Heather McDermott

Heather McDermott is exhibiting with us in the Barbican this winter as part of our program of support to new designers. Here, DJG member An Alleweireldt of Oxx jewellery London interviews Heather.

 Heather Mc Dermott

A.A. We saw you at One Year On in New Designers, have you had a busy year since graduating from Edinburgh College. Did you do any exciting projects?

H.M.D. I actually graduated in 2011, so I had had just over a year out of college when I did One Year On. It has been a great year for learning and developing my work. Taking part in Hothouse with the Crafts Council at the start of the year was an intense but amazing experience and has really helped me focus my ideas and plans for the future. I took part in my first residency in October in the Scottish Sculpture Workshop, which has sparked big new ideas for next year. Preparing work for exhibitions for Lesley Craze, Dazzle and the Designer Jewellers Group has also been a great experience in what jewellery works best where.

A.A. Your new collection features some very interesting contradictions of regular shapes and very individual and unique colour elements. What’s your inspiration and why did you choose the materials you are using?

H.M.D. My inspiration is my island home the Isle of Skye. Growing up there I didn’t appreciate the rugged beauty that I was surrounded by so moving back last year has really helped spark new ways at looking at my environment. The ever-changing shoreline below our house has been a particular place of interest. Flotsam and jetsam are constantly washed ashore in different states of decay and this is where I pick out my unique colours and weathered finishes. I use stainless steel to add a contemporary feel to the pieces and the shapes mimic fishing nets, creels and buoys found washed ashore.

A.A. I see from your website that you also make a lot of beautiful drawings of Skye, do they feed as your jewellery inspiration as well?

H.M.D. Yes these do. I always found at college that research drawing played a huge part in my design process and I wanted to carry this through into my practice. Over the next few years I hope to develop these drawing further alongside the jewellery and hopefully on a larger scale.

Heather McDermott drawing

A.A. How is it to be a jewellery designer on Skye, is there a big artistic community?

H.M.D. Yes there is. My dad is a watercolourist so we share a studio space that is open to the public throughout the year. There is a studio trail booklet for Skye that features ceramicists, painters, weavers, jewellers etc. and where to go to see their work. I am hoping to do more local events next year and hopefully organise a group show or pop-up shop.

Heather McDermott

A.A. It sounds like you are incredibly busy with shows all over the country during this Christmas period. Have you got any exciting plans for next year?

H.M.D. I would really like to concentrate on my artwork next year and develop my colour ranges for my jewellery. There is lot happening in Scotland next year so I want to be as present there as possible. I would also like to do another residency so there are a lot of plans in pipe-line!

It is very exciting to see that two of our new designers this year – Heather Mc Dermott and Kelly Munro – both found elements of inspiration in the fishing villages they come from, yet created such amazingly different work! That is so incredibly inspiring, good luck to both of you!

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