Tuesday, 8 September 2009


A regional meeting of the Guild of Enamellers saw Linda and I in Shrewsbury again. This time we got there without having to go twice round the roundabout.

Jane Moore was demonstrating transfers on enamel. Jane told us about herself and how she started out as an enameller and she showed us the different types of transfers she used and some of her own designs that she had created.

Jane showed us how to lay the enamel onto the silver pieces and went through the process of firing and then rubbing the enamel down smooth and refiring ready for laying the transfer on.

The enamel had to be very finley ground and this had been expertly done by the Guild's Chairman, Lynne Glazzard, who had come along to meet us all and it was lovely to see her at our meeting. She was wearing a beautiful bracelet that she had made, I think it was faux bone, I know it wasn't enamel, but non the less it was gorgeous.

After Jane had shown us what to do we had lunch and then set about creating our own pieces. I thought I was doing ever so well until I'd smoothed the enamel but I forgot to fire it before putting on the transfer and I got little holes appearing on the transfer. Someone said it looked like raindrops on the flower so I'll go along with that.

We were shown how to oxidise the silver and then to polish it up.
It really was a great and relaxing day. Everyone is so friendly and helpful and it is such fun too.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Encaustic Art

A couple of encaustic art pics that I created - the first one I wanted it to look like an underground cavern. I visited caves some years ago on Gibralta and the way the cave was lit up with coloured lights was beautiful, I hoped I'd be able to recreate something like it and this is as good as it got when I put the coloured wax blocks on the iron and spread it on the paper. I liked the effect I got. This scene turned out better than I thought - it was one of those happy happenings. I had wanted to create something that looked like a winter tree scene and I got the added image of what looks like a snowy owl flying from the forest. I took these photoraphs through glass so they are not as clear as the real thing.

I do enjoy doing encaustic art although I don't seem to have much time these days to do any.

Monday, 24 August 2009

I'm on Folksy!!

Can't believe how long it is since I last posted on my blogs but things have just been so hectic lately and I'm no computer expert so can't get pics up very easily on here and as I had no new ones I guess I just haven't posted but hey, just thought I'd tell you about my little studio which has been busy over the holidays with workshops and me just busy making, which is the part I like best.
One of the artists on the site is having an exhibition in her studio nearer Christmas and has asked if I'd like to put some of my work in. She's doing it on a flower theme so I've been busy trying to put some things together and it's going well. I need to make a few more along with pieces for the shop but I'm sure I'll get there.
I've managed to put a couple of items onto Folksy and Coriandr so it you want to take a look follow the links. I'm hoping to be able to add some more when I have a better way of getting my pics over onto my computer. Possibly a new computer as this one is so old I think it came out of the ark but it does the job. http://www.coriandr.com/item?item=3661

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Riso Screen

Linda and I had a fabulous day at the workshop for the region with the Guild of Enamellers. We are never to old to learn new things and Bonnie Macintosh came along to show us how to use riso screens.
This was a first for Linda and I and I must say a big thank you to Linda as she took photocopies along and some blanks already enamelled for us to work on. We had been given such short notice of what we needed to take that I'd never have got anything with me.
The people were very friendly and helpful and we learned such a lot that I think we'll be going again. That's the lovely thing about enamelling, no matter how long you have been doing it for there is always something new to see and to some new technique to learn.
Photos will follow shortly.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

All things Silver

It was Silver Clay jewellery making day at the studio yesterday. Linda and Shelagh make beautiful silver jewellery but had never used Silver Art Clay before so booked on a day's course.
Linda had been talking about the course to someone at a china painting exhibition she went to and Mary turned up and decided to stay for the day too.

We started the day making a pendant and rolled out the clay. We then used sweet cutters to make a shape and added decoration.

Linda made a teardrop shape and added small rolled balls of clay to her design.

Shelagh can be seen putting the finishing touches to her pendant, before firing it. She had cut out a triangle and added thin strips of clay as decoration.

Mary was hard at work on a similar design to Linda's pendant. She had cut out her shape and added small balls of clay to finish it off.
We then went on to use silver clay paste and painted it over leaves several times, this shows all the small tiny veins in the silver when it is fired.
I demonstrated making a ring and Mary chose to do this project after lunch while Shelagh made earrings to match her pendant and Linda did another beautiful pendant by making a triangle then folding the sides onto each other which made a cone type shape.

It was Linda's birthday and her husband had made a rather yummy cake which she brought along and then I totally embarrased her by getting everyone singing 'Happy Birthday' - sorry Linda but I do work in a school and it is sung to everyone in the dinner hall, no matter how old you are - secret is ... don't let on it's your birthday when I'm around.

