Saturday, 5 November 2011

A little bird

I have been teaching a student today, learning about cloisonné enamelling. It gave me chance to do a little tiny bird pendant, smaller scale than I usually work, this one is approximately 12mm across by 15mm length.

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Wednesday, 28 September 2011


I have been looking at the flowers that remain in the garden as Autumn draws in. When I view my work it is obvious that I have constantly used flowers as a source of inspiration over the years.

I love both the structure and the colours in this honeysuckle, as well as it's wonderful perfume.

Here are some of the ways in which I have used flowers in my work. For more information on these pieces see my website
or where you can find information about my courses in jewellery making, metal clay, art clay silver and enamelling.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Crafts at the Castle Museum York

I have had a lovely couple of days at the Castle Museum York, along with other talented crafts people doing demonstrations of workshops that will be running at the museum later in the year.  You can see more about this on the Castle Museum blog here

Just as as reminder I will be running a workshop making 1960s inspired plastic rings on the 1st October, booking through the Castle Museum 
 You can see more about this on my website

There is information about metal clay and art clay silver on my new blog here

Sunday, 28 August 2011

1960s Inspired Rings

I am busy preparing for a workshop I am running at the Castle Museum York Saturday 1st October 2011. The workshop will be inspired by the Sixties Gallery in the museum. They have a fantastic collection of bright and groovy stuff. This is a photo I took on my last visit

Today I have been making a selection of ring blanks ready for the class to use.

The workshop will run from 10am until 3pm and is £20 per person
You will make your own funky sixties inspired plastic ring

To book a place telephone York Museums Trust on 01904 650333

It is part of a much larger programme of events being organised by York Museums Trust (including a silver clay class on 12th May 2012) and there will be two days of taster sessions with demonstrations by some of the makers running on Saturday 10th September and Monday 12th September.

Why not come along and have a look and sign up for something interesting..... Hope to see you there!

Location:York, Castle Museum

Saturday, 20 August 2011

More metal clay thinking

I have begun a new website specifically for my work and classes in metal clay. Find me at You can subscribe and comment and I will be using that website blog style, as I like the more active nature of a blog rather than the traditional static website.

I will continue to post here too - but will keep them different from each other

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Mary's shoes with Serena Patridge

Yesterday I had a brilliant day taking part in a workshop run by local artist Serena Partridge.  The workshop was called 'Mary's shoes' referring to an exhibition about the Weatherill family of artists currently showing at the Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby.

Serena demonstrated to the class,showing us her methods for constructing beautiful little paper shoes and we then went on to make our own versions, choosing from the patterns and papers that she had provided.  At the end of the day most of us had made two or three little shoes, each of which has its own imagined story.  
These are the shoes made by the whole group.  As you can see they are very individual and beautifully decorated (and that most people in the group actually made a pair of shoes).
Here are my three shoes.  I began with a fairly small example and made them progressively smaller.  This was a fabulous day and I would like to do this again sometime.  I wish I had made labels and a story for each of them, they do really lend themselves to story telling!

There will be more workshops at the Pannett through August.  On the 18th, 23rd, 25th, 30th August and 1st September are a series of drama workshops for children.  They are running from 1.30pm to 3.30pm and will be exploring and imagining life in Whitby for the people shown in the Weatherill paintings.

On Friday 26th August from 10am until 4.30pm there will be a drop-in workshop looking at Womens' work in Whitby during the 1800-1900s.  You can learn about traditional Ganseys and participate in rag rugging.

Booking for any of the workshops is essential - telephone 01947 602051

Friday, 5 August 2011

Micro fold forms

I have spent a lovely couple of days in my studio with Jill Leventon, a good friend and talented maker and Enameller. I have made these small copper pleated forms and it is quite addictive. I will need to try more of this as soon as I have a bit of free time, thanks Jill

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Time out

I don't know where the past few weeks have gone but they have simply flown by. Last week I ran a couple of interesting workshops in my own studio; the first for a couple who spent the day making their wedding rings In sterling silver and gold using traditional techniques and the second for a couple who made some beautiful pieces in their first foray into art clay silver. I have a couple of commissions half done on the bench and am making samples for a 1960s inspired rings class that I will be running at the Castle Museum in York on the 1st October. I will try and post some pictures of them in the next few days!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Summertime inspirations

I have had a few days off this week to catch up with some of my family and relax.  The beauty of always having my mobile phone with me is that I can take pictures anywhere.  The seeds heads with a ladybird was taken on a quick visit to Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate.

This beautiful picture is my Dad's garden.  It was lovely to see the roses in full bloom and the sunshine on his collection of unusual plants.  He does sometime open his garden to visitors and you can see more here on his website
On the journey home across the Yorkshire Wolds I stopped to take a photo of this field on the rolling hillside, a mass of poppies growing through the yellow flowers of the rapeseed crop.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The birds and the beads

I am preparing to take part in North Yorkshire Open Studios which this year runs over 5 days June 10/11/12 and 18/19 10.30 to 5.30 each day. I will be having a small opening event on Friday 10th June from 5.30 until 6.30pm when I will be showing my bird inspired Jewellery and launching a new range of small bead bracelet kits.

