Autumn is a time of transition in Orkney as the nights start to draw in and migrating birds like the redwing and brambling escape the colder climes of Scandinavia to set up home in our fields for the winter. At the same time, the mountain hares on the island of Hoy begin to transform their brown coats to white in preparation for the cool winter ahead.
This passing of the seasons and the constant transformation of the natural world is something Sheila wanted to celebrate in her Seasons Collection, the inspiration for which she got while out walking with her late husband Rick.
“The moment this design clicked in my head is extremely important to me as it happened when Rick and I were walking through Inverewe Gardens in the West Coast of Scotland."
“I knew it was going to be the last time he would enjoy the wonderful autumn colours surrounding us in the gardens, as he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Although it was very difficult, we did make some very happy memories."
“I decided to celebrate this special moment with Rick by creating the Seasons Collection. The inspiration hit me as we watched weathered leaves float down on the path, signifying the end of a season. I took some photos knowing I wanted to create something very special.”
Creating the Collection
This poignant moment inspired the first of the four seasons in the collection, Autumn. To evoke the changing colours of autumn leaves, from flaming golds to burnished browns, Sheila opted for a rich colour pallet of precious metals using silver with the option of adding 9ct yellow and rose gold leaves. She worked closely with her skilled enamellers to create the Autumn enamel. Using five different colours, they devised the perfect ombre of colours from a warm yellow to a deep red.
The first piece Sheila made in the collection was the Seasons Gold Leaves Dress Pendant in Autumn enamel.
“I usually start each collection with a large design,” says Sheila, “and this pendant was the first piece in the Seasons Collection. I went on to create the large ring in autumn enamel after that.”
Sheila's Favourite Designs
As to her favourite pieces in the Seasons Collection, Sheila says, “Probably the large ring in Scottish gold, plus the matching pendant and earrings. These pieces are very special as I can say they were mined, designed and made in Scotland.”
“My favourite season has to be Autumn, not only because it was the first collection I started with but because I am, or should I say I was, a redhead!”
Since launching the Seasons Collection in late 2018, it has proven to be one of Sheila’s most enduringly popular collections. It has a contemporary style but with a classic Sheila Fleet feel. Customers enjoy the chance to mix and match pieces from the different seasons, building up their collections so that they have an enamel in every option. The variety of sizes and the choice of having pieces with or without the gold elements also allows it to be a very wearable and affordable collection.
“Seasons in nature represent change, new beginnings and evokes the circle of life,” says Sheila. “I wanted to create something special that might resonate with other people, to make and celebrate happy memories that would be as meaningful to them as it was to me.”
The Seasons collection is available in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter enamel. Inspired by this collection? Browse the full range here.