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Artisans in Scotland

My wife and I will be traveling with my parents for a 14 day trip to the UK. For the Scotland portion of our trip, we will be visiting Edinburgh, Inverness, the Highlands, and also attending the Braemar games. Something my mom loves doing on trips is visiting local artisans to watch them work and maybe purchase some of their wares. I am aware of the abundance of great whiskey distilleries in Scotland, but are there any other noteworthy or interesting artisan type things that we could tour/visit in the areas of Scotland we plan to visit?

Thanks for your help!
Jonah

Posted by
5559 posts

One of my favorite things to buy when I am in Scotland is jewelry that is designed and made locally. Orkney has quite a few, but one of my favorites is Hazel Passmore and her shop/studio is in Inverness. Her website is under construction, but there is an email contact. The shop was very near the railway station. Also, if you spend any time in the Borders, Traquair House has some studios.

But there are lots of interesting crafts in Scotland--artisanal cheese, wood crafts, woolens (knitting and weaving), metal working etc. And places like Historic Scotland actually hire these craftspeople! I was trying to find some of the places that I had visited and found this lovely site, Craft Scotland. Also,Visit Scotland is a really good resource. It was really fun to open their site and find a picture of Donnie MacKay who is the weaver we visited several years ago on Harris. He may be a bit too far afield for you, but they have several links that you can follow.

The Craft Scotland seems to be the motherlode of information about crafts in Scotland. Take a look at the regional directory and see what interests you. Also, there is search engine that may be helpful on their site. The search engine lists the types of crafts available so you may want too look at that.

You might also contact Historic Scotland to see if there is anything interesting going on at one of their properties.

None of these sites seem to address food, so go here to find information on Scottish cheeses. (I'm from Wisconsin. I have to provide info on cheese. It's the law. : ) )

And while Scotland has had fruit wines and heather wines for years, this past year someone in Fife was making a real white wine.

Lastly, you might want to contact some people at the studios or galleries and ask for recommendations.

Have fun!

Pam

Posted by
3418 posts

When we stayed in Durmnadrochit, at the top of Loch Ness above Inverness, I saw (but unfortunately did not get to visit), some potters' shops. What I saw from the window (it was after hours) was lovely. We also purchased some hand sewn /embroidered items at one of the shops and lots of Christmas ornaments from a glass blower's shop (he worked in the shop so you could see him making things while you shopped). I agree with the recommendation that you look for good, original jewelry. We found a jewelry designer in Inverness, too (he has since moved to England). He designed and made several pieces for me over the years. He worked, then, at a jewelry shop in the Victorian market in Inverness.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks so much for the great websites and advice! I think my mom will particularly enjoy some of the Celtic / Scottish themed jewelry. We will definitely be contacting Hazel Passmore and I will research more about the Victorian Market as well.

As a followup question, I looked through the links that were posted and I couldn't find anyone other than what seems like a large housewares company called ANTA that creates items based on the tartans. This would do in a pinch, but I would prefer a smaller artisan. Do either of you know of any artisans or small shops that create items around clan tartans? My family stems from the Sutherland clan and I'm sure my parents would love to find something that represents their heritage.

Thanks again for the great suggestions!
Jonah

Posted by
1288 posts

If you are in Inverness you are not that far south from the Sutherland heartland in, well, Sutherland. Golspie is the current seat of the Countess of Sutherland as chief of the name.

Posted by
5559 posts

You should have no trouble finding something with th Sutherland tartan, I know as that is my middle name and my great grandmother's maiden name. And in a very bizarre turn of events my nephew has changed his name to Sutherland! Seriously, I found some items in Inverness, but if you can get up to Dunrobin Castle you'll enjoy the tour and the gardens. It is right on the sea. Also, there is a very odd/interesting museum in the garden and they do falconry shows.

Pam