Teddy totes

A student at Gray's School of Art has won an in-house competition after being inspired by her childhood teddy bear to design a bag raising cash for a Scottish children's charity.

Gray's Bags 2011Textiles and Surface Design student Claire Davidson (20) from King St, took part in the competition run by the School's Art Materials Shop, in conjunction with Scottish children's charity CHILDREN 1ST, which invited all second-year students on the course to design an eco-friendly canvas shopping bag.

The students had eight weeks to come up with their creations and submitted full- colour drawings, sketchbooks and samples illustrating their ideas, with the top three designs to be sold to the public from Gray's Art Materials Shop, with 70% of the proceeds going to the CHILDREN 1ST charity.

Claire, originally from Burghead near Elgin, visited Burghead Primary School Breakfast Club where her mum Lynn works, and asked the children to draw their own favourite teddies. From this, Claire designed a simple illustration of two teddies hand-in-hand and decorated them with embroidery.

She explains: "Although I had vivid memories of my favourite childhood teddy, I wanted to visit children and get them involved in the activity of designing the bag. Their colourful illustrations and enthusiasm really inspired me.

“I’m shocked and delighted to have won the competition, especially given the quality of other entries. The experience has taught me new techniques – I have learned how to screen print and also developed further understanding of machine stitching.”

Second place was awarded to Ellen Carrick (18) from Edinburgh, who incorporated illustrations of her dad, brother and granddad, using colours from the CHILDREN 1st logo. Rachel Goldie (19) from Largs was awarded third place, and was inspired by children’s board games as this is an activity used at CHILDREN 1st to bring together children and their families. Using bright colours, Rachel has integrated motifs from famous board games including Scrabble and Monopoly, to spell out the slogan, ‘Give a child a chance’.

Open to the public, the Art Materials Shop is based at the heart of the school, to the left of the entrance on the ground floor, supplying an array of paints, paper and other utensils. Opening hours are from 9am until 3.30pm all year round, offering competitive prices on a range of art, craft and modelling materials.

Anna Shannon, a previous graduate of Gray's and now Manager of the Shop, put forward the project, now in its third year:

"Supporting the students through a live project has given us the opportunity to interact more closely with our main customers. Although the Art Materials Shop is central to Gray's, we rarely get to see the results of the student's ideas, so this has been a really enlightening experience.”

Karen Moore, Senior Corporate Fundraiser for the charity, comments: "We are delighted to be involved in the competition for the second-year running. The funds raised through the sale of the bags are vital to enable CHILDREN 1ST to continue to reach out to vulnerable children not only in the region, but across Scotland."

CHILDREN 1ST's Corrieneuchin services in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire work with children to help them recover from abuse and trauma, while the Fraserburgh Families service protects children affected by parental drug or alcohol abuse.

The top three winning designs go on sale from Monday 28 November, priced at £10.
For more information on Gray's School of Art Materials Shop, please visit the website at or call 01224 263640.


Photo caption:
Rachel Goldie, Claire Davidson, Ellen Carrick and display their prize winning bags at Gray’s School of Art.

Notes to Editors:

  • CHILDREN 1ST is the working name of the Royal Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which for 125 years has been working to give every child in Scotland a safe and secure childhood. CHILDREN 1ST supports families under stress, protects children from harm and neglect, helps them recover from abuse, promotes children's rights and interests and campaigns to change attitudes.
  • CHILDREN 1ST provides local services across Scotland. The charity also provides four national services including ChildLine Scotland, a service delivered in Scotland by CHILDREN 1ST on behalf of the NSPCC; ParentLine Scotland (0800 028 2233), Safeguarding in Sport which provides sports organisations and coaches with training on child protection practice and guidance and a national kinship care service providing support, training and advice to kinship carers and their families through a helpline, events, support groups and information.
  • CHILDREN 1ST focuses on providing services that support children and young people to remain with their families, whenever it is possible and safe to do so. We work to influence policy and legislation to ensure that vulnerable children and young people are given the support and protection they need.

    Every penny we raise stays in Scotland and help support vulnerable children and young people across the country.
    For more information about how we work to keep children safe in Scotland, visit
    Registered Scottish Charity No: SC 016092.


Issued by:

Sarah Grieve

Communications Officer
Directorate for Marketing, Communications & Student Recruitment
Robert Gordon University
AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262206