Creative Dundee

Small and Perfectly Formed: Double Door Studios

To carry on the theme of supporting local this festive season, in this blog we get to know Double Door Studios and the collective of makers that are behind the creative workspace, studios and exhibition space!


Right in the heart of Dundee, you will find Double Door Studios, a recently established studio, jewellery workshop and exhibition space. The space is owned and led by Jeweller Islay Spalding, who after graduating from DJCAD in 2005 dedicated herself to developing a practice in her home city with the dream of setting up a permanent collective base with other designers.

Double Door Studios was born in the turbulent time of March 2020, an extremely difficult time to get a new project off the ground! Together with Islay, jewellery designers and makers Christina Vernon, Holly McAfee, Ieva Jankovska; candlemaker Sophie Siegel and framer Shona Spalding have transformed the once sterile letting office into a warm, friendly and inviting space to create work and showcase local makers through pop-up shops and exhibitions.

This small and perfectly formed creative community offers more than just space and resources to create, Double Door Studios are committed to showcasing and nurturing design talent from all over the city. As seen in their recent exhibition ‘100 Jewels by 100 Women‘, a celebration of the female-led design that brought together an extraordinary selection of female jewellers, notably all 100 of which are based in or have strong connections to Dundee and the surrounding area.

As well as a dedicated shared place to make and show work, the studios also create a fertile environment where opportunities for collaboration can arise and networks of support between like-minded creatives can form and flourish. In the new year, Double Door Studios hope to share their space, skills and knowledge through an offering of workshops and classes as well as more exhibitions and events!

For the month of December, the Double Door Studios exhibition space has been transformed into a festive boutique pop-up shop. Utilising their creative networks, you will find a well-curated and very special selection of design and craft to sit alongside the jewellery, candles and frames made in the studio. You can find Double Door Studios on Ward Road just a few minutes walk from the McManus Museum, pop in on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays until 19 December, make sure to book a spot ahead of time!

Meet the Makers of Double Door Studios:

Islay Spalding is a jewellery designer and owner of Double Door Studios. With a strong belief in quality craftsmanship and meaningful design, she specialises in bespoke kilt pins and contemporary jewellery. 

Islay maintains evolving collections of unique jewellery, mainly in silver, with additions of gold, resin, wood, precious and semi-precious stones. Inspired by surrealism, landscapes and geology, Islay aims to create pieces that are unusual and distinctive yet practical and pleasing to wear. 

 DJCAD graduate Christina Vernon is a designer, maker and enameller from Arbroath. Much of her inspiration comes from the harbour area of local beaches. She is drawn to the shapes and colours of the creels and other fishing paraphernalia found stacked around the harbour.

Contemporary jeweller Holly McAfee is another DJCAD graduate who has made a home for her practice in Dundee. Holly’s latest collection features minimal shapes and contrasting textures, arranged in contemporary formations to create complementary pieces. Holly chooses to use recycled metals where possible and avoids animal products, making each piece vegan-friendly.

Contemporary jewellery designer and artist, Ieva Jankovska, describes her practice as an amalgamation of her Latvian heritage and appreciation for the skills and knowledge gained over the last decade living and studying in Scotland. Ieva’s ambition is to demystify the craft making process and reclaim its place in the contemporary art realm. Her practice often transcends the jewellery medium to include performance, video and other works.

Sophie Siegel is the owner of The Candle Bothy, a small candle and home fragrancing enterprise that prioritises sustainability by creating vegan-friendly and handmade products that are environmentally conscious. Everything from the packaging to the ingredients are well-considered, Sophie hopes to offer a re-fill service from Double Door Studios in the future.

Shona Spalding runs a bespoke framing service Hung Up Frames, offering a variety of hand finished solid hardwood and unique painted frames. Shona offers a selection of unusual water-dipped marble effect frames tailored to your artwork and home. As a multidisciplinary artist who has worked in print, film, photography, graphic design and even animation, Shona has a good eye for detail and experience that lends itself to a well-informed, careful and complimentary framing of artwork.


Follow Double Door Studios on Instagram to keep up with everything they are up to!

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