Winners of contest to sell products at whisky distillery shop are revealed

Three designers have been given the opportunity to sell their products at a new visitor centre under construction.

Thursday, 27th January 2022, 3:42 pm

The Ad Gefrin whisky distillery and visitor centre in Wooler is due to open this autumn and it ran a competition offering local designers and makers the chance to put their work in the shop.

Keith Webster, of Ravn Clay on Ford and Etal Estates was chosen as overall winner for his glazed small pottery jug, ideal for watering whisky.

Runners up were Alice Elsworth of Bowsden-based Whistlebare, selected for her beautiful throws made from Cheviot sheep wool, and Joseph Hillier from Prudhoe, for his bespoke bronze jewellery.

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Keith Webster of Ravn Clay.

Eileen Ferguson, co-founder of Ad Gefrin, said: “We were blown away with the presentations and it was extremely hard to choose between the finalists as the standard was so incredibly high.

“Through this competition, we were looking for designers who are not only from Northumberland, but who are rooted in its culture and inspired by the landscape.

"All were extremely impressive, but we felt that these three had a particular synergy with our ethos and offered products at three different price points.

"We are looking forward to journeying with them and building long-term partnerships.”

“We chose Ravn Clay Pottery as the overall winner as we were all really impressed by Keith himself, the richness of the story he brought, and the thoughtfulness, appeal, and practicality of the product.

"We hope that this will be the beginning of a fruitful partnership, as there are clear opportunities for the usability of his pottery in the bistro and tasting room, as well as for retail in the shop.”

Keith said: “It is an enormous boost to my business. I view myself as a potter, though I have not received any formal training. This external validation to enrich the Ad Gefrin Experience is fantastic for me. It also changes how I see the future, and how my little business is going to go forward.”

The competition was run in conjunction with The Rural Design Centre Innovation Project (RDCIP) which held workshops to help the applicants generate ideas, test different concepts, and then bring them to fruition.