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Vanilla Ink NEEDS YOU!!

May 24, 2010

Vanilla Ink NEEDS YOU but do YOU NEED Vanilla Ink?

I am gathering some much needed research for the future of Vanilla Ink and I only ask just one thing.

Please take the time to read ‘what is vanilla ink’ and answer one question.

Is Vanilla Ink needed?

Your answer will be invaluable and will take Vanilla Ink to the next level so we will be very grateful for your participation. Your answer can simply be yes or no but feel free to elaborate or if you have any suggestions. Just enter your answer and what you do. Eg, Jewellery student, Glasgow.

40 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2010 8:00 pm


    A stepping stone between the comfort of Uni and the reality of being a craft practitioner will be an asset to a lot of graduates.

    Jewellery Student, Dundee

  2. Ruthie Simms permalink
    May 24, 2010 10:01 pm

    YES !! Otherwise there is nowhere for me to get MAGIC one off pieces of jewellery !!!

    Full time Mum, Dundee

  3. May 24, 2010 10:26 pm


    As a just-almost-finished jewellery student I think that Vanilla Ink would be very, very valuable. There isn’t much out there to support me right now – (that I know of..) and I think graduates need some kind of stepping stone into the scary world!!

    Holly x

    (jewellery student, Dundee)

  4. Christina Kinnear permalink
    May 25, 2010 7:30 am


    the studio space environment is one which many graduates miss when they leave art school

    christina :)

    design student, glasgow

  5. Lisa permalink
    May 25, 2010 9:14 am

    Yes I think Vanilla ink is needed. There is very little in Dundee for graduated designers, without firstly space to continue working and the help needed to promote and sell their own work. They will either pack and move to a city were this kind of assistance is readily available, or become dis-heartened with their practice and give up, wasting the years dedicated to their training. With the threat to these traditional methods of craft we must strive to encourage these designers to and provide them with a space to work.

    Masters of Design student, Dundee

  6. May 25, 2010 11:08 am


    Vanilla Ink is a great idea. It would be invaluable to Dundee. Increasing the awareness of craft culture can never be a bad thing.

    Good luck x

  7. May 25, 2010 11:51 am

    Yes, absolutely – Vanilla Ink is needed!!
    Firstly – having access to a workbench, not everyone is lucky enough to aquire one.
    Secondly – having a supportive workshop environment is essential, I have personally found it difficult to work in my flat, without the creative support of fellow jewellers.
    Thirdly, and most importantly – having the mentoring and connection to the industry is invaluable. Its extremely difficult to know where to begin when you leave uni and are thrown into the real world.

    Dundee and Scotland need initiatives like this to boost the creative culture, and to cultivate fresh talent up north. The south is like a magnet to creative types, and so (and as hypocritical as this sounds coming from me) we need Vanilla Ink and other likeminded businesses to not only show that talent is nationwide but Britain has many creative hubs. Dundee is slowly but surely becoming one, and so Yes, Vanilla Ink is ESSENTIAL.


  8. Colette Brown permalink
    May 25, 2010 1:01 pm

    A initiative like this provides cushioning to help gradually introduce graduates into the big bad world, where, having left the sheltered enviroment of university, they can begin to take steps on their own two feet in order to achieve their goals and have a career they want, as oppossed to being forced to have a job just to make ends meet. Having the mentoring system of others who have gone through the process provides invaluble guidence, as well as having fellow designers to bounce ideas off of.

    Colette :)

  9. Elizabeth A Humble permalink
    May 25, 2010 1:53 pm


    Vanilla Ink would be great for the continuation of a studio/ workshop environment after university!


