Whitsome artisan’s crafty route to new orders

Ruth Devlin of 'Devlin Jones Fire Bellows' in Whitsome, preparing for the British Craft Trade Fair at Harrogate.  Ruth will be part of a group of eight artisans from the Borders exhibiting at the trade show for the first time thanks to a �6,300 grant from Borders Business Gateway.
Ruth Devlin of 'Devlin Jones Fire Bellows' in Whitsome, preparing for the British Craft Trade Fair at Harrogate. Ruth will be part of a group of eight artisans from the Borders exhibiting at the trade show for the first time thanks to a �6,300 grant from Borders Business Gateway.

A BERWICKSHIRE artisan will be amongst a group of eight craftspeople from across the Borders who will fly the flag for the region’s creative industries next month when they attend one of the UK’s leading trade shows thanks to a funding grant from the Business Gateway South of Scotland Creative Clusters Project.

Ruth Devlin from Whitsome, who makes unique hand-crafted fireside bellows, will attend the British Craft Trade Fair at Harrogate from April 15-17.

The event is one of the most highly regarded in the UK and is attended by thousands of buyers from retail outlets including museum shops, department stores, galleries, craft and giftware stores.

All of the Borders businesses are exhibiting at the event for the first time and will display a selection of their product ranges in the hope of attracting new customers from across the UK.

The trip has been made possible through a £6,300 grant from the Business Gateway South of Scotland Creative Clusters Project which is paying for exhibition space and associated costs at the show together with promotional literature to showcase the group and their work.

Hugh Williams, project co-ordinator, Business Gateway South of Scotland Creative Clusters Project said; “The Scottish Borders is home to a host of exceptional creative enterprises and we believe that the funding we have provided will help to translate the skills of these talented craftspeople into tangible economic benefits for both them and the wider Borders economy.

“We’re delighted to be able to assist them in developing their businesses.”

Ruth Devlin from Devlin Jones Fire Bellows said: “I took over this business from my uncle eight years ago and currently sell my products direct to customers online, mostly within the UK but also internationally.

“I’ve added a contemporary twist to the traditional bellows design through the addition of funky, coloured leathers and this has proved popular.

“Through my attendance at the British Craft Trade Fair, I hope to grow my business further by developing network of retail buyers to stock my products in outlets across the UK.

“I’m greatly looking forward to attending the show.”

The Borders businesses attending the event are: Itzas by Design, Minto – “itzas” magnetic brooches; Beastie Brooches, Jedburgh - verdigris copper brooches and collages; Ian Oliver Photography, Newtown St Boswells – photography and framing; Rob Thomson Furniture, Fountainhall, near Galashiels – Scottish hardwood furniture; Robyn Kinsman-Blake jewellery, Smailholm - contemporary jewellery with strong visual presence; GraceInk Design, Selkirk - hand screen printed textile and paper products; Devlin Jones Fire Bellows, Whitsome, near Duns - unique handcrafted fireside bellows; Troll’s Eye Crafts, Selkirk - handcrafted leather belts, bags and accessories.