New Heights

I think that I have always had a fear of heights up until very recently.  During October I undertook a number of small personal challenges and one of these was to take a flight in a glider.  I really loved the whole experience and the quiet gliding looking down on the patterns of the landscape made me realise that there was nothing to fear and that I had been missing out on all of these extra sources of inspiration.

I have continued to explore new heights by visiting the Shard in London and thoroughly enjoyed the views.

I am looking forward to creating new work in response to these experiences and have begun by trying out patterns and images in a few pairs of earrings.  

Into the summer

I don’t know where the beginning of the year has disappeared to, it seems to have absolutely flown past.  I have been busy experimenting with the New Mokume Gane techniques and thinking of creating a new range of jewellery.

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Woodland, New Mokume Gane pendant

Last weekend I was at the Guild of Enamellers annual conference which this year was held in Leicester.  It is always fantastic to spend a weekend with such a creative group of people.  I have had some lovely classes teaching ring making; enamelling and jewellery making using art clay silver.   I have done a little bit of enamelling in the round, one of my own personal challenges; creating some new enamelled silver beads.   These will be available to purchase during North Yorkshire Open Studios in June as well as other new work including enamelled wall panels and jewellery.IMG_2823IMG_3413

If you are interested in learning to enamel then please contact me to arrange a date.  It is a fantastic thing to learn and very addictive.  I will be adding more classes to my website throughout the summer but also arrange them on a one-to-one basis on dates to suit – just let me know what dates would suit you?

I still have one or two available dates for couples who wish to make each other wedding rings but as weekends book up quite quickly I would advise you get in touch to discuss this as soon as possible, if you are considering this.  It does add an extra special touch to you wedding preparations.  Here are Liz and Tom at the end of their day.  Their wedding rings are both on a mandrel in front of them but have since been sent off to the assay office and hallmarked ready for their wedding day.

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New year and New Mokume Gane courses

As part of my programme for 2014 I am going to be teaching the New Mokume Gane techniques using Art Clay Silver and Art Clay Copper. I am at present the only instructor in the UK who has taken this course devised by Aida Corporation in Japan so this is a unique opportunity to learn some of these fabulous techniques. Only those with the full Art Clay diploma will be eligible to apply for certification but I am happy to teach projects and familiarisation courses for those who would like to begin their journey. I also teach the art clay diploma courses by arrangement so please use the comment form if you would be interested in doing any of these. More details about the New Mokume Gane course can be found on my website

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Planning new classes for 2014

I really enjoy this time of year. Not only can I look forward to Christmas but the busy period is behind me, any galleries I supply need their new stock around mid-October. The garden and the moorland around my studio still have quite a lot of vivid autumn colour at the moment and my favourite Japanese flowering cherry is coming into flower, although it’s only just dropped this year’s leaves. It has done this some previous years and I love that it flowers over such an extended period.

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I have spent some time last week emptying my display cabinets, partly because I was having a popup shop in Whitby last Thursday evening. It gave me the opportunity to review my work and make a few decisions about directions for next year.

20131203-074705.jpg This is one of my display cases from Thursday evening in Beckett’s Coffee Shop. I have always been inspired by plants and find leaves and flowers often appear in my work.

20131203-074959.jpg I have reorganised my display so that all the plant based designs are now together. These include some pieces of crochet in wire, some cloisonné enamels and some of the pieces pierced from silver sheet inspired by my year as artist in residence at Whitby Museum.

20131203-075748.jpg These two pendants are all that remain of a collection of floral cloisonné enamels I made many years ago and I intend to do more of this in 2014, including teaching cloisonné enamelling techniques on a regular basis throughout the year. I am looking forward to building up a new collection before the autumn in time for an exhibition by members of the Guild of Enamellers at the Pannett Art Gallery next October.

Enamelling has been my passion for many years and I haven’t quite got over being awarded honorary membership of the Guild at the conference last April, which I think must have been one of the highlights of 2013 for me.

