Every year on the last Tuesday of January our fellow islanders in Shetland celebrate Up Helly Aa, a festival of fire and free spirits.
Sheila’s Breckon collection originates from the 2008 festival and Guizer Jarl, Roy Leask. In the picture above the Breckon pendant is shown in Fire enamel. Roy named his Galley, Breckon, and Rick, Sheila’s late husband, took a great picture as it was devoured by flames on that clear, windy night. Roy and his Jarl Squad watched and sang, the Breckon design shining on their shields. Sheila remembers it as an amazing sight and experience. Find out more here.
Fire and Flame enamel colours are intense and rich, you can almost feel them radiating heat. The colours work particularly well on these designs:
River Ripple and Lava Stream rings in Fire Enamel
Fire and Flame colours are technically quite difficult to achieve. Consequently, we can’t enamel all pieces in Fire or Flame, just some designs. In Sheila’s Skara collections the colours remind us of the open hearths in the homes of our ancestors…
Skara Spiral in Flame Enamel
Spiral patterns incised in stone and scratched on pottery at Skara Brae over 5000 years ago inspired Sheila to create Skara Spiral. Skara Brae is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the best preserved Neolithic villages in Europe. Our Orkney ancestors wanted something more than bare stone and plain vessels and decorated their walls and pottery with a range of patterns, possibly even colours like yellow ochre and red from hematite.
Skara Shard in Fire Enamel
Archaeologists also found geometric lines as well as spiral designs. Sheila took these ancient patterns and added a contemporary twist into her interpretation. The Skara Shard design originates from a pattern found on a potshard. Perhaps this pot was once a prized possession, large, decorated and standing in the famous Skara Brae dresser.
We hope this has warmed your day and we wish Shetland and Guizer Jarl, Lyall Gair, and his Squad all the best for Up Helly Aa tonight, may the Galley burn wild and free with bright flames!