  10. May 25, 2010 3:24 pm

    Nahh, I don’t think it’s needed at all, really… oh wait, I mean YES!!!! Without parrot-fashioning what everyone else has already said; the main niche that Vanilla Ink! would fill is the much-needed (and currently void) ‘stepping-stone’ from student life into establishing a real, and most importantly informed living in one’s creative practice. Yes, you might be lucky enough to gain entry to the likes of Bishoplands, win one of the few prestigious awards for setting up in business that are currently offered, or even take up an Artist-in-Residency programme at one of the various Universities, but what of the people who simply ‘don’t get accepted’ or ‘aren’t good enough’, etc? I believe Vanilla Ink! genuinely sets out to provide a course and service that does exactly what it says on the tin – without any of the elitism or bias usually attached. It’s there to help the graduates help themselves, and it’s completely beyond me why University doesn’t seem to want to do such a thing the first time round.

    Maria Maclennan, Recent JMD Graduate/Future MDes Student

  11. Rhiannon MacGillivray permalink
    May 25, 2010 4:03 pm

    I think it is a brilliant idea! I think it is extremely important, in fact essential for Jewellers to have somewhere to work. It would definitely make to transition between graduating from art school and entering the “real world” as a designer a much easier and much more pleasant experiance. I really really hope it all works out, even though I will not be in Dundee to enjoy it :(

    Best of luck!

    Rhiannon (jeweller)

  12. May 25, 2010 4:12 pm

    there is nothing similar to it at the moment, the only thing close to it i can think of is an artist in residency, and even then that has so many less advantages. xxx

  13. May 25, 2010 4:24 pm

    Yes Vanilla Ink is needed. If I’d had this kind of opportunity and support when leaving university it would have made the transition between being a student and a working jeweller much smoother. There are so many questions needing answered when you’ve left uni and having Vanilla Ink would help in that respect but also with respect to the facilities and opportunities that would be available to young designers. The kind of platform this would provide will be ground breaking in the jewellery world.

    Jen Cunningham

  14. Gwen mackie permalink
    May 25, 2010 4:25 pm

    From a consumer an a graduate perspective I think vanilla ink is a real asset. A constant source of new materials for buyers and I’d imagine a huge stepping stone for youn designers.

  15. Craig Owens permalink
    May 25, 2010 5:35 pm

    Definitely. There is a huge gap between graduation and professional practice. I think Vanilla Ink will be able to provide that much need bridge to support graduating craftspeople, in providing the space and contacts that will allow us to thrive in industry. There are many practical skills that the university does not have the time or funding to offer us; press releases, networking, studio space, dealing with galleries, all of these vital lessons in becoming a professional craftsperson are left to us, to either seek out advice of learn through trial and error.
    An establishment such as this, based within Dundee, would provide much needed support to the graduates of the university and keep these skilled individuals within the local economy. This would also help to support the city as an up and coming centre for the arts, as the arrival of the V&A is soon become a much needed catalyst.

  16. Anne Sutherland permalink
    May 25, 2010 6:53 pm


    I think that it something that every design student would benifit from. Being thrown into the scary real world is bad enough so having support and some guidance would be a great help.

    Jewellery Student, Dundee

  17. May 25, 2010 7:04 pm

    I think it is a brilliant idea. One that I would have pounced upon when I was graduating and still would now, 3 years later.

  18. Audrey Reid permalink
    May 25, 2010 7:06 pm


    For those jewellery students wishing to become independent makers, this scheme would seem to offer a very supportive framework. Good luck with it!

    Jewellery student, Dundee

  19. Jenna smith, inverness permalink
    May 25, 2010 10:29 pm

    Yes- graduates are just spat out of uni and amazing talent is totally wasted because graduates dont have the knowledge or resources to push forward into the big wide world. Vanilla ink will help them take those all important first steps- it is a much needed service!!

  20. Amanda McCallum permalink
    May 26, 2010 10:48 am

    An invaluable way to ease the transition from being an undergraduate to becoming a self-directed, professional. Also having the advantages of being in an environment that can provide peer support, networking, an up and running workshop and an exhibition space – can only improve the chances of success.
    100% behind your initiative !!

