SAY Award 2019

Emma McDowall

The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award 2019 Design Commission is curated by Local Heroes and supported by Sweetdram.

Developed by The Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award is one of Scotland’s most ambitious and lucrative arts prizes. With £20,000 awarded to the winning album and nine runners-up prizes of £1,000, The SAY Award champions the strength and diversity of Scotland’s musical output and the vital, enduring relationship it shares with the world of design, celebrating emerging and established artistic practice.

A unique feature of The SAY Award is its Design Commission; each year a designer is commissioned to make bespoke prizes for the Shortlisted artists, offering a creative and exciting complement to the award’s musical counterpart. Local Heroes are delighted to curate the 2019 award prizes and to commission Emma McDowall.

Local Heroes commissioned designer Emma McDowall to create 10 distinctive cast concrete awards inspired by the basalt cliffs of Edinburgh’s Salisbury Crags for the Shortlisted albums.

Emma McDowall said:

“I was delighted to have been chosen for this commission which gave me the freedom to be expressive, sculptural and experimental without any of the commercial pressures. The brief was to take inspiration from Edinburgh, and specifically the Salisbury Crags – dramatic cliffs located in the middle of the city centre which truly makes our city unique. I mimicked the textures found within the Crags by carving and chiselling plaster which I then translated into the concrete objects. I took colour inspiration from Scottish landscape too – deep grey-blues and forest greens dropping into a natural sand tone, creating interesting details where they blend together. I also incorporated a UV element on the textured face of the object to add something unexpected and honour the exciting nature of the awards and the nominated artists."

Stacey Hunter, Design Curator and founder of Local Heroes said:

“It’s such an exciting time to be in Scotland as the quality of the creative projects taking place here is so high. We are delighted to partner with The SAY Award. Emma McDowall is a designer who can expertly bring together tactile materials, distinctive colour palettes and an element of surprise – an aspect that is often so key to successful design projects. Her UV reactive concrete totems will look just as dynamic in daylight as they do in the dark and will be treasured objects for this year’s Shortlisted artists.”

Hilary Goodfellow from The Scottish Album of the Year Award said:

“The Design Commission is one of my favourite parts of The SAY Award, it’s a chance to explore the special reciprocal relationship between art, design and music. Emma’s totems are beautifully crafted, bold and statuesque, and we love how they reflect back the unique geology of the Salisbury Crags."

The design and production of these awards is facilitated by support from Sweetdram, The SAY Award partner and trailblazers of modern distilling based in Edinburgh. Sweetdram make progressive, flavour-driven spirits in Edinburgh so it was a symbiotic partnership propelled by shared values of innovation and the will to do things differently. Sweetdram’s support covers the designers fee and materials required to produce the totems.

Emma McDowall

Studio Emma was created in 2016 by surface designer and maker Emma McDowall, based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Emma initially studied Textile Design at Gray’s School of Art, after graduating she took her love for colour and texture and expanded into new materials and more sculptural forms from the modesty of her mother’s garden shed. Her first collection of concrete vessels, home wares & art objects were born from that period of experimentation. Working with imaginative colour combinations to create free-form patterns and surface textures, her hand crafted designs play on the unpredictable and the imperfect, taking shape as bold, decorative pieces, each of which is entirely unique.

Each piece is made by hand from start to finish, each completely unique in colour, texture and surface pattern, imperfections are celebrated as part of the design.

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