To discover that her favourite primary school teacher had kept all of her childhood artwork touched Amy Singer to the core.
It was in this moment when Amy realised she was finally where she was meant to be in life after opening up CloudyBlue, her quirky gift shop and art studio in Aberdeen’s Rosemount Place.
“My favourite primary school teacher was Mrs Wood so I used to give her drawings all the time and she was really encouraging,” said Amy, 38.
“Years later, she came into the shop with all the drawings that I’d made for her when I was little.
“I was totally blown away, it just meant so much to me because I always remember her.
“There were plenty of tears.”
Born to draw
Drawing before she was even out of nappies, Amy’s artistic journey started at nursery.
“I was drawing before I started walking,” said Amy.
“It was the only thing I wanted to do.
“My mum even bumped into my nursery teacher and she actually asked if I was an artist now.”
Born in Aberdeen and brought up in Inverurie, Amy was rarely seen without a paintbrush or pencil in her hand.
After school, Amy’s love of art led her to Aberdeen where she completed an HND in art and design at college before securing a place at Robert Gordon University’s Gray’s School of Art, to study print making.
During this time Amy loved nothing more than visiting Edinburgh where she came up with the idea to open a quirky gift shop.
“At the time there wasn’t a lot of shops in Aberdeen that sold quirky cards,” said Amy.
“So we visited Edinburgh quite a lot as I loved all the independent shops.
“On one trip we were saying it would be great if Aberdeen had something like a quirky independent shop, and somewhere I could be based to do my artwork.
“We talked about it many years ago and nothing came of it.”
Written in the stars
Although that planted a seed in her mind, Amy’s path after university took her in a different direction as she went on to work in retail and at a gym.
But fate intervened when Amy was headhunted to take part in the Artist’s Way, a 12-week course to help people re-discover their creativity.
“It was an amazing course, it just totally gave me confidence and opened up my mind a bit,” said Amy.
“As part of the course we had to create a vision board of our aspirations, cutting photos out of magazines and sticking them onto a board.
“So my vision board had photos of a print making press, shop keys and a dog.
“Weirdly everything on my vision board came true within those 12 weeks, everything just opened up for me.
“It just shows that strange and wonderful things do happen when you are in that mindset.”
Since opening the family run business CloudyBlue, 11 years ago, Amy has not looked back.
“I’ve sent a lot of my work to Australia and Singapore as well as Norway, Brazil and France,” said Amy.
“I have to pinch myself, it’s crazy.”
Amy has even sold her work to a mystery celebrity.
“I’m afraid I’m not allowed to say who it is but it was very exciting.”
From quirky cards and original prints to children’s books and candle holders, the shop is like a treasure trove.
And with her own art studio in the shop, Amy can personalise cards and prints on the spot.
Amy’s artwork also makes appearances at weddings as she used her calligraphy skills to create personalised leather jackets for brides.
“I absolutely love making the leather jackets for brides,” said Amy.
One of Amy’s proudest projects to date was illustrating the children’s book “Max and Draggy,” written by her schoolfriend, Rebecca Richmond.
“We actually sell the book in the shop so people have been asking me to sign the book,” laughs Amy.
Forced to close the shop during lockdown, Amy admits she found herself wallowing before using it as the motivation to tap into her creativity.
“I made these random wonky abstract faces and they went down a storm during lockdown,” said Amy
“That gave me a real boost during such a difficult time.”
Using her business as a force for good is also important to Amy, who is supporting Light the North, a fundraiser in aid of Clan Cancer Support that will see a Lighthouse she made auctioned off for the charity.
As well as her charity work, Amy is also supporting the next generation of artists.
“I tutor a little girl which is lovely,” said Amy.
“The funny thing is that her granny is Mrs Wood, my old primary teacher.”
With her bubbly personality, creative nature and cracking sense of humour, the future looks bright for Amy.
“It’s hard work but it’s wonderful,” said Amy.