Olivia, Sheila, Malcom, Caitlin, Morvarid & Anna

Last month Sheila and Olivia attended a fantastic engraving course held by Malcolm Appleby where they discovered many new forms of engraving. But before we go any further, you might be wondering who is Olivia! If you read Part Two of our ‘Women at Sheila Fleet Jewellery’ blog series you've already read about Olivia and her amazing role in the company. Read on!

Olivia Yorston - Assistant Designer & Master Pattern Maker

Olivia—“After getting a brief from Sheila, it's my job to draw and sketch ideas that I then turn into pieces of jewellery. All Sheila Fleet jewellery starts with a concept, and that concept can come from many things: from butterflies in the garden, to Orkney's rich history and traditions. I sketch ideas, working directly with Sheila to decide on the final design. As I am also Master Pattern Maker, it's my role to make designs come to life in metal. I make the masters out of silver, which are then used to make moulds through the lost wax process. It has to be perfect! Making jewellery is a mixture of creativity, technical engineering and sheer perseverance. You have to figure out a way to make your idea work for the master, and all the other stages that come after.”

Olivia & Sheila in the Workshop

Sheila—“After nearly 30 years years as the sole designer for Sheila Fleet Jewellery, I felt it was time to share my knowledge of designs and jewellery making to someone who had the potential to assist with future designs. Fortunately I found a very able and talented person in Olivia who had already worked within the company for a number of years as a jewellery bench-worker. This gave her an advantage as she already had a great understanding of jewellery making, finishing and my way of designing. With care and coordination, I hope we can nurture Olivia's undoubted talent and potential.”

Engraving Course with Malcolm Appleby

Malcom Appleby is a world-renowned engraver, so Sheila and Olivia were delighted to attend his masterclass! Engraved surface textures forms a big part of many of Sheila's designs. It is one of the reasons enamel can sparkle and be so beautifully eye-catching within a piece of jewellery.

A selection of Malcom Appleby's work showing his unique engraving. <a href="https://www.instagram.com/malcolm_appleby_engraving/">Visit his Instagram for more</a>.

For example, take a look at our Holly Blue Butterfly Enamel Dress Necklace, part of the Butterfly collection Sheila and Olivia worked on in 2022. If you look closely through the enamel you can see the intricate carvings within the metal that Olivia created by hand when making the master. 

Sheila and Olivia attended the engraving course to expand their skills and knowledge to help with the development of future designs.

Sheila—“When I noticed Olivia had a very natural ability to engrave, I felt she would benefit from an engraving course with Malcom. I had always admired his work, so when the opportunity arose to attend one of his masterclasses, we grabbed it! It was an interesting break from the norm for us both and we had a fantastic experience. We are excited to use our new engraving knowledge in future designs and have the ability to add even better details within our designs.”

Sheila & Olivia engraving | Centre photo: Olivia's first attempt

Olivia—“It was a fantastic experience to attend Malcolm Appleby’s engraving workshop, both to work alongside Sheila, and to develop my engraving skills. As well as learning and practising new engraving techniques, I learnt to be brave with my ideas, to have faith in my ability and to trust my instincts, or as Malcolm puts it, ‘to take my graver for a dance’. I thoroughly enjoyed my week and I look forward to exploring further and implementing these new found abilities in designs to come.”

Sheila and Olivia have been working on a very exciting collection that will be launched this summer. Keep a look out for sneak peeks coming in the next few weeks!