G&T, on my mother's knee.
This is a story about gin, getting out of your comfort zone and scaling up (both of those phrases sound a bit naff and usually something I avoid, but in this case they are absolutely apt).
In January I received a phone call enquiring about whether I could make gin jiggers (measuring cups) out of an old copper still. There had been a fire at the distillery, and the gin still, 'Steve', was a survivor. The idea was to make a souvenir to give to all the people who had helped out after the fire, to be sent with invites to the opening of the new distillery in the spring.
I explained that this was something that unfortunately I had neither the skill, nor the equipment to attempt, but that I was involved in a couple of Facebook groups where there may be makers who could help. And the name and email address to get back to with any info? Cathy Mason at Masons Yorkshire Gin. Much excitement at my end as am a big fan of gin, especially Masons gin, especially their Tea Edition Gin (I don't like many of the fancy gins - I like my gin to taste of gin, but the tea edition is a subtle and delicious exception). Anyway, I sent Cathy some info from people and also links to the Crafts Council and Heritage Crafts Association websites with some likely-looking suggestions, but also mentioned that if the jiggers didnt work out for whatever reason, that perhaps an alternative idea might be gin bottle labels. Cathy loved the idea and decided to go for it - 100 of them. Gulp.
Next step was to collect Steve from the new distillery just off the A1, in Bedale. Off I set in my VW Up, with all the equipment, safety gear, spare equipment just in case, I could possibly need. Cathy gave me a sneak preview of the impressive new premises and huge shiny new German still, then off to her house where Steve was waiting in the garage.
|Steve in his former glory|
|Not so glorious in the garage|
I had worried that it would become monotonous work, but in the end I really enjoyed knowing exactly what I had to do every day, and just getting on with it. In my 'normal' work, even if producing standard pieces, there's always some variation and some planning/working out the way to do it most efficiently for the items in the order, which usually becomes a vehicle for procrastination, so it was surprisingly satisfying to work in this new way. Plus some of the finishing off I could do while sitting in front of the telly, always a bonus.
I finished in good time, delivered the labels to a house conveniently round the corner from me, and duly received a bonus bottle of gin in return. Masons were fantastic to work with, great communication and very fair and businesslike in their dealings with my very small business.
I still have plenty of Steve left (I just finished chopping him up this afternoon, at last!), and will be happy to use him with my various stamps of various typefaces to produce bespoke bottle labels, keyrings, earrings, anything you can think of really, as well as using him in metal pictures like the one I made as a present for Cathy. If you're interested, please do get in touch.
|Some of Steve's patina remains|