Kirkcaldy woman creates pottery made from pieces collected at beach by late partner

A Kirkcaldy woman is hoping to keep the memory of her late partner alive as well as raising money for a worthwhile charity by displaying her homemade jewellery and crafts in the town.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 4:49 pm

Loraine Hamilton has her pottery crafts and jewellery pieces on show at the Enlightenments hub in Merchants’ Quarter, and proceeds from their sales will go to Brain Tumour Research.

The charity is one close to Loraine’s heart because her partner Alex Drummond died from an aggressive, inoperable brain tumour in 2017.

Alex had many hobbies and he previously appeared in the Fife Free Press in October 2014 for amassing a collection of more than 6,000 empty beer cans.

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Loraine used some of the pottery shards Alex collected to make jewellery which is on display at the Enlightenments Hub in Kirkcaldy.

Loraine said Alex started collecting the used cans as a teenager and over the course of over four decades had gathered the vast collection.

The retired painter and decorator kept the cans in his spare room and attic, and had a number of special edition versions of well-known beers.

Loraine used some of the pottery shards Alex collected to make jewellery which is on display at the Enlightenments Hub in Kirkcaldy.

At the time he said: “I started saving beer cans when I was about 17.

“I was having a drink with my dad one night and we put our empty cans on the mantlepiece and it quite simply just grew from there, really. The oldest that I have is a 1964 Tennent’s can. It even has a recipe on the back. They certainly don’t make them like that now.”

Loraine said eventually he had the cans all crushed when the couple moved in together, but she revealed he found another hobby which involved going down to Seafield Beach in Kirkcaldy and finding pieces of pottery which he would collect.

She said that, after some investigation, Alex learned that some of the pieces came from one of the potteries Kirkcaldy had more than 50 years ago. He ended with a shed full of shards, and after he died, she decided to do something with them.

Loraine has made plaques featuring the pottery shards.

Loraine said: “After taking early retirement from Fife Council, Alex started going along to Seafield beach where he found many pottery shards. He researched where they might have come from and discovered many years ago Methven Pottery was located near the beach where the Tiel Burn flows into the Forth.

"Alex collected these pottery shards almost daily until brain cancer took hold in October 2016.

"He was a fit 59-year-old who tragically died in 2017 just six months after getting the devastating news that he had an aggressive, inoperable brain tumour.”

She continued: “Alex and I enjoyed going to art exhibitions and craft fairs so I decided I would try and do something with the pottery shards which filled half the shed. I started making plaques, clocks, jewellery and the pieces and I am always looking in charity shops to see if there is any bric-a-brac I can recycle.”

According to Brain Tumour Research, brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

For a short time, Loraine had free space in the Scottish Design Exchange in Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh and sold her pieces there, until it re-located, raising £968 for Brain Tumour Research.

But she had heard about the Enlightenments Hub and last year had wondered if they might be interested in displaying her items.

Loraine said: “After the second lockdown I approached them to see if I could put my jewellery and craft items on show and I explained my story and that I wanted to give the proceeds to Brain Tumour Research.

"I am delighted to say they agreed and because the proceeds of my pieces are going to charity, they gave me the space for free with the Adam Smith Global Foundation only taking 25 per cent commission with all the rest of the money going to Brain Tumour Research.”

She added: “It is too late for Alex but I wouldn’t want anyone to go through this because it was just horrendous. I just want to raise what I can for Brain Tumour Research, as well as helping out the Enlightenments which is also a local charity.”

Vicki Hutchison, retail manager at Enlightenments, said: “Loraine approached me after hearing about us and thought it would be a good fit for her to display some of her items here, especially given that Alex was from Kirkcaldy and that was his passion.

Alex had an incredible collection of over 6,000 empty beer cans.

"We had a chat about it and I think what she is doing is great – I was pleased to be able to help. A lot of people will be able to relate to her story and I think she is able to get some comfort from making these pieces, it is giving her a focus. It is also raising some money for Brain Tumour Research as well keeping Alex’s memory alive.”

According to Brain Tumour Research, brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer and approximately 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK that is dedicated to raising funds for continuous and sustainable scientific research into brain tumours and it is a leading voice calling for greater support and action for research into what scientists are calling the last battleground against cancer.

Joe Woollcott, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are so grateful to Loraine for choosing to support our charity again, in memory of her partner Alex.

It’s really touching that she has produced crafts using pottery Alex collected on the beach. They are really special pieces, which will no doubt be hugely popular as she embarks on her new venture in Kirkcaldy and we wish her the best of luck.

“Alex’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any time. What is more, unlike most other cancers, incidences of and deaths from brain tumours are rising.”

He added: “We, as a charity, are dedicated to finding better treatment options and ultimately, a cure, for this awful disease.”

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Loraine is hoping to raise money for Brain Tumour Research through sales of her pottery pieces.
Loraine and her partner Alex, who passed away in 2017.