Moira’s Orkney inspiration helps her win jewellery design prize


Moira’s Orkney inspiration helps her win jewellery design prize

A love of Orkney inspired a Forth Valley College lecturer to design a piece of jewellery which won a magazine competition.

Access and Progression lecturer Moira Weir came up with her beautiful ‘Brodgar Butterfly’ design when she read about the competition in the Islander magazine during a trip to the northern Scottish Islands last summer.

Moira created the necklace pendant from a combination design featuring an inscription found on a stone in the Neolithic site of Ness of Brodgar and the Odin Stone. She was invited to work head to head with the designers and later met the silversmiths who made the necklace from silver and enamelled moonstone at the specialist Ortak jewellers on the island.

Moira, who teaches HNC Working with Communities students, said:

“My maternal grandparents were from Orkney so I know the history of the islands and that inspired me to come up with the design. I had to sketch it out and write a bit about what the design was about and why Orkney is important to me.I do have a background in art and have made jewellery in the social enterprise classes, but I had never done anything like this before.

“I was totally gobsmacked to have won and I am sure my students will be proud of me as they know I have a passion for art. It was great to be invited along to meet the design team and it was even more exciting to be presented with the piece as a necklace.

“It now means that if a customer likes the design a similar one can be made for them, but each one would be slightly different. I have been all over Orkney in my time and I consider it my place. You never know this could inspire me to have another go at designing more jewellery.”

Ortak’s Managing Director Michael Gardens, said:

“The design is inspired by Orkney and has Brodgar in the name, a standing stone based on the ‘Odin Stone’ full of romantic myth: ‘Join hands through the stone and pledge your love to your soulmate’.

“The shape and symmetry work very well too – it is pleasing to the eye and because it’s embellished with both moonstone and enamel, it will be fun to make, which for a competition, I feel is what this was all about.”

The Orkney Islander Magazine editor, Leah Seator , added:

“We wanted to see artistic flair combined with a love of Orkney and all its magic  - and I think we can safely say people really stepped up to the challenge . Many thanks to everyone who entered and congratulations to our very worthy winner.”


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