Sunday, 31 May 2009

Introduction to Art Clay Silver

I have had a very busy few days since I returned from Edinburgh.  Of course I had all the usual catching up with paperwork and a day in Whitby Museum but I also had two days of classes introducing new students to the magic of art clay silver.  I am always amazed at the variety of lovely work that is produced.  Everyone starts with the same information and tools and by the end of each day has produced pieces that reflect their own personality and way of working.   Here are the first pieces produced by my students on Saturday.  We all had an enjoyable and as you can see, a very productive day.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Badge making fun

Tomorrow I am due to run a badge making session in Whitby Museum.  I love these, it is a great opportunity to chat to visitors and to get them to spend a bit of time looking at things more closely. I will be there with my little badge making machine and lots of bits of paper, pens and crayons and look forward to meeting whoever comes in.  If it happens to be a quiet day I will get on with my own research as I have a few ideas and need to get a bit of sketching done.

Enamelling weekend in Edinburgh

I have had a fantastic weekend in Edinburgh.  I was invited by Emma Baird to run a weekend workshop on behalf of the Art Clay Guild Scottish region, together with Dorothy Cockrell.  We split into two groups and I began by leading those who had some experience of enamelling but had never used art clay silver, while Dorothy worked with those who were experienced in art clay silver but had little or no experience in enamelling.  I will post some of the images in a slide show but am sure you will agree that the group managed to produce some lovely pieces of work.  Emma has put some more pictures on her blog and so has Lesley Messam

Thank you all for your enthusiasm, I hope a few more will be joining the Guild of Enamellers and continue to explore this lovely medium.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


Today I have spent some time preparing for an enamelling weekend in Edinburgh. Myself and Dorothy Cockrell will be running a workshop on Saturday and Sunday for the Scottish region of the Art Clay Guild. The event has been organised by Emma Baird of Art Clay Scotland and The Little Bead Shop

I have been wondering what to take with me as I will have to pack everything into my suitcase and will have to change trains twice followed by a short bus ride across Edinburgh. I have a bad habit of making my suitcase so heavy that it is difficult to lift. Anyway, I have decided to post this image of some of my enamel test pieces as my folder of tests is one of the things I will be leaving at home.

I will take a few samples and notes and a couple of my recent big necklaces and I am certain Dorothy will have plenty of exciting pieces of work to inspire everyone too.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Another day, another bead

Yesterday I spent a bit of time studying a fantastic book on the history of beads.  Inspired I then went on to attempt large holed beads with 'horns'.  I began by doing the spotted yellow and dark blue bead, just to get my hand in and then went on to make the other three.  These are fresh from the kiln, not quite sure where this idea is going but it was interesting to try.  

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Inspired by maps

I have also just taken a few more beads inspired by old maps out of the kiln, freshly annealed.  I have introduced a pale blue to the black and ivory combination in the new samples, to try and give them a third level of depth.    I will have to think about this idea for a while now before I make any more, just to make sure it really is expressing what I want.

I do want to think about how I am going to use more colour in this body of work though.  The museum is full of fantastic and very colourful objects but so far I seem to have produced work that is mainly black and white.

Summer colours

Here are my latest batch of lovely summery beads, fresh from the kiln.  I have been making a few squared ones as well as playing around with colour combinations.  I can't seem to escape from the blues and turquoises though, just like enamel they are always beautiful.

Design ideas

I am starting to sort out more ideas for my 'Inspired by Heritage' residency at Whitby Museum.  I have been looking at pictures I have taken and sketched a few things out.  I have also made a couple of test beads attempting to capture the essence of old maps made during the travels of Whitby's sea Captains.  I love the way in which they charted the depths and sometimes show the edges of land with the equivalent of contour lines as shadow lines around them.  

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Out and about

I have had an order for a leaf twist pendant in turquoise and while I was enamelling it decided I should make another in green.  It seems like ages since I did any of this kind of thing and it was lovely to get back to the bench and work.

Today I am going out and about.  I have the ordered version (in turquoise) to deliver along with a stack of brochures for the North Yorkshire Open Studios '09 and then, hopefully, will get chance to spend a bit of time in Whitby Museum.  I need to get sketching as have loads of ideas........ watch this space!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Workshop at 20-21 Visual Arts, Scunthorpe

On Saturday I ran an introductory workshop in enamelling at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre in Scunthorpe.  I had a fantastic time with a really enthusiastic group of people who experimented with enamel on copper shim, wire and mesh.  Here is a picture of some of the group working.  I hope to post a few images of their experimental pieces in the next few days

Saturday, 2 May 2009


I have spent much of the day sorting out tools and equipment for an enamelling workshop I am running next Saturday at 20-21 Visual Arts in Scunthorpe.  I have updated my file of enamelling samples and checked through and printed the handouts.  Although I do like to be organised this is a bit early, even for me.  The reason is that at the beginning of the week I will be going down to Kent to look at a few potential venues for the Guild of Enamellers annual conference in 2011 together with The Guild's Vice Chair and Conference Secretary.  The 2010 conference will take place in Nottingham from the 9th to 11th April.  I am in the process of finalising the details for that but am just lending a hand with the planning for the following year.  I have been a member of the Guild since I began enamelling in 1998 and have enjoyed all the conferences I have been to in the past.  I hadn't really appreciated just how much went into the organisation though until I was elected Vice Chair and had to help with the planning for next year.  I am of course Chair now, which is a great honour and it will be brilliant to be able to put a bit back into an organisation that has given me so much over the years.