Orkney’s Churchill Barriers inspire unique new collection by islands jeweller

Orkney’s iconic Churchill Barriers have inspired a unique new collection by young islands jewellery designer, Zoe Davidson.

The barriers, created during WWII to protect Royal Navy ships anchored in Scapa Flow, now act as causeways linking the Orkney mainland with the south isles of Lamb Holm, Glimps Holm, Burray and South Ronaldsay.

Image by Art Mosomi Photograpy

Zoe’s new handcrafted collection of silver necklaces, earrings and rings references the distinctive shapes of the huge concrete blocks used to build the barriers, fusing history with her contemporary design techniques. The collection also incorporates gemstones.

“The barriers are such remarkable structures, born from a time of conflict, but now serving as vital links between island communities,” said Zoe. “I’ve long been fascinated by the shapes of the enormous concrete cubes over which the road between the isles travels. They have such a sculptural quality and I’ve tried to reflect that in my collection.”

Image by Art Mosomi Photography

Twenty-five-year-old Zoe – a member of Orkney Crafts Association – graduated in Jewellery and Metal Design from Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in 2013.

Born in Borneo, she grew up in the Orkney port town of Stromness, drawing much of the inspiration for her work from the seas around the islands.zoe-davidsons-barriers-collection-citrine

Following her graduation from Dundee, Zoe undertook internships with Amsterdam fashion designer, Iris Van Herpen, and Plockton-based jeweller, Gilly Langton. She also worked with Orkney jewellers, Alison Moore Designs and Ortak, before deciding to start her own business in Stromness earlier this year.

Zoe Davidson’s new Barriers collection will be officially launched at the Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, at 6pm on Friday 4 November.

zoe-davidsons-barriers-collectionThe model images are by Art Mosomi Photography. Make-up and hair by Anne-Marie Keldie’s Make-Up Artistry.


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