We finished the day by enamelling a piece of copper and then laying some very fine pieces of silver art clay on top and firing into the enamel. We nearly had a disaster as a piece came off Shelagh's but she moved it around, refired it and it looked really good.
I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and I hope the girls did too.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Busy Busy Busy

It's been a busy few days at the unit with courses. I had an evening class last week then 6 people on Saturday for the whole day and a couple of people last night. All in all busy busy busy. Here are just a few pics of some of the things I've been working on lately. I've got a few of them for sale on my web site which I'm trying to update to show more of my work http://www.honeycombcrafts.co.uk/

This top picture is a panel I scragfittoed in the style of a McIntosh Rose. It's just very simple but I liked it.

This next one is a pendant I made. I drilled holes along the bottom then enamelled it with black opaque powder. After firing the front and back around 5 times I added some glass pieces then swirled a design while it was still in the kiln. When it was finished I added some swarovski crystals which picked up the colour of the swirls.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Shattered but great day.

I was truly shattered after yesterday's course. 6 people to teach enamelling too but they were a great group of people and we had a great day. The pieces they worked on were excellent and I could tell immediately that they were craft minded, their ideas just flowed. By the time the day was over every part of my body ached, legs, feet (as I'd been on them all day), arms - needless to say it was an early night. I'll post some pics soon.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


I haven't posted much since I was at the conference as I've been so busy with one thing and another. I'll get some pics posted soon of what I'm working on. I've been running several courses and have 6 teachers this weekend so hopefully I'll remember my camera and get some photos taken. I had a lovely lady on a course a couple of weeks ago, Pearl. She was a joy. Pearl came into the studio when one of the other units was closed, liked what she saw, booked a course and is now a fully fledged enameller. She's got herself a kiln and has been back to show me some of the things she's made and I have to say the colours are beautiful, she's done a great job. She's even got some of the chaps who work for her making enamelled tools. We had such a laugh on the course, she is very bubbly and the oo's and aah's she made when something she'd done turned out nice was just brilliant. I can't wait to see some more of her creations. Pearl made it a great day.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Guild of Enamellers Conference 2009

Well what an awe inspiring weekend I had in York at the Guild of Enamellers Conference. It was my first time at conference and everyone was just so friendly and happy to share their ideas and tips, it was wonderful. I have always said I am only just touching the surface when it comes to enamelling and despite the fact that there was so much exquisite work being exhibited it was heartwarming to know that those I thought had created fantastic pieces said the same thing of someone else and that they too were only touching the surface. I guess it doesn't really matter at what level you are just as long as you have a passion about doing something you love. Here are a few pictures of the weekend.
This beautiful fountain, with 4 horses in the centre and water cascading around them greeted us.
Thorpe Underwood Estate, York is a residential school but accommodation and function rooms are let during school holidays. It was a beautiful estate and we stayed in dormitories which were excellent, microwaves, dishwashers, televisions to name but a few of the things in the rooms. There was a lot of equestrian facilities behind the accommodation block too.
The accommodation block we stayed in is just behind the fountain on the next picture, the door was just to the left of the tree but we had to walk right to the end of the long corridor for our dorms.
The following pics are of the tutorial we did with Sarah Macrae in Developing Design Techniques. I say we, as I travelled to York with Linda. Linda did a beginners enamelling course with me last year and I was so glad when she said she was going to conference so we travelled up together and really did have a great time. I think the only thing missing was the midnight feasts in the dorm (lol)
This is Linda working on her designs and cutting out a leaf form in silver foil.

This is a pic of my designs and me cutting out heart shapes. The first drawing was a section of a picture, the second was a section enlarged, the third was just the shape of the zigzag bit enlarged. I then looked at this one through a mirror which revealed heart shapes and I drew what I saw. I cut out hearts in silver foil, wrapped them in wire and then stuck them onto card and introduced colour.

This is the picture of the hearts and the finished result. Hopefully I will be able to incorporate this into my enamelling.

Linda and I were shattered by the end of the week but we were totally inspired by some of the work we saw and here is just a small sample. Needless to say I'd like to go back next year. (Pics will follow but it's late now)

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Happily Crafting

It's been a nice week at the unit, although not very busy but I have been happily crafting. I have managed to get a few things done though and have been working on a pendant and earrings for a customer whose daughter is going to a prom. I was really touched when she said she wanted me to make something special for her as she knew no one else would have the same piece of jewellery on and it would match her dress.
I've also been busy cutting some shapes out, I'm trying to do the tragedy masks and my arms are aching after cutting out the design, or rather part of it yesterday. I'll get some pics up as soon as possible.
I'm off to the Enamel Guild conference at the weekend so will tell you all about it when I get back.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

New friends

I had a lovely surprise today when Nicky came to visit the studio. It was the first time we had met but it was like meeting an old friend and very soon we were talking about the Lord, about our families and the hours just seemed to fly by. I even got to show her some enamelling. Thank you for making it a special day Nicky. Hope to see you soon.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Silver Art Clay

What do you get if you mix silver particles, water and a binder - silver art clay. What a wonderful invention and it is fab to work with. You just roll out the clay and mould it to your desired shape, cut it out, dry it, fire it in the kiln, cool it, brush it and wow a piece of silver 99% pure silver.

