ABOUT THE ALCHEMIST'S FORGE...
Meet the owner & artist behind The Alchemist's Forge and see a little of behind the scenes
My names Sam Glendinning. I am the owner and designer/maker of The Alchemist's Forge.
Being brought up as a child on a farm in East Lothian, I have always had a love & respect for the countryside as well as the trees, plants and animals found in it. I enjoyed a typical country childhood and loved anything arty/crafty, loved the outdoors and the forms, shapes and textures that can be found in it. Back in 1997 I left school and went on to study a book illustration course at Edinburgh's Telford College for three years. I left and got a job as a recruitment consultant for a few years but hated it. I decided that I needed something else. Something more hands on. It was at this point, now being 24, that I decided to return to full time education and went to do a Jewellery & Metalsmiths BAHons Degree at Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art & Design in Dundee. I was never one to actually wear jewellery but decided that I would see where it would take me. Using the knowledge and understanding from my previous courses I quickly realised that this was defiantly what I wanted to continue with.
Once completing my studies, I created a very small studio in the corner of a room at home and I continued to study, practice, explore and investigate new techniques to enable me to further my skills. Never believing anyone would want my creations, I gave most away as gifts to family and friends. The rest went into the scrap pot to be smelted down and reworked. I was working 2/3 jobs to make a living and the years passed. My parents have always given me full support of whatever I wanted to do and would constantly tell me 'You have a talent, I don't know why you aren't using it!' I lacked confidence. My biggest demon. In 2015, I picked up my tools with the aim of...If I am going to do this, I need to give it my all. I started making again while continuing the day jobs. By the end of 2015 I had work sitting that I hadn't thrown into the scrap pile or given away. So, for the first time. I had stock. I was in business.
The Forge has grown and evolved into a fulltime business that I run from my home studio. Ideas are always flowing, old works always progressing into new designs and create updated works. Its a fantastic journey and I love what I do. Lucky isn't the word. Hard work, dedication and constantly researching has made it what it is now and I wouldn't change a thing.
Starting at the beginning...
All my designs start with a blank page and a pencil. To begin with, I normally have a rough idea of what I am aiming to create. By that I mean where about on the body the piece will eventually be worn. Ring, Earrings, necklace, brooch or bracelet. The next step after that is spent researching images, legends, stories, landscapes and physical objects that are connected to the overall ideas. Once I have all the information I need, then I start playing about with shapes, taking sections of research and adjusting them to form different combinations. When I have compiled some rough works they are drawn out and designed with a few different layouts to ensure that it works as a finished piece. So from sketchbook to final piece can take some time depending on the size, detail and stone sources. Sometimes a design will evolve on the bench as the piece starts to take shape which I quite like.