  21. Nicola permalink
    May 26, 2010 5:48 pm

    Definately – I for one am terrified and I think that without knowing what to do after leaving uni you are in danger of getting yourself stuck in a job just to make money and then losing your making skills and eventually losing touch with jewellery as your confidence will probably take a knock. It seems a unique idea as no one else seems to willing to help with a “find your own way into the jewellery world” attitude. I suppose thats not such a bad thing but its nice to have a little help for those without the confidence!! I think everyones sick of being told “it’s hard to be a jeweller – only a few make it” etc etc – I’m glad the attitude of Vanilla Ink is “It’s hard to be a jeweller but we’re here to help!!”

    Good luck with Vanilla Ink!!

    Nicola x

  22. Kerrianne Flett permalink
    May 26, 2010 7:02 pm


    I think that this is the ideal stepping stone between uni and the “real world”. Particularly as it would give graduates the opportunity to learn how to apply for funding, submit work to craft shows, structure a business plan etc. All skills which are essential to the practicing craftsperson and which are not offered at university.

    Jewellery student , Dundee.

  23. May 26, 2010 7:42 pm


    However, if vanilla ink is trying to be the missing link to the industry it really needs to be a platform that can give a critical dialogue of what is needed for each individual jeweler rather than a overview of what’s best for every jeweler.
    Contacts in high places are also dead handy. Relationships are really the thing which is the major missing link in the education system and industry, being able to be put in contact with the right people at the right time and so on.

    Ideas like this are genuinely brilliant and its a shame the government does not recognize the economic and cultural benefits which are paired with projects like this.

    personally i’m down with it !

  24. May 26, 2010 7:50 pm

    I think it’s a fabulous idea that would be welcomed and supported by a lot of people… leaving uni is so hard and anything out there that can help bridge the gap between education and the real world can only be a good thing, especially if it is run by someone who was recently in that situation themselves.
    Dundee has such an amazing creative community that seems so rarely taken advantage of. I’d imagine that the existence of Vanilla Ink would not only be of great benefit to those involved directly but would also help to increase exposure of the wider creative community and encourage those from other disciplines to explore their own options more fully.
    I really think it has the potential to do amazing things and am genuinely excited to see how it all develops.

    Design graduate, Dundee.

  25. Adele Lawrence permalink
    May 26, 2010 7:51 pm

    From the perspective of someone who is not completing a degree at art college, such as a jewellery course, but as someone who is completing Geography and Psychology, I’ll still be in the same boat at the end of day as I’m not fully aware of the jobs that are availble to me when I graduate. I think there needs to be more programmes like this available to help students make the best use of their degree and to fully enjoy the subjects they’ve been studying for the past 3 or 4 years.


  26. Stephanie permalink
    May 26, 2010 7:54 pm

    Yes, as a non student and a somebody with no knowledge of the jewellery world I think that Vanilla Ink is not only a great idea for graduates, but will change and promote Dundee. Most students (particularly from the art college) remain in Dundee for 4 years, complete their degrees and move off to Glasgow, Edinburgh or even away from Scotland completely to establish themselves in the working world. I feel that Vanilla Ink, once it is up and running, will bring successful jewellers to Dundee ….possibly making it the Jewellery capital of the UK!

  27. May 26, 2010 9:54 pm

    As a student going into my final year we have spent the past few years learning techniques and design skills, yet the daunting question of ‘What do we do now?’ is becoming a panic. Currently there is no advice readily avaliable for us as to what we need to do in order to set up practise after graduating. Many students once they have graduated fall into part-time jobs and I don’t want to have had worked so hard to get here, to not become a Jeweller or Designer as my career path.

    Final Year Jeweller at DOJ, Dundee.

  28. Rhiannon MacGillivray permalink
    May 27, 2010 12:03 am

    Yes! I think it is a brilliant idea, I am sorry that I wont be in Dundee to enjoy it WHEN it happens : )
    Best of luck Kate.

    Rhiannon x

  29. Moira Warren permalink
    May 27, 2010 7:34 am

    I love the concept of Vanilla Ink.

    This opportunity to gently but seriously establish yourself is vital in the practice of any jeweller. I believe, as a designer, it is critical to develop your unique signature style, or, USP (unique selling point) before you launch yourself fully into the world, and this needs to be nurtured in the year or 2 after university as even after 4th year not everybody has done this.

