Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Visual Thinker

So I do feel that being a visual thinker is a curse. Look at the state of my work space?

I confess that I am an endless collector, I gather things wherever I go, teeny treasures that spark ideas. They then are laid out in readiness, for that stolen moment when I am not working on orders, to be made into something lovely.

But I never actually get time to finish anything.

So as a kind of confession/New Year resolution, my promise to myself is to finish things. I will push new ideas to completion and I will organise my thoughts by organising my workspace.

This isn't even my jewellery bench, it is an extension I built because my workbench was overflowing with pre-christmas making.

So, I am back making after a wee break, I am stealing some moments before teaching re-commences next week and I am going to make some of these idea happen.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

My work on a book cover!

A very exciting opportunity has come my way. I was recently approached by Tupelo Press, an American publishing company, and asked if an image of a piece of my textiles could be used on the cover of one of their books. They selected 'Little Stitches', featured in a previous blog post to use on a book of poetry by Jennifer Millitello to be published in spring. 

What a lovely adventure for the new year ahead. Happy New Year everyone, I do love the anticipation and invigoration of a fresh new year, so much to explore.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Saltaire Makers Fair

I've just returned from a wonderful weekend at Saltaire Maker's Fair and am feeling humbled and incredibly lucky. Such a beautiful location, in Victoria Hall, part of the world heritage Saltaire Village, built by the visionary Titus Salt to house workers from Salt's Mill. Architecturally magnificent, the hall is a pocket of quiet splendour, with huge windows illuminating the space, it felt like a real treat to be part of such a special event.

I met the loveliest people, so generous with praise and insightful comments on my jewellery and display, people really took time to look and talk to me about my pieces. I was dazzled by the number of people who knew my work, recognising it after seeing it elsewhere or had bought pieces from galleries. I was also fortunate to meet people who follow my blog and Facebook page, and I even had a nudge from a very lovely lady who reminded me I haven't posted anything on here for a while! Posting things online can seem very remote and detached so it was heartwarming to think people do actually follow what I write.

The other lovely thing was the number of people who asked if I deliver workshops or teach classes, there seems to be a lot of people keen to learn making techniques. I do teach, I taught adult and community classes in Leeds before moving to Manchester, and have been teaching in a Sixth Form college for around 12 years. I believe passionately in sharing traditional craft skills, there is such value in time spent making, using your own hands and being absorbed in focused activity. I would love to look towards teaching adults again, there is a wonderful exchange in working with people who enjoy learning or who already make using other processes, and I find I learn as much from them as they do from me.

I used the natural objects that adorn my home studio and inspire my work as part of my display.  It was rewarding to hear people make connections between the shapes and patterns in the seed pods, acorn cups and lichen twigs, and the details they could see in my jewellery. People also shared valuable botanical knowledge about some of the more obscure seed pods I have, which has made me eager to get out and about and learn more.

My other exciting news is that whilst I was at the fair I learnt that I have been selected to take part in the Christmas fair at The Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, another award winning architectural splendour, I can't wait! Saturday 5th December 2015, I'll see you there!

Saturday, 13 June 2015


Spotted these beautiful old table tops recently and was particularly drawn to the circles of wood put in, I assume, to replace knots. Something about the way the woodgrain was interrupted, the way the lines change direction, really appealed to me. Imagine how many elbows have rested on these surfaces? What work was done at these tables before they were re-purposed in a London coffee shop?

Monday, 4 May 2015

Making, making, making

There are times of year when I have deadlines galore and there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. I am in the midst of that just now, but am very happy to say that I'm on a roll! I have had 3 lovely galleries to supply within a 3 week period, so have been making loads of new jewellery. These are a few of the pieces I have made, I absolutely love making bangles so there are quite a few of those!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

British Craft Trade Fair 2015

I've just returned from the British Craft Trade Fair 2015, after 3 days spent amongst lovely people. It was my sixth time at the prestigious fair, which celebrates the best of handmade applied arts, incorporating jewellery, ceramics, textiles, glass, paper and a range of mixed media. The BCTF gives British makers the opportunity to show their work to a wide variety of galleries, museums and retailers. The thing I love the most is how friendly the event is, with generous support and advice from other makers and precious feedback from influential professionals. It is incredibly inspiring to be amidst such creative, skilled and knowledgeable people and I always leave feeling invigorated and motivated.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Patchwork and print

Alongside making in silver and copper, I always sew. These are some ongoing pieces I've been working on, exploring colour and pattern through dying, print and stitch.

In the back of my mind I'm always playing with ideas to combine metal and fabrics in wearable pieces. My plan is to launch a new collection at the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate in a few weeks. I will post pictures on here when my plan comes together!

These pieces are quite small, perhaps 12cm x 12cm. My dream is to go even smaller.

The print is done with hand-cut stencils, found objects as well as pattern cards from knitting machines which give perfect rows of teeny dots.

The fabrics are mainly natural, including linens, cotton, calico and muslin as they hold the colour well.

I wanted to see what happened on a larger scale, just for a change, so the long pieces below are around 80cm long, which for me is enormous! I am more used to working in millimetres when making jewellery, so the surface area in these would take me a lifetime to embellish. I see them all as ongoing projects and so will keep working into them whenever I can.