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Photography Group One - March 2018

by Judy O'Connor - 21:38 on 28 March 2018

Nine of us paid a visit to Sheila Fleet’s on Wednesday 28th March, a few having to miss the treat due to various personal complications.

What a great day it was. We turned up on a wet misty morning but got a warm welcome from Martin and Sheila. We heard how the business started and how it has grown over the years to over a hundred staff, mostly part timers and outlets as far away as Loch Lomond.

We had a tour of the workshop seeing the different processes that are used to produce the striking jewellery, all designs created by Sheila herself. The enameled pieces, in particular, have become increasingly popular over the years. It was fascinating to see the work in progress by the skilled enamellers.  The solid crystals are ground down to become tiny grains of coloured glass, painstakingly applied to the piece of jewellery with a quill using a wonderful array of vibrant colours and then heated to a very high temperature in a mini kiln. No stock is held so as the orders come in the pieces are individually made. We also saw some Scottish gold. They were the first to make a white gold Scottish ring.

We then went over to the renovated church building which is the new showroom, shop and restaurant. It has been refurbished to a very high standard keeping as many of the original features as possible but also bringing it bang up to date with a lift up to the newly added mezzanine floor. The altar has been kept and the pulpit, stained glass and the plaque with the names of earlier ministers. Two windows have been removed to allow access to the light airy extension which is the restaurant and kitchen. The stained glass from them has been incorporated into some striking local handmade chairs and some pews have been turned into tables.

After taking photos we all sat down at an elegant oak table and made our choices from an extensive menu. We were honoured to be the very first to use the restaurant as a ‘practice run’ for the new staff and they got full marks for the food, presentation and service.  We were ‘the guinea pigs’ and asked to offer any suggestions or improvements.

Photograph time – last month was a visit to Stromness on a beautiful sunny day so there were some great photos of reflections in the sea, shop windows and an unusual angle of the Pier Arts Centre, painting the boats in the harbour and Yvonne’s brightly coloured buoy.

The theme was ‘New Life’ which brought an array of spring flowers, newly born lambs, baby chicks and some eye catching sandwich terns.

A huge thank you to Sheila and Martin and all the staff for giving us such a special day and here’s hoping your photos did it justice! You can send them direct to: [email protected]  or put them on a stick and give them to Tom or Tim. Tom has offered to put them all together for us.

Tim is contacting everybody about next month’s arrangements and plans for the rest of the summer.

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