Jewellery made from seaweed, old books that have been taken apart and remade and animal ashes made into trinkets are among the pick of Scottish crafts chosen to represent the nation on the global stage.

A dozen makers have been selected by national body Craft Scotland to represent the country at Collect 2024, a showcase for the UK’s best craft and design.

Their work, which includes silver and enamel bowls said to capture “the unexpected, beautiful moments of Aberdeen's coast”,  jewellery inspired by waste rope and plastic washed ashore on Skye and trinkets made from animal ashes with enamel, is described as a celebration of “Scotland’s rich natural and technical heritage in jewellery, ceramic, tapestry, and textile work.”

Collect 2024 is regarded as the craft sector's ‘Olympics’, a prestigious gathering of modern craft and design which attracts more than 20,000 buyers and galleries from around the world.

Craft Scotland will have its own dedicated gallery space within the event where it will showcase artworks from the 12 selected makers’ ceramics, printed textiles, jewellery, wood and homewares.

The Herald: Heather McDermott's jewellery is inspired by ocean waste found on the Isle of SkyeHeather McDermott's jewellery is inspired by ocean waste found on the Isle of Skye (Image: Gabriela Silveira)

Similar showcases at previous Collect events have resulted in a number of commissions and high-profile acquisitions by prominent museums and galleries.

Since its launch in 2004, Collect has grown to become one of the world’s leading fairs for museum-quality applied art and the highlight of the international craft calendar.

The Herald: Jo Walker melds traditional techniques with modernist architectural influencesJo Walker melds traditional techniques with modernist architectural influences (Image: Shannon Tofts)

The dozen makers were selected following a rigorous process and will have the chance to show their items during the event at Somerset House in London, in March.

They include Borders-based Richard Goldsworthy, who has taken inspiration from an accident in 2017 which left him with a broken back, and the metal rods and screws which repaired his injury.

The episode compelled him to explore the fusion of materials. Inspired by the bolts and rods inserted by surgeons to support his spine, he works in green wood and cast metal, fusing the materials to highlight natural features and imperfections.

He said he plans to present a collection of five sculptural works to the prestigious event.

“This is a chance for me to share my artistic journey, soak in inspiration, and forge unforgettable connections that, I hope, will lead to exciting new opportunities.

“My artistic process revolves around embracing the natural shapes and properties of wood while also infusing pewter into the mix. “Through carving, sanding, and burning, I introduce striking contrasts that unveil, accentuate, and celebrate the natural characteristics and perceived flaws of the wood.

“Central to my work is the unwavering commitment to craftsmanship, coaxing these materials into truly unique expressions.”

Also selected is Fife-based weaver Susie Redman, who has created a collection of vessels, handwoven with Japanese paper yarn and linen, with homegrown willow rods woven into the cloth to give the vessels structure and form. 

The Herald: Susie Redman blends traditional basketry with loom-woven linen and paper yarn to create sculptural piecesSusie Redman blends traditional basketry with loom-woven linen and paper yarn to create sculptural pieces (Image: Susie Redman)

Perhaps the most unusual is Glasgow School of Art graduate Iona Turner’s jewellery made from seaweed foraged from beaches.

She creates bold statement pieces of jewellery, fashioned from the ‘bladders’ of storm-cast knotted-wrack seaweed which takes on varying shapes and colours depending on when it was washed up and where it comes from.

While Edinburgh-based tapestry artist Jo McDonald uses second-hand books which she takes apart and weaves into new structures in an exploration of storytelling, history and the sharing of experience.

The Herald: Artist Liu Qiwei uses bone enamel and silver to create jewelleryArtist Liu Qiwei uses bone enamel and silver to create jewellery (Image: Ramsay Pagett)

Irene Kernan, director of Craft Scotland, the national development agency for contemporary craft, said: “Scotland is a nation of makers, talented, bold, and passionate in the pursuit of pushing the boundaries of contemporary craft.

“As we step into Collect 2024, Craft Scotland eagerly unveils a new presentation of makers and work underpinned by deep knowledge of craft techniques and principles of sustainability, whether it’s in jewellery or woven textiles.

“Exploration of materiality and the development of experimental processes is also to the fore as makers showcase an ambition to play with scale and composition.

“Scottish contemporary craft continues to be recognised by and sold to collectors, museums and tastemakers. This points not just to the immense talent and skill we have here in Scotland but also the rising global appetite for Scottish contemporary craft.”

The makers include Jo Walker, a ceramic artist who melds traditional techniques with modernist architectural influences, and Katie Charleson, a textile designer and quilter who will present an ambitious new collection of large-scale quilts, painted and screen printed with dyes and hand quilted.


The Herald: Richard Goldsworthy's sculptures fuse wood and metalRichard Goldsworthy's sculptures fuse wood and metal (Image: Richard Goldsworthy)

Edinburgh College of Art PhD researcher Liu Qiwei is said to have fused personal experiences with funeral rituals and culture for sculptural pieces that combine animal ashes with enamel and kinetic silversmithing. 

Also chosen to take part is silversmith and enameller Emma Louise Wilson, whose bowls are said to explore the comfort and calm of Scottish seascapes, jewellery designer Stefanie Ying Lin Cheong who specialises in using ethical metals and found Scottish rock, and Marianne Anderson whose jewellery is inspired by the architecture of Venice.

The Herald: Stefanie Cheong uses Scottish rocks to make jewellery found Scottish rockStefanie Cheong uses Scottish rocks to make jewellery found Scottish rock (Image: Stefanie Cheong)

They will be joined by contemporary jeweller from the Isle of Skye, Heather McDermott, Katie Charleson, an Edinburgh-based screen-printed textile designer and quilter who creates homewares and Andrew Lamb, who uses traditional goldsmithing practices and methods that span thousands of years.