A TALENTED Scots designer has created a range of woman’s jewellery for a car giant – to help them ditch their boy-racer image.
Edinburgh College of Art graduate Sarah Hutchison was drafted in by Vauxhall to help revamp the image of its popular Astra range.
Despite being a huge seller, the Astra reputation is often tarnished by the perception that it is a “hot hatch” and a firm favourite with boy racers. Vauxhall is desperate to make the care more appealing to women as well.
Now Sarah has designed a one-off matching set of jewellery based on the car’s alloy wheels – including a ring, a pendant, earrings and a brooch, which Vauxhall will use as part of its marketing campaign.
Sarah, from Port Seton, East Lothian, came to prominence as a student after Edinburgh jeweller Alistir Wood Tait funded her to attend a series of career-defining award ceremonies.
Alistir provides vital cash sponsorship to help jewellery-students from Edinburgh College of Art to attend important events all over the UK – and in Sarah’s case saw her scoop two major accolades in London, putting her on the map and leading to her tie-up with Vauxhall.
Delighted Sarah said: She added: “Since winning the Retail Jeweller’s Student Designer of the Year and the Goldsmith’s Company Award for Silversmithing last year really helped kickstart my career.
“I firmly believe that being an award winner lead me to commission jewellery on behalf of Vauxhall and it was a dream come true to design for them.
“Looking at the Astra Sport Hatch for inspiration was easy, the alloy wheels were the first things that I noticed, so the design for all the pieces was based on their shape.
“To illustrate the spirit of the car I used the words “Go Go” on some of the pieces – to communicate the sense of adventure that the car inspires. I feel the final pieces work well in relation to the car, but also as luxurious and desirable stand-alone pieces.”
Now Sarah will repay the compliment to Alistir Tait by showing examples of her work alongside those of the latest crop of young talent from Edinburgh College of Art. A week-long exhibition at Alistir Wood Tait Antique and Fine Jewellery in Rose Street, Edinburgh, is an important showcase for the students and another important element of the support he provides to emerging young talent.
The exhibition, from August 8 to 15, is first chance for many of them to show – and sell – their work to the public. Among the students taking part this year is Alison Phillip, 22, who uses precious metals to create stunning items.
Other promising talents are Sally Patrick, 22, whose pieces, base on Victorian style jewellery, use fossils, butterflies and semi-precious stones and Adele Brereton, 26, who will be showing her copper, silver and enamelled bowls.
Alistir, a respected gemmologist and one of the foremost experts on Scottish jewellery and precious stones, says he is delighted with Sarah’s success and how it shows his annual sponsorship is reaping rewards.
He added: “Attending design exhibitions and events is crucial for students as they aim to make a name for themselves in the commercial sector. The awards offer graduates unique opportunities, incredible exposure and an exciting start to their careers.
“I am delighted to be supporting the next generation of jewellery talent and I believe that it is extremely important for independent jewellers like mine to provide what help they can to ensure Scotland continues to keep producing excellent young designers.
“The student’s creations are stunning and very unique which is why I am thrilled to be showcasing their work. Edinburgh College of Art produces an exceptional wealth of talented and exciting jewellery designers in Scotland. I hope these shining examples will continue to attract wide attention and start to secure leading positions in the industry.”
Note to Editors
Sarah’s work has been described as “simply awesome” and won the prestigious Student Designer of The Year Award at the UK Jewellery Awards 2004. She has exhibited her work across the country, including at Dazzle (National Theatre, London 2004), Designers Jewellers Group (Barbican Theatre, London 2004) and Panic Gallery (Glasgow, 2004). Even the Queen has recognised Sarah’s talent, inviting her to a reception at Buckingham Palace last year to celebrate British Design.
As well as Sarah’s work, Vauxhall also commissioned belt buckles from established designer Jeremy Hoye and an interactive keycase by renowned designer Crispin Jones.
Simon Ewart, Manager, Consumer Communications at Vauxhall, said: “This project has been a first for us, but we are really impressed with what all our designers have come up with. The 3 door New Astra Sport Hatch is all about style, design and driving excitement and all the pieces convey this in their own unique way.”