A FORMER Glasgow School of Art student has come forward to offer the proceeds of a her new jewellery collection to The Herald's memorial garden campaign for coronavirus victims.

Scottish silversmith and artist jeweller Caitlin Hegney was so moved when she read about our campaign to create a memorial cairn for those who lost their lives to Covid-19 that she got in touch.

We launched our Garden of Remembrance campaign last week and since then have received messages of support from relatives who have lost loved ones.

It has received the backing of Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon along with cross party support from the country other four main parties.

And as reported in the Herald on Sunday the Glasgow workforce of HCS Mechanical and Electrical, which has personal connections to Parkhead trucker Jim Russell who died from the virus, has pledged £5000 in the hope it can be put towards memorial benches.

The campaign also received a boost when Glasgow City Council chiefs, Council leader Susan Aitken and Lord Provost Phil Braat, said the local authority was happy to offer a site at Pollok Country Park for the memorial garden.

Read more: Coronavirus in Scotland: City workforce first to pledge financial support for memorial garden campaign following death of groom-to-be

Inspired by the idea behind the campaign, jewellery maker Ms Hegney said: “I think this is such a wonderful idea and I had been thinking of a way that I could contribute.

“Jewellery can mean so many things to people. It can be sentimental – it can remind you of a certain time, place or person. I would like to offer the proceeds from my new collection, which will be released later this week, to The Herald memorial campaign as I really couldn’t think of a better idea for them to go towards.

“I have no idea how much I will be able to raise through it but I just hope it can help in some way.”

In just two years since graduating from Glasgow School of Art, Ms Hegney has set up her own business. She graduated with a first class honours and has been working for the art school as an Artist in Residence. She works between Glasgow and her home studio on the edge of Argyll and Bute.

“I propose to release two of my new designs in a limited edition series; each a different colour of the rainbow,” added Ms Hegney. “I hope my designs will be something that might give people hope and maybe just a way of making themselves feel a little bit special.

"When I first started my business I was solely concentrating on designing and making jewellery, but there seemed to be quite a lot of interest around it so I started doing workshops and community events for young people.

“I was always quite creative growing up and would experiment to make my own jewellery and it is nice to be able to pass that creativeness on. I also concentrated on relaunching my website a few months ago which has really been key given that we have been in lockdown for weeks.”

Ms Hegney has exhibited across the UK, and is currently showing work as part of an exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark. Last year, she also had the opportunity to show my work in Melboune, Australia.

She added: "I am fascinated by the communicative value of lines and how their ambiguity transcends and resonates with humanity. My practice energises traditional metalworking and woodworking techniques. Texture is created by hammering into metal with hand forged tools and lines are drawn into space against the body in wire. Wood is carved and dyed to celebrate the inherent rhythmic wood grain. My practice is driven by the unpredictability and irregularity of process; the shade of dyed wood or quality of line in metal takes on its own personality in a sequence."

Read more: Herald campaign: Memorial garden could help healing process, says top horticulturalist

Our vision is to create memorial garden and cairn with a stone representing the lives of every Scot who has died from the virus. The idea stemmed from a memorial cairn created by Rev Neil Galbraith, of Glasgow Cathcart Old Parish, to give comfort to bereaved families.

We wanted families to have somewhere to go and sit to reflect and remember those they have lost to the global pandemic.

Last week David Knott, Curator of the Living Collection, at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, backed the campaign and said a garden could help the healing process.

Having transformed her own garden last year, Ms Hegney knows only too well the calming and therapeutic benefits a garden can bring.

She added: “I think I understood how important the idea of a memorial garden could be for people who have lost someone. I am a garden person and I did a lot of work on my own one. For me it is special place and gardens can have such a profound effect on people and can be very tranquil.”

If you want to find out more about Ms Hegey’s work go towww.caitlinhegney.co.uk or follow her on Intagram @caitlinhegney or Facebook: www.facebook.com/CaitlinHegneyAppliedArtist/

Can you help campaign? Send us an email to memorialgarden@theherald.co.uk