20131203-080804.jpg Here I am being presented with my certificate by the then Chair Jane Ball. I have also had three rings included in the ‘Heart of the Heat’ exhibition of enamelling in Birmingham and two enamelled beads selected for the book 1000 Beads due to be published next May by Lark Books (one of which will be on the cover). The emphasis of classes for 2014 will be very much on enamelling including enamelling on copper; enamelling on silver and on art clay silver and enamelling ‘in the round’ or onto curved surfaces.

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I will also be teaching classes in New Mokume Gane.

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If you are interested in taking a class just send me a message using the comments box (I won’t publish it). Let me know what it is you are interested in learning. I look forward to hearing from you …

Cloisonné enamel jewellery

I have been having a big tidy up in my studio, emptied all the display cabinets and gave everything a thorough clean. I have redisplayed some of my work and now have a whole cabinet and plant and flower inspired jewellery. These are two pieces, the first made from sterling silver sheet was inspired by Victorian pressed plants in Whitby museum and the other is crocheted in wire and is a much earlier piece of textile related jewellery.

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I have included these two pretty cloisonné enamel pendants that I made a few years ago and think that next year I need to find time to do more of these.

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I am in the process of planning my teaching schedule for 2014 and it will include plenty of opportunities to learn to enamel, both on silver and copper, as well as classes in the New Mokume Gane techniques – including the four day certification course developed by Aida Corporation, the manufacturers of Art Clay products. If you would be interested in taking a class then just use the comments box to contact me (I won’t publish your details). I look forward to seeing some of you in the new year!

Exciting new masterclass in PMC Sterling silver clay

Overgrown Garden Vessels with Lesley Messam
7th and 8th September 2013,
£385 per person (including materials)

Lesley Messam is an inventive and highly skilled artist and jeweller. She has reached Level 4 in the Metal Clay Masters Registry, only the second person in the world to achieve this. She is constantly experimenting and exploring techniques in construction and is an experienced and generous teacher.

I am delighted that she has agreed to teach here in North Yorkshire and to share her techniques for creating a small vessel with a threaded closure. In this workshop you will learn how to use PMC Sterling* silver clay to construct a very beautiful hollow formed vessel with a clever screw threaded lid, embellished with a cabochon of glass or stone, set after firing.

Sterling silver does have some advantages over fine silver, its additional strength is great for pendants on long chains that could be accidentally knocked and also for rings where durability is important.

Lesley will teach us how to make a screw thread in various sizes at minimal cost. Her method does not use gadgets or kits; works every time; is cheap and works to make the thread in many different sizes.

She will also show you how to add texture your vessel without the use of commercial texture sheets so that you can add embellishments of your own unique design or, if you would prefer to make little roses she will be happy to show you how.

*Art clay silver is an option if you prefer – indicate on the booking form
Please comment giving your email address if you would like a booking form (I won’t publish your comment)

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Local B&Bs include Bank House Farm http://www.bankhousefarmhostel.co.uk/
Beggars Bridge B&B http://www.beggarsbridge.co.uk/
Red House Farm B&B (and holiday cottages) http://www.redhousefarm.com/
And there are others – leave me a message via the comments if you would like more information or to book (include your email address, I won’t publish it)

Learn to enamel

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Today I have had a lovely day teaching Denise a little bit about enamelling on copper. She brought with her a small enamelled picture of trees by Harry Nicholson that she had bought some time ago and was intrigued by. She began by learning to sift thin layers of enamel onto small pieces of sheet copper, drawing into the layer of powder before firing it in the kiln at 800 degrees centigrade. Initially she used flux and white, using the copper oxides that form where the lines are drawn through the first layer to create patterns. Having established the basis of patterns she then added coloured enamels on some of her pieces. Denise finished with the largest piece where she allowed the view of the dale looking out through my studio window to inspire her and created this wonderful little landscape panel.

I know she enjoyed her day here and I always enjoy seeing how creative people can be within such a short time. I am sure this will be just the beginning of her adventure with enamel!