intricate silver necklace containing 19 carat gold and a single pearl. Her creations take inspiration from the natural world with her jewellery pieces exploring movement and texture.
She added: “I am inspired by nature which is the element in all my designs. In order for me to feed my ideas I have a series of sketchbooks where I have compiled drawings which I use as the foundations.
“Having worked on Sterling, Britannia and Fine silver I have learned a great deal about the inherent qualities of the metal and this allows me to create pieces which appear to be fluid, free and soft flowing.”
She added: “I am interested in designing and prototyping for the industry. I had a wonderful experience in Germany working for leading jewellery designer Manu Schmuck where I made patterns for some of their design ranges, which gave me great confidence as the company used my design in their promotional material.”
The college’s degree course has won wide national and international recognition and students frequently win all the top industry and design prizes.