Just send me a message if you are intending to come along, it will be lovely to see you!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Plique a jour and lots of other fun

I have had the most amazing weekend.  The very talented metal clay artist Lesley Messam has been up to North Yorkshire (together of course with her lovely husband Keith). We were a little sad as Joy Funnell was originally going to come as well, but couldn't because of other commitments.  She did very kindly email some notes on plique a jour enamel to help us on our way.  On Friday we had a day out in Whitby but Saturday and Sunday were spent in studio, teaching each other all kinds of things and laughing and experimenting along the way.

I have a large stone set and ready to attach to my partly made ring.  The main achievement for me was actually doing some plique a jour enamel.  I did make two pairs of earrings using this technique way back in 1999 but have not attempted it since.

Bird a week, plique a jour earrings

This is my second attempt. I got a little confused about which colour went into which cell so a couple of the cells have more than one colour in them.  I have really enjoyed the challenge of doing these and will think about designing something for plique a jour again soon

I still have my big ring to finish first and another bird brooch is in progress

Monday, 2 May 2011

Forget me not

This little brooch is a commission for clients for their daughter as a wedding gift. It does have all the elements of something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue together with the forget me not  that are her own favourite flowers.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

A ring in Seattle

I am really pleased that one of the rings I made last year has been selected for an exhibition RAD, a Ring a Day for 365 days at the Punch Gallery in Seattle. The exhibition runs from Thursday May 5 to Sun May 29, 2011 and runs in conjunction with the conference of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (my ring is a plastic one, carved faux bone and engraved then coloured using alcohol inks).

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More Birds

I have had a busy few weeks and fallen behind slightly with the 'Bird a Week'challenge.  I have been sketching and thinking about possible birds, just not had much free studio time. Here are the two latest.  The first is in sterling silver. roller printed, hammered and slightly domed with a loop soldered on and a jump ring so it can be worn as a pendant.

The second is a tiny art clay silver bead bird (think I need to make another attempt to photograph it though)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Teaching and studio time

I have had a busy few days teaching in my studio. Here is Barbara working away on her ring on Thursday.

In Friday Jan spent the day making two pendants, one a stylised leaf for her daughter and the other this horse's head

Here is Jan proudly wearing her creation. I do love it when a student makes something they are happy to wear.

Today I have had a quiet time working on a small forget-me-not brooch

I still have quite a bit of work to do on it, but here it is fresh from the kiln. My garden is a sea of forget-me-not flowers at the moment, although a bit battered now after the hail and rain storms yesterday

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Saturday, 19 March 2011

Back to the bench and more birds

It has been a busy few weeks working on the redisplay of objects at Whitby Museum for the Precious Cargo project so I have had very little time in the workshop.  It did quickly make a pair of bird earrings last week and then wore them when I went to do a talk for the Scarborough Decorative and Fine Arts Society on Wednesday.
This sketch was a doodle I did in February 2011
These are part of my Bird a Week challenge.   I really liked them so decided to make another, larger pair today.
This pair are slightly more dimensional as I hammered them more to give them a bit of a curve.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Aid to Japan

At this time last year I had just returned from a visit to Japan with a group of friends and colleagues.  For me this was a life enriching experience and everywhere I went I was met with courtesy and kindness and I really wish to return and visit again some time in the future.  In the Guild of Enamellers we were looking forward to our annual conference and we welcomed Toshihide Ueeda as a tutor together with Daisuke Minagawa.  I have heard from Daisuke and from another contact in the Japan Enamel Artists Association to say that they and their families are safe.  We have all been shocked by the scenes of devastation from the earthquake and tsunami.  So many died and many are still lost and unaccounted for, may their souls rest in peace.

We can see that it will take much time and effort to begin a process of recovery and re-building.  There are many people who lost everything.  The Metal clay community are getting together to make a group contribution to the Shelterbox scheme.  You can pay into this using paypal and emailing your contribution to

You can also donate direct using a debit or credit card

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Monday in the studio

I had a lovely day on my own in the studio on Monday and have now had a chance to do a bit more polishing of the two pendants and re-photograph them

I also had a go at making a hollow glass bead

Monday, 7 March 2011

Cloisonne enamel

It seems like ages since I had a day to myself in the studio.
I had a go at cloisonne for my next two birds for the 'Bird a Week'challenge (I have fallen a bit behind with this project).  They still need a bit of a polish but I feel quite positive about the work I have done today.  I also did a couple more embellished beads and have made some glass beads to go with them, although they are still in the kiln anealling.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Just 10gms each

I am always amazed at the work students can produce with just 10gms of art clay silver. Here are Donna and Rosie who have been here in my studio to do an introductory class today, they are just on the final stages of polishing their pieces in this photograph.
Here are all their pieces of work (Rosie's on the left, Donna's on the right)
They did roll over textures; had a go at drawing their own; made tiny moulds and embedded small czs. With the small amount left at the end they each made a little coiled bead. I have had a really enjoyable day and hope that they are happy with all the precious things they have made.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Bird watching

I am enjoying my visit to the British Museum, looking at some favourite objects and some I have not seen before.

