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Issue 5 - Present and correct

Scotland Magazine Issue 5
November 2002

 

This article is 15 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Present and correct

SUSAN NICKALLS GOES CHRISTMAS SHOPPING AND IS IMPRESSED BY THE RANGE OF QUALITY, OFTEN HAND-CRAFTED SCOTTISH GOODS AVAILABLE

When it comes to Christmas gifts Scotland has a veritable treasure-trove of high quality products that make ideal presents and stocking-fillers. The latest internet technology has made it even easier to access items by mail order, so you no longer have to live within driving distance of Jenners to buy fabulous Christmas presents for your family and friends.

Scotland’s favourite department store is now online and is popular with people abroad who want distinctive and unusual presents as well as those who want to send hampers and other gifts to family back in Scotland or the UK.

With winter approaching, warm scarves and throws are always welcome, and Jenners have a large selection. The Johnston cashmere throws come in subtle tartans while the lambswool range includes the muted Stewart cream and blue tartan, vibrant Royal Stewart in red, yellow and green as well as the classic Blackwatch green and black tartan. They also stock new wool and mohair-textured throws by
Calzeat of Scotland, and a range of scarves and gloves from top mills such as Ballantyne and Pringle.

Crystal always looks elegant on the Christmas dinner table, and the new Scottish Designer for Edinburgh Crystal, Daniel Whittard, has produced a special range called ‘The Edge’. Various glasses, bowls and carafes are decorated with his cloud-inspired designs named Tempest, Cirrus and Nimbus.

One of the most tempting departments in Jenners is the Food Hall with its range of top Scottish produce from shortbread, jams and jellies to whisky, smoked salmon and Scottish cheeses. While smoked salmon and cheeses which are ice-packed can be sent abroad, customs departments – especially in the US – can delay delivery, so they are not ideal for long distances.

In terms of what you serve your food on, the timelessness of tartan is ideal for the dinner table. ANTA Scotland’s stoneware comes in a variety of contemporary tartans as well as designs inspired by Scottish plants and flowers such as the blue and purple thistle and the bluebell. These are available in a range of items, from plates, bowls, beakers and mugs to tiles and teapots. ANTA’s candles are just the thing to create a festive atmosphere, on the table or placed strategically around the room.

Candles by Skyelight are so beautiful, you probably won’t want to light a match to one. They take their inspiration from the spectacular landscape on the Isle of Skye such as the Red Cuillins and the Jurassic rocks at Staffin Beach, and are available with a range of glass holders featuring Celtic or thistle motifs.

Other crafts-people who incorporate the local surroundings in their work include sisters Lizza and Jenna Hume who make hand-crafted cushions, throws, bags and scarves under the Hume Sweet Hume label. Their cushions come in soft natural colours and are finished off with pebble buttons, collected from the beaches where they live on Orkney.

As well as being available via mail order, Hume Sweet Hume products are stocked in Sinclair Wilson, an Edinburgh shop fast becoming a focal point for the very best in Scottish design. Ceramicist Carol Sinclair has her own range of tiles which include traditional Celtic and Pictish motifs with a more contemporary take on Scottish images. The Flintstone textured tiles look like natural stone and come with little glazed colour pictures of snowflakes or thistles, and are being snapped up by American tourists to use as coasters.

Sinclair is a member of a consortium of Edinburgh designers – design-ED – and stocks many of their wares in the shop. Weaver James Donald of Pickone is making a name for himself with his woven tartan wraps and scarves – Hollywood star Susan Sarandon snapped one up when she was in Edinburgh recently – and ‘doggie bags’. These tartan bags which are shaped like a dog’s face, are a must-have for anyone that loves tartan, dogs and accessories. For people who prefer a more humorous gift, Lisa Pritchard’s gargoyles are guaranteed to produce a smile from even the most frosty-faced great-aunt or uncle. There is a choice of gargoyles picking their noses, sticking out their tongues or
simply grimacing. The Royal Mile shop also features jewellery from the Orkney based company Ola Gorie. These exquisite brooches, necklaces and earrings give a modern twist to traditional Scottish and Celtic designs.

Jewellery from top Scottish designers can be bought from the Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh directly or via the internet. They regularly exhibit the work of designers like Dorothy Hogg who produces classic items with a modernist feel, Sylvia Kerr who incorporates Scottish freshwater pearls in her work, Adam Paxon for glittery, sexy items in silicon and moulded acrylics and Grainne Morton who produces unusual brooches made out of tiny trays used in the past by printers. These are usually filled with tiny everyday objects such as flowers, buttons and jewels, and have a nostalgic quality. She often makes them to order out of personal items supplied by the commissioner.

Carol McMillan’s hand-made soaps and balm pots also have a strong personal investment. The Borders-based soap maker uses milk from her own herd of goats along with herbs from her organic garden in these traditionally made quality products. Even the names are enough to stir the senses: geranium and lavender, coriander and ginger, rose petal, heather honey and lavender and grapefruit and lime. These tartan-wrapped soaps are complimented by a range of balms such as Calm Balm, Winter Balm and Weary Feet to soothe and nourish your skin. As an animal-lover, McMillan also makes a range of shampoos and soaps for animals, so your pets need not miss out at Christmas.

All these products from Scotland involve a high degree of skill rooted in a tradition of fine craftsmanship. This ensures that underneath the tartan wrapping there is a distinctive and unusual gift that gives the recipient a little bit of Scotland to cherish.

WHERE TO BUY YOUR SCOTTISH GOODIES
www.jenners.com – Scotland’s oldest and only department store

www.edinburgh-crystal.co.uk – designer glassware

www.anta.co.uk – tartan and contemporary Scottish designs on stoneware, plus bags, rucksacks and ties

www.skyelight.co.uk – candles inspired by the rugged natural landscape on the Isle of Skye

www.humesweethume.com – handmade cushions, scarves and throws decorated with pebbles www.sinclairwilson.co.uk – a range of contemporary Scottish tiles, glassware and jewellery

www.pickone.co.uk – James Donald’s tartan wraps, scarves and bags

www.scottishgoldsmiths.com – classic original Scottish jewellery from Ola Gorie

www.scottish-gallery.co.uk – exhibits and stocks the work of top Scottish jewellery designers

Hand-made soaps – carolmcmillan@compuserve.com

GENERAL:
www.nms.ac.uk – the National Museums of Scotland sell a selection of items from their shop over the internet

www.scottishwalkingstocks.com – personalised horn-handled sticks, crooks and canes from DG Farrar & Co

MUSIC:
www.proudlyscottish.com,
www.heartoscotland.com

FOOD & DRINK:
www.ardtaraigfinefoods.co.uk
www.smokedproduce.co.uk
www.santas.net/
scottishchristmas.htm