A north-east business received a visit from The Duke of Rothesay earlier this week.
Vanilla Ink The Smiddy in Banff, which is the brainchild of Kate Pickering and Scott McIntyre, marked the Duke’s visit by presenting him with a handmade quaich.
The gift was crafted by the whole team and silversmith Megan Falconer went on to give Prince Charles a tour of the premises.
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We had the honour yesterday of presenting this handmade quaich made by the whole team @vanillainkuk @scottvanillaink @alivanillaink @megan_falconer to HRH on his visit to The Smiddy. . Our team wanted to create a contemporary piece which would represent both Scottish tradition and creative collaboration. . #silversmith #quaich #goldsmith #silverware #scottish #banffsilver
Scott McIntyre, director and co-founder of Vanilla Ink, said: “It was a team job created by all four staff members, with each of us having a say in the design, manufacture and finish of the piece. Alison Arrowsmith, our workshop coordinator, had initially mentioned that we should mark HRH’s visit with a special piece, and we came up with the idea of a quaich. A uniquely Scottish piece of silverware, made entirely on both of Vanilla Ink’s premises (Aberdeenshire and Glasgow), with some lovely personal touches added for good measure.
“The whole quaich was created from 100% recycled silver, something that’s important to both Vanilla Ink and HRH. Megan got to work with raising the bowl. As the only fully-trained silversmith, it was best she took on this task. However, Alison got her hands dirty too and once the two of them had finished the bowl, it was wooshed in the post down to Glasgow.
“Meanwhile, myself and Kate got round to creating the handles and base. We’d discussed the idea of integrating Prince Charles’ love of the natural world and set about designing a look that would give a flowing, organic feel, while representing all things Scottish. The end result had an organic, sweeping base to it, hinting towards HRH’s love of horticulture and nature. One handle was expertly saw pierced with an intricate Celtic pattern, while the other was a contemporary take on a thistle leaf. These were painstakingly made by myself and Kate, ensuring each looked perfect and achieved the exact look we intended. As an additional detail, we decided to create beautiful, flowing grooves on the bowl’s outer surface, which tied into the natural look and seemed as if they were shooting out of the ‘vines’ of the base. It was the final part of a perfect design.
“Once manufactured, each section was soldered into place with great care and a gentle touch. We opted for a brushed finish, but with the occasional high polished area. This made the grooves on the outside of the bowl, as well as the chamfered edges of the thistle leaf dance and sing, giving the overall look an added dimension.
“He seemed quite surprised that we had taken the time to create a unique piece for him. It was a lovely reaction, and quite an honour to see his genuine, sincere gratitude towards the gift. He chatted to Kate and I for a good while, asking what each section illustrated and understanding what the whole piece represented. It was a great way to end the visit and a fantastic result which acknowledged our whole team’s achievements.”
Vanilla Ink The Smiddy was established in September 2018 and offers skills development opportunities for those in the area and across Scotland.