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1 Oct 2020

Meet the Makers: Laura Cooke from Botanic Isles Jewellery

Close-up of a ring, pendant and earrings on a rock. The silver jewellery is made with heather embedded within resin.
Jewellery from the Culloden heather range
The Trust’s Meet the Maker series is proudly sponsored by Naked Wines, where the world’s best independent winemakers make their best wines.

The Trust is proud to support talented makers and craftspeople from across Scotland, by selling their products in our physical and online shops. This time, we meet Laura Cooke of Botanic Isles Jewellery.

My name is Laura Cooke and I founded Botanic Isles Jewellery in 2016. We specialise in creating hand-picked real Scottish flower jewellery. The botanicals are picked and preserved by us and then encased in eco-friendly resin – the perfect little piece of Scotland for you to own.

When we started the business in 2016, I was still working 16-hour shifts at a busy Glasgow restaurant. I would come home from my shift and start making jewellery – too full of passion to sleep. Once the business started to take off and my workmates began to ask for pieces to be made, I began to take weekends off and attended craft fairs in Glasgow. It was there that a staff member from the National Trust for Scotland saw my jewellery and invited me to show my products at Culzean Castle & Country Park. Since then, my long working hours haven’t changed but neither has my passion. The past 4 years have been incredible – meeting new people and creating lots of memories.

We’re based in beautiful rural Angus – surrounded by farmland, pristine untouched woodlands and sweeping fields filled with heather. Our studio is in the centre of Kirriemuir, where my team and I manufacture the jewellery and where our botanical library is based. We live on a farm and a lot of the flowers from the Angus range come from the little farm lanes by our home. My team comprises my partner, Paul McParland, who is a fine artist, and my two incredible assistants – Lynsey and Bethany.

Head and shoulders of a woman holding a yellow flower.
Selecting botanicals for our jewellery

We feel that our products are unique due to the care we put into each piece, the processes we follow (some botanicals can take 2 years to dry fully before we can use them in the jewellery) and the fact that our resin will not wilt, discolour or fade the botanicals. We’re passionate botanists and take care to understand how resin, which is an incredible medium, will react with different species of flower or plant. It’s also vital to us that we use eco-friendly packaging and silver, and that we help out fellow local businesses where possible.

What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?

No-one can tell me when my shift is over! And it rarely is. I love to work hard and always strive for perfection. I also love going out and collecting – setting the day aside and heading out for the whole day with a flask of tea and some sandwiches and sitting in a wood collecting moss, lichens and little mushrooms.

Dark woodland with moss and lichen on the ground.
Moss and lichen in untouched woodlands

What’s the proudest moment of your business career?

Being asked to collect heather at Culloden – nothing else comes close to the feeling of ‘you’ve made it’ – you’re where every other maker in Scotland wants to be. I’m so proud and I think of that accomplishment every day.

What is your favourite Trust place and where would you like to visit next when it’s possible?

My favourite places are the Hermitage and Culzean Castle. The Hermitage has the feeling that few forests have – if fairies existed, they would exist there. I also love to watch the salmon jumping up the waterfall at this time of year; it’s such a magical sight. Culzean is the place closest to my heart though, as I’ve been going there ever since I was little with my Grandpa. It was my Grandpa’s favourite place and he was a proud member of the Trust. He has sadly passed now but it’s a place I go to remember him and the kindness, passion and honesty he left on this planet.

What’s your favourite product that you supply to the Trust and what was the inspiration behind creating it?

This is an easy one! It’s the Culloden heather range. It’s an honour to collect from such a special site. It’s here that we can really hone in on our respect for the environment and we only ever collect what we need to preserve for our jewellery. We never waste botanicals – any unused stems, buds or stalks in our jewellery are reused elsewhere.

What do you love about Scotland? #fortheloveofscotland

Scotland is a magical place and its hospitality and encouragement of creativity is the embodiment of the National Trust for Scotland. From the culture, food and people, Scotland is truly a place to call home and it feels simply perfect.

Explore the Trust’s Botanic Isles Jewellery

Naked Wines is proud to support the National Trust for Scotland’s Meet the Maker series. Enjoy 12 delicious bottles handcrafted by some of the world’s best independent winemakers for just £80 saving over £56. Even better, Naked Wines will donate 20% of proceeds back to the Trust for every case purchased. Snap up your exclusive case.


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