One favourite is this wood and shell bird. It was the inspiration for my enamelled bird brooch and I have a tiny sketch in my sketchbook. Looking at it again I realise itches much larger than I remember.

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Lambs Conduit Street

This morning I walked from where I was staying in London back to the British Museum and took a slight detour along Lambs Conduit Street. I think even in the rain it must be one of my favourite streets in London, it feels as though it still has an active local community, it is a real mix of businesses (including a couple of those ubiquitous coffe chains), traditional tailors and of course The Lamb, a Youngs pub, I haven't been in for years. I will have to do that some other time and will be spending most of my day out in the British Museum

This little bird

I have had a really busy week and am now away from home so was wondering how I might make something for my bird and ring challenges.

Here is my little bird ring, crochet cotton thread.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

60s Inspired flower ring

Here is my first ring for February.  It is made in faux bone in two pieces; the ring shank and the flower separately.  I then drilled the two sections and a small circular piece of sterling silver and riveted them all together.  I had filed the lines into both sections and added the alcohol ink before sanding back and then joining the pieces.  Faux bone is a great medium for practising rivets as it is very durable.  I wondered whether to make a spinner type ring but in the end opted for joining the sections firmly together so this one is static.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Bird a week challenge and another ring

I have been a bit late posting this, my bird for last week.  This is because they were waiting for me to complete enough beads to run an annealing programmed in my kiln.  This is a bit risky as it is better to put the beads into a warm kiln and straight on to anneal.  Anyway, they did survive. It is quite a long time since I made any bird beads and they are a little strange.
My ring for last week is in faux bone, coloured with alcohol inks.  This is inspired by some examples of 1960s modernist pieces and was really made to work out how long it would take to saw, file and finish.  I am planning to do this as a class later this year.

Here is my bird for this week. I feel a bit happier with the overall shape of this one, it is a bit more balanced as a bead although I did marver the 'wing' flatter on one side than on the other.  I think I need to get a bit more bead making time into my weekly schedule! 

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Bird on the hand

Here is my bird and my ring for this week.  Again it is hollow, constructed in art clay silver with a steel screw embedded so that it can be fixed into this ring.  I made a sketch of an idea for a ring with a bird during 2009 but have not had a chance to go back and play around with the idea until now.  This one is interchangeable and it has a small jade bead as a spacer.  I am really enjoying the challenge but know that over the next few weeks it will be difficult to keep up.  It will be a good chance to go back to sketching ideas though

See some of the others from the Bird a Week group here

Sunday, 16 January 2011

New schedule of classes

I have spent a long time today updating my website to show details of the classes I offer in a slightly clearer way and in more detail. It is quite satisfying to be able to do this, a few years ago I was very resistant to the idea of managing my own website but now, with much better designs of templates available, I enjoy being able to take control of this aspect of my work and business. This site is just about courses I offer

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Saturday, 15 January 2011

Birds and rings

I have finished two more Bird rings for both the Bird a week and the Ring a week challenges.  These are created using Faux Bone, a lovely material to use and to wear.  I was intending to tint the one above but after leaving it for a few days realised that I like the clarity of form so have left it un-coloured.
This 3rd one is also in Faux Bone with art clay silver flower bud and bird attached.  The flower bud also has a small orange cz set into the top of it.  The faux bone is stained using alcohol inks.  I may have to take these pictures again as I was struggling with the light and seem to have given them an odd colour cast.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Ring a week challenge

I decided to join the Ring a Week challenge before I found out about the Bird a week mentioned in my previous post.  I didn't get off to the best start with this challenge and haven't made any rings since last Spring.  I began a ring and seem to have mislaid it so had to start again, anyway, decided to start simple so here is my first ring of the set.
It is sterling silver round wire, soldered and hammered

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Bird a week challenge

I have joined the Bird a Week challenge on flickr set up by Ruth Baillee

The link was sent to me by my good friend Joy Funnell who knows I have been using bird motifs in my work from time to time.  This is a good chance for me to go back to some of my earlier ideas and try and develop them a bit more fully.

Here is my first design although looking at it I don't think I quite have the balance right yet.  

Monday, 3 January 2011

Beaded bracelet

I am working on some large beads for a bracelet at the moment, bit by bit building these kind of spool shapes. It is good to be working properly and in a focused way.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

Here's hoping 2011 is a positive and creative year!

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