Silver Grain

September 5, 2019 by Perthshire Creates

An exhibition titled ‘Silver Grain’ will be running in Blairgowrie from Saturday 7 – Sunday 15 September with a preview night on Friday 6 September.  This is the first collaboration between Perthshire artists, Sarah Cave and Kirsty Dalton . It is part of Perthshire Open Studios which sees artists from all over Perthshire open up their workshops to exhibit their work – a map of all their venues can be found here.

Sarah Cave is a silversmith, graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 1995 , Sarah went on to work with Hamilton and Inches in Edinburgh before focusing primarily on her own work. Last year she opened a shop and studio space in Blairgowrie called ‘Sarah Cave Silversmith’Kirsty Dalton graduated in 2015 from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee, and specialises in woodwork. She sources her wood locally and uses a process called pyrography, which involves burning the wood freehand, to create an instinctive, natural style.

Silver work from Sarah Cave and Woodwork from Kirsty Dalton

Sarah describes how, ‘Kirsty and I met at the Perthshire Creates Christmas Design Market last year. We got chatting and it was Kirsty who said she would be interested in a collaboration. It’s not something I’d thought of doing before. Earlier this year Kirsty put out a post looking for a venue to do Perthshire Open Studios. I have a shop/studio space on the High Street in Blairgowrie so I contacted Kirsty and asked if she was still interested in doing the collaboration and suggested we did it as part of the Open Studios.’

Artists Sarah Cave and Kirsty Dalton collaborating to create the Silver Grain Project

Kirsty says, ‘I was very intrigued by Sarah’s work, particularly her silver bowls. I was far too nervous and shy to speak to her at the Summer Design Market. However, at the Christmas Design Market we were placed fairly close together. I had a very brief moment of confidence and decided to approach her stall. I had a quick and lovely chat with Sarah and before I knew it, I was suggesting to her that we should collaborate. I was absolutely over the moon when she got in touch with me at the start of the year, explaining she was interested in collaborating for Perth Open Studios.’

She notes that while she has had ‘the honour of working alongside some wonderful artists, designers and makers over the years’ this was her ‘first official collaboration with another designer.’

And it seems to have been a very positive experience: ‘It has been an absolute delight to work with Sarah,’ Kirsty writes, ‘We have been able to be realistic and in agreement throughout the design process. In terms of creating the work it has been exciting and full of welcome challenges.  I have pushed my ability and worked in completely new ways to create the pieces for the ‘Silver Grain’ project.’

Sarah agrees that, ‘The process has been great, we seem to have similar ideas about what we want to achieve. The challenge has been trying to find time when we can meet – face-to-face is much easier than over the phone, but work commitments have made that tricky. I’ve also had to factor in extra time to allow work to go between Kirsty and myself, as well as sending it away for hall marking and polishing, so things have taken longer than I’m used to but we started early and it’s all beginning to come together.’

Kirsty says, ‘It has been fascinating to learn about silversmithing. There were many details I was completely unaware of as a wood worker. The most important thing I have learned is to have plenty of time between making and hallmarking. It has been a much earlier deadline for me with this project as we have had to allow time to send the work off to be hallmarked.’

The exhibition is primarily focused around homeware and jewellery and Sarah writes that this theme, ‘seemed like a natural extension of what we both already do. We are making wooden bowls with silver detail and adding some of my hand raised silver bowls and whisky cups to Kirsty’s boards as well as combining the wood with silver to make smaller wearable pieces.’

Silver bowl and decorated board from Silver Grain.  Image: Craig Cantwell Photography

Kirsty says, ‘We had a meeting at the start of the year and discussed what items and lines of work we both created that would work well together. I personally was extremely keen on creating a line of bowls and jewellery. Sarah had some exciting ideas about creating boards for her silver whisky cups. The most important objective for us both, was that we wanted to create something completely unique that was made in traditional methods.’

Silver Grain Salad spoons                                           Image: Craig Cantwell Photography

Looking to the future Kirsty hints that, ‘There are certain lines of work we may continue to create after Perthshire Open Studios. So, keep your eyes peeled. I would happily work with Sarah again in the future as it has been a wonderful experience taking my work to completely new place and seeing some very exciting results.’

A Silver Grain collaborative jewellery piece

‘It has been an incredible journey seeing the woodwork and silver come together. Seeing the results of this project has me filled with inspiration to continue taking my work to the next level. It has been an honour to work with a professional like Sarah and it has been wonderful to see the results of this project.’

Sarah agrees, ‘Working with Kirsty has sparked new ideas and allowed me to take my work in a direction I may not have otherwise done. It is exciting to see things coming together and I’m looking forward to our launch night, on Friday 6 September, and seeing what people make of what we’ve done.’

The launch event and exhibition will be held at Sarah Cave Silversmith, 37 High Street, Blairgowrie. You can find further details about the launch on Facebook  as well as some more sneak peeks of the pieces involved, and visit them at Venue No.23 on the Orange Route as part of Perthshire Open Studios which runs until Sunday 15 September.

One of the Limited edition design of tiny little boxes from Silver Grain                         Image: Craig Cantwell Photography

Copy kindly provided by Andrew Jameson, working as a Perthshire Creates Content Volunteer, one of the various volunteering opportunities available within Culture Perth & Kinross

Top image shows Wooden Sycamore bowls and silverware from the Silver Grain Project.

Image: Craig Cantwell Photography