Rachel and I had a fab day yesterday using the clay as I've introduced courses at the studio. It's only the second one I've done but it really is fab to work with this material.
Ann and Gaynor came and did a course a couple of months ago and they loved every minute of it. Bearing in mind it was their first time working with the clay I think they did pretty good. Here are some pics of their work.
Ann made an owl from the silver clay and she was really pleased at how it turned out.

Ann and Gaynor at work, cleaning the silver after it had come out of the kiln.

Some of the work Ann and Gaynor did.
We used some silver paste and painted it on the back of some leaves and they looked really good with the very fine veins showing up really well.
We enamelled 2 of the pieces but I don't think you can see the colours very well on the photograph.
Hopefully I can introduce it more and more and include it in a mixed media session with the enamelling.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Green Pasture

I enamelled this little wall plaque a few weeks ago. I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with it, whether to frame it or put it onto a piece of wood. A lady came into the shop, loved it and bought it to stand on the beams in her kitchen.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Enamelled feather

Thought you might like to see what I've been working on. I found a feather in one of my craft boxes, drew it then cut it out of copper foil and enamelled it. I was really pleased with the result, it's the first time i've done anything like this before. I nearly ruined it though as I was showing someone and then dropped it. Thankfully it didn't crack apart from a very small piece of enamel on the reverse side where it had hit the floor. I popped it back in the kiln and it seems as good as new.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Buttons and pendant designs

While I was blogging I thought I'd share a few pics with you. These are some enamelled buttons I made, not the best picture I must say but the buttons looked really nice when I'd finished them.

These pendants are designs I did based on the work of Gustav Klimt. The one on the right wasn't quite finished. I painted this one with enamel overglaze paints after it had a base coat fired onto it a couple of times and then I re fired it several more times to get the colours right.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Element fixed

Well here we are into February already. I got my element fixed in the kiln - it was quite amazing. A chap had been on a course a few months ago and he popped in with his wife and grandson to pick up a few enamels. He's worked with kilns and when I told him about mine was only to happy to lend a hand and put the element in for me. He was a God send as I was wondering how I'd manage to do it, I didn't want to do anymore damage which is probably what I would have done. It's been one of those weeks. Read about it on my daily blog and you'll understand what I mean. I had 5 lovely ladies in this morning making pendants. They were such fun and enjoyed every minute of it. Pics will be coming soon. I've gained some shelves off someone that was throwing theirs out, really good condition so I've had a move round and hopefully later in the year will be able to get a good run of work surface. I've only been in the unit 11 months but it's taking shape. It's fairly quiet up at the craft centre and with the snow we've had I think it's been quieter during the week. Hopefully it will pick up when the warmer weather gets here.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Kiln trouble

I had a lovely workshop on Saturday with 3 lovely people, Lynne, Andrew and Val. They were such fun and they made some lovely pieces of jewellery. I took photos on my mobile and must try and work out how to get them straight onto my computer without having to put them onto a disk first.
We got halfway through the course and then almost a catastrophe - the temperature of the kiln suddenly dropped and it just wouldn't heat up again. Thankfully I had another kiln which didn't take long to heat up and we managed to finish the course, albeit a little late. Lynne had to drive all the way back to Huddersfield which must have been tiring for her.
Well it turned out that the element has gone on the kiln. I've ordered another one from my supplier who assures me it is easy to fit (I am not an engineer but how hard can it be - we shall see) and hopefully it will be here in the next couple of day.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

2009 - my creative year

It was busy with the run up to Christmas and I just didn't seem to have time to blog and here we are now firmly settled into 2009. I've decided this is my year to be creative and to break free of my safety zone of just doing jewellery. I'm going to try different things this year and will hopefully find the time to post some pics too. I've just finished what is meant to be an enamelled feather. I had a lovely turquoise feather in one of my boxes so I made a sketch and then cut the shape out of copper foil. I shaped the edges a little and then enamelled with several layers of transparent and opaque colours. It turned out better than I thought and hopefully I'll be able to put a pic up soon.
I've got several workshops running over the next month and am looking forward to going away to conference with the Guild of Enamellers in April. It's up in a York so should prove a lovely weekend.