Vanilla Ink open 'The Smiddy' with a project to revive local tradition


New Studio 'The Smiddy' to Launch with a Project that Celebrates Local Crafts People

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Vanilla Ink’s is throwing open its doors for its first expansion in beautiful Banff. The brand new, recently renovated The Smiddy: Centre of Excellence for Silversmithing & Jewellery, will open to the public on September 22nd – and for their first project and exhibition, they want to hear from you!

The Royal Borough of Banff is richly steeped in silversmithing heritage, with locally made silver fetching great interest and fantastic prices at auctions. Vanilla Ink mean to revive that history, firmly returning local craft to the global silversmithing map.

This is where you come in; to help the revive tradition, contribute to the community and become part of the continuing story by donating any unused, old or unwanted tools and equipment. Their mission is to form a real and lasting connection between historic industry and the modern studio. 

Kate Pickering, Director of Vanilla Ink told us: “Today we launch our national Tool Amnesty to gather as much equipment as possible for the space. We are looking for your old metalworking, silversmithing, jewellery, woodworking and blacksmithing tools so we can fill The Smiddy to the brim and provide tools for each and every one of our students. If you have any silversmithing tools or similar tucked 

away in a box in the attic or the shed, then we would love you to consider donating or loaning them to us.  Or perhaps you have old  family pictures, documents or books which relate to silversmithing? We want your tools, your gadgets, your stories

Fellow Director, Scott McIntyre, continued: “The stories are just as important as the tools to us. It may be that you have heard tales from parents, grandparents or distant family about a relative who worked in silversmithing.  Whatever you have to offer, we would love to hear from you.”

Scott McIntyre

You could be providing vital knowledge about the heritage of UK silversmithing , which we are keen to document, tie up to heirloom pieces and ultimately share with the public.  There are so many hidden gems that are not recognised for their historical value, so please start rifling through all the places where you feel there might be a relic relating to the years of silversmithing past

Vanilla Ink will have a local photography student working closely with them, who will very carefully capture things that comes forward. The pictures and stories will be exhibited at The Smiddy for all to see when it opens in September.

Top: Kate Pickering and Scott McIntyre. Bottom: The Smiddy tool Amnesty Poster

Silversmithing at the Smiddy is operated by business partners Kate Pickering and Scott McIntyre, who currently run The Vanilla Ink Jewellery School & Studios in Glasgow’s West End. The pair, who have over 35 years combined in the jewellery industry, successfully applied to run the new studio which was advertised in the autumn of 2017.  The project is part of the Vision and Action Plan developed by the Banff Development Partnership and has been brought to fruition by Aberdeenshire Council.

A spokesperson for the Council said “The Tool Amnesty is a very important because it will help create a genuine physical and historical link between the very early silver making in Banff and the work of today”.

The silversmith studio will be offering courses for beginners to the more advanced, and everyone in between. Vanilla Ink welcome students of all abilities, from those who have never wielded a hammer to the professional looking to brush up on their skills.

The programme of courses is expected to be published next month, as well as future notice of exhibitions, residencies and masterclasses.

The programme of courses is expected to be published next month, as well as future notice of exhibitions, residencies and masterclasses.

To learn more about the wider activities of Vanilla Ink and The Smiddy, visit or

Or you will find both Kate and Scott on Instagram:




Jessica Green


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