Golden Anniversary tribute to our Scotswomen of the Year

THIS YEAR, the Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year award reaches a golden milestone.

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On the drawing board - Laura Raine works on our design
On the drawing board - Laura Raine works on our design

It's the event's 50th anniversary and whoever takes the title on February 7 will join an exclusive and impressive list of women – from grandmothers, nurses and business leaders, to high-profile doctors, community workers and fundraisers – who can call themselves SWOTYs. To mark the historic occasion, the Evening Times has teamed up with Glasgow jeweller Kevan Scott to create something a little bit special.

Ann Fotheringham reports.

IT STARTS with a sketch, though it's not Kevan Scott's. The jeweller and goldsmith, whose award-winning South Side firm is among the best in Scotland cheerfully admits he can't draw to save himself.

"I'm no use when it comes to two-dimensional images, but I am very good at visualising the end product – I know exactly how something is going to look," he says with a smile.

"And this is something a little bit special."

"This" is a commemorative SWOTY silver pin brooch, created by Kevan and his designers Lydia Havirova and Laura Raine, to mark the 50th anniversary of the much-loved Evening Times event.

It will be presented to all former SWOTY winners who attend the awards dinner on February 7 in Glasgow's City Chambers, where the 2012 champion will be announced.

Lydia and Laura came up with the curved design, which incorporates the letters of SWOTY, and Kevan and Graeme Smith – who completes the team in the Clarkston workshop and showroom – did the intricate cutting and shaping to create the finished product.

"We liked the idea of including the letters, because the name is so recognisable, and we considered a few different shapes before settling on this one," explains Laura. "It's a lovely idea, and a fantastic event."

Laura, 49, who is from Waterfoot, "accidentally" became a jewellery designer after working as a bookseller.

"I was flicking through the local paper and spotted an ad for this position, took my CV in, and got the job," she smiles.

"I have always loved art and design – I studied illustration at Dundee College of Art. It is a lot of fun, working here. Clients range from those who have very set ideas to the ones who give you free rein to do what you like."

Lydia agrees. "There is such joy in seeing the finished product. It is a lovely business to be in."

The 33-year-old, who lives in Newton Mearns, is originally from Slovakia, where she studied garden architecture.

"I loved jewellery but my parents would not let me study it," she says. "They said I would end up like Van Gogh – poor and hungry. But I hated my studies, and came to Scotland to learn English. I noticed the jewellery design course at Cardonald College, applied right away and was successful."

Both Lydia and Laura, who joined Kevan four years ago, make their own jewellery. Today, Lydia is wearing beautiful earrings she made from an unusual form of quartz, while Laura fashioned her necklace out of an old spoon.

Kevan, who is married with two children, started his business in 1999, working out of his garage as he travelled around the UK selling his jewellery to retailers.

"It was four-and-a-half-years of freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer in that garage, but that's what you have to do when you start out on your own," he says.

"Moving here was a great boost. People like to see the workshop beside the showroom as it gives them confidence that we do everything in-house. They hear the hammering and sawing, and feel part of it."

Kevan agrees with Lydia and Laura that SWOTY is a special event.

"The recognition SWOTY gives to women achieving incredible things, often when they are not expecting any kind of honour, is wonderful – and we're very proud to be part of it."

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