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44 Ann St, Ballycastle

Northern Ireland, BT54 6AD

Inspiring future collections with a creative break. Returning on 5th April 2024.

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Our Story - A Gallery for inspired artists

 Welcome to the Puffin Gallery, an artist run gallery of fine art and contemporary crafts, based in Ballycastle, a seaside town on the Causeway Coast.

the Puffin Gallery was one of the SmallBiz 100 businesses selected by the Small Business Agency in 2019 for its enthusiasm in promoting local art and creativity in the community.

 

 

 

Being passionate about the arts, also means promoting creativity in the community. In the past we have organised community activities (classes, knitting clubs, yarn bombing of Ballycastle). Brigitte contributes to the Lir Arts Festival, Ballycastle, a group organising cultural events in Ballycastle.

This website only shows you a glimpse of what is available in the gallery, so please feel free to contact us to arrange a virtual visit (using video conferencing facilities).

 

 

 

 

Robert Spotten

My Journey ... So Far!

 

Hello, if you were in my jewellery studio, or our art gallery in beautiful Ballycastle by the sea, we would share a bit of craic over a pot of tea.  Instead, here’s a wee read about how I went from sleeping in a drawer to designing for royalty. 
I was born in Northern Ireland, in Derry/Londonderry in 1960.  It’s a great city for a visit. 

Back then though, the new Altnagelvin hospital’s maternity ward ran out of cots on my arrival, and I spent my first nights tucked up in a drawer! 

Growing up through Northern Ireland’s Troubles, 40 years of extreme civil unrest, I recognise that developing my creativity offered a means to escape the stresses of life.  At 15 I was immersed in painting close wildlife studies in gouache and watercolour, detailing each feather and tuft of fur.   example of wildlife painting in gouache by robert spotten
Sterling silver and gold fashion ring- Flower with morning dew by robert spotten
Painting taught me the attention to detail I transferred to jewellery when I undertook my apprenticeship with a Hatton trained jeweller in Coleraine, aged 17.
    I can still remember my pride in that first, simple silver Star of David!  
    Since that I must have worked on, made or designed over 100,000 pieces of jewellery, honing my work skills and cutting my design teeth.  I graduated from the University of Ulster in Contemporary and Applied Arts in 2014, with renewed excitement for designing and I’m keeping my sights on the next 100,000 pieces! 

    I married Brigitte, a jeweller’s daughter from the  south of France, in 1998.  We started the business in 1999 and, with Brigitte’s steadfast support, I have been designing, producing and trading ever since as “Causeway Jewellery Creations”, “Robert Spotten, Fine Designs” and now to highlight that we are a partnership, “Spottens”, working in sterling silver, gold, platinum and palladium.

    In 2020 I was talked into holding my first art exhibition since 1983, exhibiting as a wildlife artist in the Puffin Gallery, Ballycastle, Northern Ireland.

    Robert spotten at the bench looking at one of his latest creations

    Replica of HMS Caroline on a wooden stand

    In the 40 years of making jewellery, one of my most challenging and exciting  commission is the exact replica of HMS Caroline as a memento to the staff shortly after its de-commissioning. The piece took months to make and prepare, it measures around 35cm long. I used the actual ship plans and researched old photographic records to include all the necessary details.

     

     

     

    My Inspiration comes from the local environment, water, nature, Space and Celtic symbolism. 

     Living by the beautiful Causeway Coast, I walk its long, sandy surf beaches, ancient forests and prehistoric sites, feeling pretty small in that rugged scenery under huge, ever-changing skies.  Walks in these places inspired my "local scenery" collection which incorporates ancient, traditional Celtic symbols. Robert at the Giants Causeway looking for inspiration during his walks
    necklace representing empty jerrycans showing the scarcity of water due to exploration of petrol and other resources

    The concept of water inspired another collection. Scarcity of drinking water formed the theme for my degree work and continues to find its way into my designs. You will find patterns made by sand, rippling under wave action, and shapes made by streaming rivers, echoed in my jewellery.

    The 1969 Moon landing awakened a boyhood fascination for Space, and some of my work is inspired by planetary interaction, and views of Earth from Space.

     

     

     Brigitte Le Boulleur

    A long way from home...

    f:entrepreneur 2022 award Small Business BritainHello and welcome to our website. Please call me Brigitte and let me tell you a bit about myself.

    Born in Perpignan, a daughter and grand daughter of jewellers, I am afraid I did what my mother advised me not to do and married a jeweller too! and I must say I have no regrets! Both Robert and I are creative people although we work very differently. When Robert starts creating, he has the end image of what he wants to produce in mind. My creativity is instictive and an emotional response to both the subject and the material. I enjoy the process and let myself work towards a final outcome which is an expression of my feelings and ideas.

    My inspiration comes from life experiences, motherhood and my surroundings. 

    My work is based on particular themes which I explore through different media: textiles, ceramics, glass, paint, printing or jewellery (I design the jewellery and Robert helps me make it).

    I left France aged 17 and  graduated at Trinity College with a BA Hons in English and French, I continued my career in economic and community development whilst completing a Masters in Business Administration part-time at the University of Ulster.

    I have always worked hard but my passion has always been the arts, as a child, I loved doing portraits and making figure sculptures in clay. In 2014, I obtained a University of Ulster Associate Degree in Fine and Applied arts. 

    brigitte le boulleur multi media artist portraitMy origins can be seen in my art as I love using strong colours (my region saw the birth of Fauvism). I embrace new technologies and design patterns and jewellery using specialist software.

    I like experimenting with different materials and have made different pieces using textiles, felt, beads, silver, enamels, ceramics, paints and glass.

    My hard work paid off when I was selected as one of 100 f:entrepreneurs 2022 and The Puffin Gallery was nomWhy me an embroidered portrait inspired by Klimtinated as one of the 100 Small Businesses in 2019.

    Both Robert and I accept commissions. 

    Contact us for any queries, we look forward to speaking to you!