Friday, 26 February 2010

Trip to Japan

I have spent a bit of time this afternoon sorting out and packing my suitcase ready for my visit to Japan.  I feel really lucky to have been invited to be part of this group organised by Glyn Mitchell of Zama UK.  We are visiting the Aida Corporation, who manufacture the art clay products; have workshops with Japanese tutors and a couple of visits planned.  It has special significance for me as in the front of one of my many notebooks a few years ago I wrote that I hoped one day to visit Japan.  I can't quite believe that I am setting off first thing in the morning.  I will travel down to London by train tomorrow and meet up with the rest of the group on Sunday morning at Heathrow.   I will probably not post anything while I am there but look forward to telling you all about it upon my return.

I just found this lovely blog that had beautiful photos of Kamakura

Safety and more safe working practices

Kate McKinnon is always an inspiration on lots of levels.  She has recently published a video on her blog about safe working using metal clay.  She talks about working in a more safe and clean way, producing less dust, using safer support materials and as usual, everything she says is clear common-sense.  It is well worth the few minutes it takes to watch this video.

Working as I do with enamel I am always careful when teaching and verge on the obsessive about my enamelling students wearing their dust masks.

Beginning to enamel

Yesterday I had a full studio and a really enjoyable day.  I had another maker working in art clay silver who came to spend the day working out ideas for one of her own projects.  I also had two students from the local college who came over for their second visit.  When they arrived I asked how their projects were going and what they wanted to do.  I was (for some strange reason) surprised when they asked to learn something about enamelling as they both want to include colour in their designs.  I went through the health and safety in some detail before issuing them with dust masks and explaining one technique for applying enamel to metal.   Here are a few of their photographs.  They worked really hard and went from a basic introduction to corrugating copper shim, cleaning, applying and firing their enamel then sifting and scraffito then had a go using one of my riso screens.

They finished their day with a quick try at adding colour using UV resin into bits of soldered copper that they had made on the previous visit.  I am really enjoying their visits as they keep me on my toes, making me think about materials and techniques that will help them to develop their designs.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

More snow today

It is snowing really hard again today and Jonathan did attempt to venture out, but had to turn back.  The road is worse apparently once out of the valley which is a little unusual as we usually have slightly worse weather up here.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Exhibition research

I am still busy with the planning and designing of the jewellery exhibition due to open at Whitby Museum at the end of March.  Today I spent the morning attempting to photograph pieces of jet for one of the information panels.  For those of you who love beads I am just posting this picture as a taste of what will be in the exhibition.  This is part of a long jet necklace where the carved beads are graduated and have round smooth jet beads in between.  It is Victorian and is usually on display within the museum's huge collection of jet.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


e·quiv·a·lent  (-kwv-lnt)
a. Equal, as in value, force, or meaning.
b. Having similar or identical effects.

Just thinking about a new piece of work for my 'Inspired by Heritage' project, 

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Jewellery out of anything?

I have had a long weekend away and although I took some silver wire and had some tools with me decided that at least one of my rings would have to be made quickly from something I 'found'.  I had picked this bit of cellophane up at MIMA in Middlesbrough on Thursday evening when I went to a really inspiring talk by the jeweller Ted Noten.  It was still in my bag so became Saturday's ring of the day.  I like to occasionally play around with odd materials and even though it is just a bit of wrapping tied in a not it has a kind of flamboyance and definitely the sparkle we expect in jewellery.  Just a bit of fun really

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Direction of travel, Ring 1

This is one of my Inspired by Heritage pieces.  It is a ring and is called 'Direction of Travel' and based on ideas about Captain Scoresby Junior.  He was captain of a whaling ship and did many experiments relating to magnetism with the aim of improving ships compasses.  This is the same Captain Scoresby who did the beautiful drawings of snowflakes that I used for inspiration for earlier work.

This ring is also trying to capture ideas about essentials of life and finding the way home again.  It has a tiny working compass embedded in resin together with bits of red thread.  The compass did originally say 'water proof' but I sanded the 'proof' bit away just leaving the words water and compass before I embedded it.  The compass actually shows up more clearly in this photograph than it does really.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Jewellery exhibition preparation

I am beginning to put together the information for the jewellery exhibition at Whitby Museum that opens on 30th March.  It will be the first time I have ever had to organise anything on this scale so at the moment I feel as though there is a huge amount to do.  I have selected most of the objects from the museum collection that will form the basis of the exhibition and have done some of the research.  It will have a number of themes or threads running through it and will showcase artefacts mainly from the jet, ethnographic and social history collections.  There will be a few pieces made by me as part of my residency.  I estimate that I will have to design and produce approximately 40 A2 information panels and the ones I have done so far seem a bit word heavy!
It will have a section on the use of different materials including at least one of these beautiful woven or plaited Victorian hair bracelets