Vanilla Ink has had a strong presence in Dundee for five years, which is incredible as it only opened its physical doors in 2012. The opening night of Vanilla Ink we celebrated the independent jeweller and spoke of aspirations of strengthening the sector within Scotland.
Two and a half years later we have had 17 jewellers pass through our door and used Vanilla Ink as their sounding board. We’ve had exhibitions, event nights, catwalks, pop-up shops, numerous professional development workshops, wonderful meet the maker sessions, awards and accolades, hundreds of aspiring jewellers trying their hand at making in one of our many classes and even founded the first Scottish Jewellery Week! Vanilla Ink and it’s Inkers have went from strength to strength and whether we see the Inkers striving off into the big bad world equipped with a few more skills and confidence or whether we see them take a different route, each Inker has been unique and their stories differ.
For now, it is a new chapter for Vanilla Ink Studios, as of the end of January 2015, Vanilla Ink Dundee will be closing its doors. We have taken a long time to deliberate over the idea and I feel Vanilla Ink needs to grow and develop. Vanilla Ink will be taking a year out to reflect on its successes and the not so successful, develop strong partnerships and review the landscape for opening a new Vanilla Ink in Glasgow.
Dundee holds a strong place in my heart, the city has taken me in as one of its own and I have seen it grow and flourish over the past 11 years of me inhabiting it and it comes with a heavy heart to be closing the studio in Dundee. We have made new friends and have had a great deal of support from the Dundee community. Lots of happy memories from our beautiful studio will stay with me forever.
Although we have had much success there have been barriers that have prevented us from fully exploring our potential. Dundee is a great environment and has a strong grassroots community with a spirited ethos but sustaining the great ideas, momentum and motivation is hard work. It can easily feel isolated at times, as we continue striving to fulfil what we set out to and have dedicated our lives to achieving.
However, the years research and development time will help me plan Vanilla Ink Dundee 2.0 and overcome the barriers. Rest assured, we will be back and with partnerships already in the making, so you won’t be missing us for too long.
In this exciting transitional period for Vanilla Ink, I have taken on a new position with an organisation I greatly admire, Spring Fling. Leah Black, Spring Fling’s director, has been a source of inspiration for me for some time and I have watched her career develop from Strike Your Pose to The Gin Palace, to Spring Fling and it is incredible the work she does for the sector. She was also mentor to Alumni Inker, Filipa Olivera, for the first round of Vanilla Ink. I will be working with Leah at Spring Fling, helping develop their exciting new projects, so don’t be surprised if you see my name pop up there.
In the meantime, the studio still has some classes running and this will be the last set of classes we will run so get in quick.
If anyone would like to talk to me about Vanilla Ink Dundee or Vanilla Ink Glasgow, I would love to hear from you.
For now, have a fantastic year and please keep an eye on Vanilla Ink, we will still be here and we will be going out on a bang. Thank you so much for all your support!
Founding Director of Vanilla Ink Studios.