Two jewellery designers from the North East will have their unique work sold at one of the region’s top tourist attractions.
Kate Gorman, of Durham City, and Hannah Wood, of Burnopfield, took park in a business development programme for designers funded by Business Durham and the North East Rural Growth Network.
The programme involved the arts venues Sage Gateshead and Baltic – which led to the two designers establishing a deal with Baltic to stock their work in the gallery gift shop.
Ms Gorman, who specialises in brightly coloured jewellery also described as wearable art, has recently launched an online shop at www.kategormandesign.co.uk . Her ‘Night On The Tyne’ collection was inspired by the river’s bridges and lights.
Ms Gorman said: “I love the shape and lines of the bridges and watching how the shape of the millennium bridge changes as it moves.
“I’m really proud to have taken part in the programme and to have such a renowned arts venue stock my work. The prestige of it is brilliant. It was fascinating to talk to buyers and find out what they’re looking for and both the BALTIC and Sage have been so supportive of us.”
Hannah Wood, of Hannah Peters Jewellery, was inspired by the hundreds of kittywakes which nest above the Baltic for a few months each year.
Her hand-built designs use “twigs” of solid sterling silver with two cultured pearls mounted in the centre of each to represent kittiwake eggs.
Ms Wood said: “I’d always wanted to stock my work at the BALTIC ever since it opened and I’ve never known how to go about it. Having the chance to meet the buyers and get a sense of what they’re looking for has been amazing. I’m so pleased that they’ve agreed to stock my work.
“I wanted to reflect the elegance, whimsy and daring of these delightful seabirds which have made the Tyne and BALTIC their home.”
Sara Ley, head of retail at the Baltic, said the gallery had taken part in the programme as a way of engaging with regional designers.
She said: “As a buyer, I’m used to receiving countless proposals for shop products. This process enabled us to get to know the designers and their practice as well as allowing us to give them an insight into how our retail operation works and what a product needs to be able to achieve in order to be deemed successful.
“Both Kate and Hannah have demonstrated that they understand our brand but, more importantly, they’ve created a range of products that remain true to their style – their designs aren’t forced but sit naturally alongside their individual practices. We’re really looking forward to being a stockist of these exclusive ranges.”
Jane Shaw, who oversaw the programme on behalf of Durham Creatives and the North East Rural Growth Network, said: “The programme has been really successful. BALTIC and the Sage have international renown so it’s really exciting that they’ve worked alongside us to give two talented North East designers the opportunity to tap into their wider commercial expertise and also sell their work in their gift shops.”