News & Events

Orkney Arts and Crafts Newsletter October 2021

Having had two seasons where the pandemic  restrictions meant all craft fairs and our exhibitions had to be cancelled,  here’s the good news… we are holding our Christmas Craftastic Fayre in the Kirkwall Grammar School on the weekend of 13th and 14th of November. Hooray!

If 2018 and 2019 are anything to go by, it will be a cracking ‘do’. Measures will be in place to make sure our stall-holders and customers can stay safe. Obviously due to social distancing it is unlikely we can host quite as many stalls but there will still be plenty of skilled artisan work on offer.  Please do abide by any requirements we advise on entry.

These last 18 months have not been wasted. I think many of our members have done art and craft for themselves or family and friends  and learned new techniques and skills. With fewer real selling opportunities, members have been looking to sell more online.

Here is a quick round-up of some of the members’ news:

Mohamed Alhady ceramicist at The Corner: Art and Craft has built and fitted out the new Polly Kettle Tea Room which will be run by Linda Alhady. It’s not quite open yet but it won’t be long now. I have been lucky enough to sample the coffee already, and it’s a big ‘thumbs up’ for that. As well as a lovely building with gorgeous views and scrumptious food, there will be art and craft work on display and for sale. And it’s all right next door to Mohamed’s ceramic workshop and shop.


Brian Case  of Brian Case Pyrography  has also been very busy with a change of home and workshop, with a change of business name, now to be known as ‘UpperCaseCraft’ . Brian says “Our new home, is perfectly habitable, but needs a fair bit of work to bring it up to date. It will take up most of my time and effort for the next 18 months or so. I have developed a new way of making my pens. I started to make some pens from resin and realised I could incorporate sea-shells and sea glass into the mould and turn that on the lathe to form the pen bodies. The resulting pens are unique – I cannot find anyone else who makes pens from genuine sea-shells, or turned sea glass. As well as being listed here,  I also have an online shop at where there is more information on how I make my pens, and all my current available stock can be seen and bought.


Carol Evans at Orkney Organics sent me this update for our news.

“I have expanded my skin care range to include a variety of luxurious, palm oil free, soaps. I have also returned to my love of knitting as a means of destressing. Expanding my business I  now offer a variety of luxurious hand dyed and painted yarns. All my colourways are available on a variety of yarns which are either in stock or available for pre order. Special commissions are available. You can find my yarns and updates at Knit Orkney on Facebook and Instagram and My yarns are only available direct from me, not sold anywhere else.”

Carol’s new items will be added to her listing soon.


Helen Galland  designer-maker of Woolly Wally Gifts received funding to learn upholstery as part of a development plan, (see our news ‘event’ in May) and aims to use all the materials from the local wool mill which specialises in processing the fleeces of the native rare seaweed eating North Ronaldsay sheep. She was accepted on a course with Manchester’s Ministry of Upholstery taught by TV personality Anthony Devine. The end result is a one of a kind cocktail chair made with personally printed cotton fabric (featuring all the real Woolly Wallies both past and present) and stuffed in part with North Ronaldsay sheep hair and wool.  

Helen is still felting as well as weaving- a selection of items will be available at the Xmas Fayre in November, as well as from her Folksy Shop. You can now follow her on Instagram, at Thewoollywally or on Facebook at Woolly-wally.”


Kirsteen Hine once known as ‘Sunset Craft’, is now ‘Kirsteen’s Creations’, has had a health issue of her own to deal with over and above the Covid pandemic. During this time, like for some other members, her family grew and she is now a granny to four beautiful granddaughters. During her health battles Kirsteen decided to increase her knitting skill set and taught herself how to do Fair Isle and stranded knitting. Kirsteen still loves to use colours in her designs and still likes to create bespoke hats and scarves, some of which can be seen below and more will be added to her Orkney Arts and Crafts website listing in the near future.


Vera and Harry Jess, both artists, also worked hard during lockdown..

Vera says “I have continued to paint on slate. Also I had the idea of painting on large slates to use as garden decorations for our patio. I have spent time working on pet portraits, mostly dogs and I’m really enjoying it!  I have been asked to paint a variety of dog breeds.

Harry added that “I now have ‘thousands’ of fishing flies -salmon, sea trout, brown trout and lures!!  I have kept making them purely for the enjoyment and passing time. I have also been painting salmon flies on large stones for the garden and doorstep.’’


Ann Mackie  at Ann Mackie Knitting Services and Design  has some exciting news to pass on. She now has a family-built studio with a ‘production end’ and a ’display/shop end’ so visitors can see (and buy!) her work. Ann has taken over ‘Mixter Maxter’ knitwear from Kirsteen Stewart and has been developing some new designs. The pictures below show a small sample of Ann’s ‘Orkney Collection’.

Ann adds “The peedie model is our first grand child Ellie-anne, born in Jan 2020. Another 3 have come since then, including a set of twins.” Congratulations  Ann, you’re not the only one of us to have had additions to family!


Julie O’Neill aka The KnottyKnitter has also become a grandmother. Congratulations to her family too, leading to knitting for baby. Julie has also been learning Mochila crochet a type of mosaic crochet usually used for bags and purses. And with the purchase of a new computerised sewing machine, time had to be spent getting to grips with all the bells and whistles! What a busy lady.


Liz Rickard at Liz Rickard: Art and Fused Glass Art has been thinking up some new ideas too. She has started fusing leaves, and feathers into glass. At the moment Liz’s experiments are made into soap/key dishes and coasters. A family ‘commission’ will be Liz fusing her daughter’s wedding flowers in glass. What a lovely way to preserve a memory. I would think she will be open to other commissions. 


Jo Constantine / Me, the dragon in DragonLadyDesigns   was another lucky lady gaining a lockdown grandson in May 2020 so there has been much craft work done for the family. This included wall decoration out of sea creature themed material with felt sea creatures attached with Velcro so they could be moved around or taken off to play with.

I have also made some embroidered ‘mini hoops’ with paint and thread. My hoops can be seen for sale on our website as well as Dragonlady is also on various Facebook selling groups.

Some of our members are now also listed on sites such as and and have joined various Facebook selling groups.

Orkney Arts and Crafts has itself been changing with some folk moving within Orkney, some folk moving away from Orkney, and therefore no longer members, and some folk leaving us due to changes in their personal circumstances. We also have some members having a crafting rest but we hope to see them active again in the future.

We wish all our members, our customers and subscribers, present and past, a safe, happy and craft-filled future.