In my last letter I was resisting the onset of winter, the dark nights and low temperatures of the previous two winters were still uncomfortably easy to remember. However, here in the North West at least, the season so far has been a mixed one with the wind making itself felt far more than Jack Frost. To those members who I know had property damaged some weeks ago, I hope both the insurance assessors and your builders have made life easier for you rather than harder. Thankfully the nights are slowly starting to lengthen and the cotoneaster outside the window has 5 Field fares busily guzzling the fruit in between arguing with each other over whose tree it is.

In an attempt to get what passes for sunlight at this time of the year we took a walk up to our local Art Gallery the Williamson in Birkenhead. On entering one of the rooms we came across a large, striking, abstract painting that on closer inspection turned out to be an enamel panel by Stefan Knapp. After a bit of research we discovered that Knapp was responsible for the largest mural ever produced in Paramus New Jersey and 17 enamel murals at Heathrow. There are more details about this fascinating artist on the Guild website with a link to a more detailed piece from Glass on Metal.

Preparations for our Annual Conference are well underway. As I write, our tutorial workshops are almost full and Liz and I are working hard contacting speakers, tutors, selectors and suppliers to finalise the programme details. I’d like to thank all members of the Executive Committee for their help this year but particularly Liz who puts in an enormous amount of time and effort ensuring that Conference runs smoothly. This will be Liz’s final year as Conference Secretary.

We also wave goodbye to Mary Ford who is stepping down as Awards and Selection Officer. Many of us have been cajoled, encouraged and gently bullied by Mary to enter our work for selection. Whilst it can be a daunting prospect to submit one’s work for scrutiny it is also a very valuable exercise. On behalf of the Executive Committee I would like to offer sincere thanks to both Liz and Mary for all their hard work during their time as Officers of the Guild and look forward to seeing them both in April.

Still on the subject of Conference our suppliers at Reaseheath will be slightly different this year. Please see the separate article in this Journal.

In addition to conference, the Guild is involved in a number of other events this year. Region 4 is running the Guild stand at the Hobbycrafts Show at the NEC 22nd -25th March. (See details on the Guild website).

We also have the exhibition at Whitby this summer. This is an excellent opportunity for members to show and sell work this year. The gallery is asking mainly for wall based pieces; however there will be display cases available for jewellery and small items such as bowls. There is no limit to the number of pieces that can be submitted or any restriction on size. Please see the extra article elsewhere in the Journal and the Guild website for details of submission dates, contact details etc.

Enamel Fusion will be running again in conjunction with Craft & Design Magazine during May. Please let Lynne Glazzard have any details of any classes you wish to have listed on Craft & Design’s website as soon as possible.

Art in Action takes place this year between Thursday 19th and Sunday 22nd July. Please let Lesley Miller know if you wish to assist at this event.

The website is continuing to develop. There is now a For Sale and Wanted section on the main menu. Please email any items to David Cowling our website editor: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This is my last letter as Chair but I look forward to catching up with everyone at Reaseheath and at Conferences to come. Many thanks to all those I’ve met on my roam around the regions this year for their hospitality, kind words and good humour.