Since the start of this year, I have had the pleasure to work with the teams at Highland Park and Edrington, creating displays for their new shop in the heart of Kirkwall. The experience has been fantastic – not to mention a mere three-minute walk from my studio.
Growing up in Orkney means that, for me, Highland Park is so much more than whisky. It tells the story of the people of Orkney, the community and its heritage. It’s about passion, tenacity, courage and perseverance over time. It has been exciting to work with this global company to tell their story.
When I was asked to create the displays for the shop I was delighted to find I had free rein. My main aim was to help the shop’s staff to tell the story of their whisky. As some visitors to Orkney don’t have the time to visit the Highland Park distillery on their tours or cruises, it was important to get the story, textures, raw materials and even scents across to each and every visitor, to be as descriptive as possible.
For the window displays, I hoped to achieve two distinct looks. The goal with window one was to focus on the history and tools of the distillery. With the second window the I set out to create a reflection of the colours and industries of Orkney.
The ‘industries of Orkney window’ has made my workday all the more interesting. I have visited many unusual and interesting places and, so far, I’ve only put together three displays.
In particular, I would like to thank Keith Harcus for his help with fishing equipment, to the Orkney Rowing Club for an insight into their passion and kit, to Jeff Mackie boatbuilder who gave me an amazing tour around his boatyard which made me rethink boats.
All of these people and more have been generous with their time and helped me gleam knowledge and an insight into something new. Their passion and enthusiasm for their subjects really rubs off. They each allowed me to borrow props from them, which helped inspire me and made each disply unique.
Whatever I’m working on these days, I try and incorporate sustainability as much as possible. To buy and discard, or keep in store for too long, goes against the grain.
So, I’d like to thank everyone who allowed me to borrow items from their yards – especially those who went the extra mile and bought in something new just for me to use. For example, shiny new bouys, which I might not use again but which, I’m glad to say, will be put to good use for creels after they have hung in the shop window!
It has been a joy to flex my creative muscles in different ways for this role. Most of all it has made me feel even more passionate about my fellow Orcadians and the community that we are all so lucky to be a part of.
A big thank you must also go to Ingrid, who initiated the first conversation with Highland Park and without whom non of this would have come to be