    I love the idea of doing placements, something I wish I could have done more of, developing your skill base and the chance to exhibit frequently. I also agree with what Nick said about contacts too, these are perhaps the most vital tools within the unique world of jewellery and fashion and something that should be shared amongst us whenever possible, and again, Vanilla Ink is a great way to share and help one and other.

    Jewellery graduate 2007.

  30. Filipa Oliveira permalink
    May 27, 2010 2:39 pm

    Defiantly yes!!

    We all need it.

    Jewellery student, Dundee.

  31. May 31, 2010 4:09 pm


    As a recent jewellery graduate it have become apparent that we are in no way prepared to head into the big bad jewellery world. Not only would vanilla ink help with the initial start up with supplying work benches etc, which is what most graduates struggle to build up. It would also allow students to build up confidence when it comes to dealing with clients meaning when there time at vanilla ink ends, they will have a following of customers and the self-assurance to go out and find more.

    Best of luck kate :)

    Nicola, Jewellery Graduate, Dundee/Glasgow

  32. Emma Thomson permalink
    June 1, 2010 3:35 pm


    Having graduated three years ago and no further forward, I feel that Vanilla Ink is a wonderful opportunity to ease gently into the jewellery industry. Having the right guidance and support would have been invaluable and I would still welcome the opportunity now if it was available, if only Kate had thought of it sooner.

    Emma Thomson
    Jewellery Graduate, Dundee

  33. Emma Reid permalink
    June 3, 2010 8:22 pm

    Hi, I’m going into fourth year at ECA and I think projects like Vanilla Ink are sorely needed in Edinburgh, and I’m sure everywhere in the UK. I know every designer/maker worries about leaving uni with no set plans and it’s too easy to fall into a job and never get back to making. I would be so grateful for advice and studio space when I leave, as I think my friends would be.

    Keep up the amazing work guys!

    Emma. x

  34. Natalia Mazur permalink
    June 6, 2010 8:44 pm


    it is one of a kind group, we need it a lot.
    please, continue the fabulous work xx

    jewellery student, Dundee

  35. Jo Bletcher permalink
    June 8, 2010 7:32 pm

    I agree will all the above.
    I think the dynamic of working in a studio with fellow designers adds a huge dimension to your work. Leaving the comfort of University is daunting at the best of times, and at the moment, support for emerging designers and artists is so important so we don’t lose everybody to Starbucks or call centres.

    A collective attitude towards networking, idea-sharing and just general like-minded working environments could be a great solution for helping creative graduates really realise their potential.

    Recent Jewellery Graduate

  36. July 5, 2010 10:28 am

    I wholeheartedly agree with what Kate is trying to set up here. Not only is it a minefield entering into the jewellery or design industry, but so little is explained to us throughout the degree that an opportunity to share experience and have a little extra guidance would, I am sure, prove to be invaluable to many new graduates. The ‘collective’ atmosphere is a way in which we could be eased in to the intimidating industry and would hopefully act as a great support network, encouraging us to stick with it and not be scared out of it or left out there on our tod.

    Not only is this a brilliant idea in general, but would be wonderful for Scotland and the North East and would hopefully encourage us to stay on our home turf and make the most of what is available.

    Keira Wraae-Stewart,
    Jewellery and 3D graduate, Aberdeen

  37. Emma Macleod permalink
    July 8, 2010 6:43 pm

    I agree with Dougies comments, Vanilla Ink would provide someone like myself, with a stepping stone from graduate to working jeweller.

    DOJ – Student

  38. July 20, 2010 6:14 pm

    Kate, I’ve actually been thinking about Vanilla Ink all weekend through my melt down. There is hardly any information avaliable to us as students as to who to market to, where to exhibit and most importantly how to go about being noticed or approaching venues to exhibit in.

    Where are you hoping to hold it?

    • July 20, 2010 9:38 pm

      Hi Laura,

      I completely understand your frustration! That is one of the main reasons why Vanilla Ink is being formed. I hope to house Vanilla Ink within a new arts complex that is going to be near Lochee.

      Kate x


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