Sunday, 31 May 2015

nikki mcwilliams: pass the biscuits

I've been intending on blogging about Nikki McWilliams and her wonderful biscuit cushions for a while. In fact, I had intended to write about it the day after the UK General Election, in a fit of patriotism, but I also thought that writing about a very series of very Scottish-centric snack based cushions (Tunnocks Tea Cakes and Caramel Wafers being quintessentially Scottish) from a Scottish designer might prove divisive given the result. But I'm going to do it now because I love them.

Nikki McWilliams, is a graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, as am I and in fact, we graduated on exactly the same day in June, as the class of 2008. Originally a fine artist, Nikki began making her iconic biscuit cushions, once leaving university, combining her interest in textiles and making functional art out with the confines of a gallery, and her fascination with the ritual of the tea break.

The Tea Break at DJCAD, being an important ritual, at least in the jewellery department, particularly on a Friday. Friday for jewellers in fourth year was cake day, and each week one of us would bake biscuits, cakes or any overly sweet treat we could, and we would all settle down in the studio, taking half an hour away from the workshop to eat cake, drink tea (or coffee) and have a natter. It was our way of having some down time as a group during an incredible important, stressful and manic few months of our final year.

If the Fine Art department was anything like Jewellers, I can pretty much guarantee that the tea break was as important to them as it was to us and Nikki's biscuit offerings would have been more than welcome in the jewellers studio, and are definitely less fattening and coma inducing than some of the home made treats that we baked for one another.

Each cushion is made start to finish in the UK and Nikki has been steadily adding to her collection of Malted Milks, Party Rings and Teacakes, since 2009. Selling they through her Etsy store, her website and retailers around the UK, and her designs have popped up in magazines, television and blogs alike, and no wonder, because they are simple, beautifully made and utterly squish-ably whilst having a cup of tea.

It makes me kind of sad that I didn't cross paths with her while we were at college. But it's pretty great to see someone I went to university with doing so well and only marginally jealously inducing.

Link | Nikki McWilliams Website
Link | Nikki McWilliams Blog
Link | Nikki McWilliams on Etsy
Link | Nikki McWilliams on Pinterest
Link | Nikki McWilliams on Flickr

Listening: Ball and Biscuit - The White Stripes

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