Well I hope you’re all booking 28th – 30th March 2008, ready for our conference at Leicester. We will be in a brand new part of the university, with everything very close to hand, and all workshops in one building. All accommodation is new, single ensuite, in blocks of 3-5 with central kitchen area - lift to all floors. I am very excited about our tutors and workshops, as there is something for everyone, whatever your ability or knowledge. From Wet Laying and Colour Mixing with Jane Short; use of a Thermal Imager to produce fine Riso screens with Pat Johnson; Easy Etching with Penny Gildea; Press Forming & Texturing with Jill Leventon; and a chance to put last years Masterclass into practice with Polishing and Finishing with Rachel Gogerly. (Please book early to avoid disappointment, as some workshops are filled within a few days!)
 
On Friday evening, after the AGM, Ellen Goldman will be sharing some of her work and life with us, with an illustrated talk. Then on Saturday evening we will have the opportunity to see what’s been happening in all the various workshops with an exhibition of all work produced and a chance to find out how they did it! On Sunday the Master Class will be given by Sarah Macrae, a very experienced jeweller, teacher and writer, who will be showing us how to be creative on paper, developing ideas and designs for our own work – no excuses for weak sketch books after this class!
 
Don’t forget to bring your wallets too, as we have a wonderful range of suppliers, including beads from Marcia Lanyon, tools and equipment from H S Walsh, Art clay from Joy and Glyn, and enamels from W G Ball, Thompsons c/o John Goldman, and Vitrum Signum. Plus our own DVD’s and video’s for sale, including Rachel’s on polishing and finishing from last years Masterclass. (Most suppliers will be happy to bring pre-ordered items to conference for you, saving postage costs – don’t forget to order in plenty of time).
 
All you need to do now is get busy enamelling, so you can bring all your beautiful work with you to put in our exhibition. Don’t forget the theme Gillie chose for this years conference; ‘Size matters’. I shall look forward to seeing your results!
 
We may also have some visitors from the Institute of Vitreous Enamellers popping in to view our exhibition over the weekend, as I had the pleasure of attending their AGM in September as an invited guest by Chairman Chris Taylor, at the Black Country Museum, Dudley. After enjoying a canal boat ride into the caverns and tunnels under Dudley, (where my husband used to play as a child), we had a very interesting talk from John Ball and then a presentation by their president, Mike Collins, on new techniques of producing full colour digital images in enamel to a very high specification. This was followed by a visit to the archives below the museum where they held many enamel objects in store. If you see John Ball, ask him what he found out that day concerning a painted vase! It was interesting to see how enamel has been used over the years, in the home and in industry, and how well it has lasted - the museum was littered with enamel objects. Well worth a visit if you’re in the Midlands any time. Chatting with some of the IVE members, it was interesting that not all were aware of the more creative aspects of enamelling, so hence the invitation for them to see how ‘we do it’! Check out their website for more details, www.ive.org.uk
 
I have also enjoyed some wonderful visits to Regions 6 and 1, and look forward to meeting members at Region 7 in January. Please do support your local reps and meetings, they work very hard for your benefit and it’s so lovely to develop friendships and work in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
 
Finally, please don’t forget the new ‘Enamel Painting Award’, kindly presented by Gillie at last year’s conference. Also, I would like to add my rather late, but heartfelt congratulations to Gillie, Phil Barnes, Rachel Gogerly, Rachel Emmerson and Hali Baykov for their exceptional awards from Goldsmiths in 2007. It’s even more special that each of these folks have supported the Guild over the years, encouraging and teaching our members, so well done and thank you for your continuing generosity.