Wednesday, 29 July 2009


I have spent a very damp day at the North Yorkshire Moors National Park centre at Sutton Bank demonstrating to those hardy people who braved the sometimes torrential rain to get over to the marquee and look at the exhibitions. There were representatives from the Ryedale Borough Council re-cycling service talking about composting; a display by the National Park, a woodturner with beautiful work and an organic grower. Here is my unfinished necklace. I particularly enjoyed showing the children how easy it is to create these flowers and had an enjoyable day even if everything seemed very damp by the end of it. I just need to light the fire and check all my tools are properly dry now

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Back to work

I have had a lovely day away and today am back in the studio. I am planning the things I am going to make at the event tomorrow organised by the North Yorkshire Moors National Park at the Sutton Bank Centre. It is called 'Our awesome planet' and will be all kinds of people working in re-cycling. I will be making jewellery using different odds and ends of recylcled materials and will try and remember to take some pictures and post them

Monday, 20 July 2009

A few days away

I have been working hard over the last week but don't have much in the way of pictures to show. I am going away for a few well earned days off though now and next weekend will be at Warwick Folk Festival. Hopefully next week I will get back to the blog and let you all know what I have been doing!

I will be at the North Yorkshire Moors National Park event 'This awsome planet' on Wednesday 29th July at Sutton Bank; at Tockwith Show on Saturday 1st August and then running a short series of workshops at Whitby Museum on Thursdays 6th, 13th and 20th August.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Two days of teaching

I have had two really busy days running courses in my workshop here in North Yorkshire. I love the challenges some of my students set me by asking questions that really make me stop and think. Yesterday I had a student who was also studying for a degree in visual arts and had been doing a lot of work with ceramics. Anyone who knows me well will know I don't really have any affinity to clay (mud kind of stuff) as I don't like getting dirty! Julie had brought along a selection of bisque fired earthenware textured beads and wanted to know whether she could add art clay silver and torch fire them, the main problem being that she didn't have her own kiln just access to a very large version at the university where she is studying. I admit that my initial reaction was a very large NO thinking I didn't want flying shards of hot ceramic bits in my studio - especially while someone else was in there. Anyway, after a bit of thought (and lunch) I suggested we try by adding art clay silver overlay paste, drying the bead on my scientific hotplate set at about 60 degrees C and then turning it up to 200 degrees C to pre-heat the bead. I then set up a few fire bricks on my hearth to surround the bead from three sides and got Julie to slowly introduced the flame of the propane torch. I used long handled tweezers to turn the bead occassionally while she was firing and at the end quickly removed it putting the hot bead between layers of kiln blanket to slow down the cooling process. Success...... a bit of burnishing and one happy student with a silvered ceramic bead!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Flora and photo polymer plates

I have been experimenting with some of the photographs I have taken at Whitby Museum recently and trying to make them into photo polymer plates for using to texture art clay silver. This is all preparatory work for the jewellery I will be making as part of my Inspired by Heritage residency at the museum. I have used a variety of different types and thicknesses of plates but eventually decided that I like the thin plates with a steel backing. These seem to produce the delicate and still crisp image I am looking for. It has taken me quite a few days work though and lots of pieces that are not quite what I was looking for. Here are some of my photos converted to black and white together with some of the finished plates. There are quite a few steps to the process including printing high density images on ohp film so that they can be used as negatives when exposing the sensitive plates.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Preparatory design work

I have spent most of the day trying to adapt some of the photographs I had taken of the herbaria in Whitby museum into black and white images to make photopolymer plates from. I am quite pleased with the results but somehow working at the computer doesn't feel like I am being creative, even though it is all part of the design process. The pictures I took are of very delicate pressed flowers and are such beautiful graphic images.