By Roz Macaskill
What do fern-leaves, puffins and the Old Man of Storr have in common?
Each one has provided inspiration for designs by Uig Pottery.
The Pottery first started in 1992 and soon became noted for its iconic and varied range. Pottery owner, Margaret Freestone, relates: "All of us at the Pottery are constantly coming up with new ideas." A member of staff recently came in and pressed a fern leaf onto a piece of clay, creating a textured design. Margaret enthuses: "A rolled out piece of clay can be any shape you like. The huge variety of designs that can be made is very exciting!"
As well as keeping her creativity flowing, Margaret is embarking on a brand new adventure. 2018 will be her first full year as a sole trader. Margaret's vision for the Pottery aims to embrace Skye's iconic landscapes and wildlife, as well as creating objects that will be of use to their new owner. "I emphasise to the team the importance of each item having a purpose," she says. "I try not to make too many dust collectors, as I call them!"
Amongst those that might be put in this category are decorative puffin figurines. The puffin design is also being incorporated onto various household items, such as salt pigs and dishes. Margaret says: "Puffins come every year to nest on the Ascrib Islands in the bay."
Amongst the most popular pieces is the quaich design, a traditional two-handled Scottish drinking cup. Margaret says: "We sold 1,000 last year! The initial shape is made using a semi-automatic machine, after which it is trimmed, sponged, fired and painted by hand using glaze recipes mixed in the pottery."
Skye's landscape plays a lead role in the Pottery's pieces. "The expressive landscape is a bestseller," admits Margaret. The Old Man of Storr is immortalised on a variety of bowls, dishes and cups.
But the Pottery team don't need to look far afield when it comes to glorious scenery. The view outside the Pottery window cannot fail to inspire. Seabirds, sweeping skies and fishing boats form part of the team's ever-changing view. Margaret says: "We quite often look up at the sky and I tell everyone it's okay to stop work and look at the view every so often. It's one we truly appreciate and office views don't get much better than this!"