It's taken years of persistence to figure out how to work with Caithness flagstone on such a small scale. I had initially approached quarries who couldn't help me cut the beads to the size I wanted and in the end I applied and won an award through Highlands and Islands Visual Arts and Crafts awards scheme. This allowed me to purchase a powerful stonecutting machine which slices the stone nicely. The hard work is in the polishing and shaping and then the hole drilling, each bead is handmade. This local stone is both frustrating and beautiful in equal measures. I love the challenge of creating contemporary pieces of art using a material which I have such a deep connection with.
My Great Grandfather worked at the pavement works at Thurso East, and his brother was a stonemason so it's no surprise that I have discovered this need to work with Caithness flagstone. I find the different patterns and layouts of stone walls and buildings fascinating and try to replicate the weathered effects to incorporate into my designs.
The images below are of pieces that have been shown in exhibitions around the UK and here in Caithness. You can buy similar designs at my studio in Thurso.