The Guild of Enamellers yearly cycle culminates with the annual conference, a chance to meet members from across the UK (and beyond) and an opportunity to renew friendships established over the years. Conference is a unique event where enamellers, whether they are professional, teacher, hobbyist or enthusiast amateur, can meet to participate in and champion the craft of enamelling. For the executive committee, conference is the fruit of two years of planning; selecting and securing a venue, organising tutors, selectors and speakers, coordinating suppliers, and dealing with the unique practicalities of enamelling in conjunction with the conference venue. However conference is just one of the many activities that the Guild and its members participate in and the year ahead is full of opportunities to participate.

At a regional level the workshops and related activities encourage members to participate at a local level. Regional events are ideal occasions for member to develop their skills, explore new techniques, share their enamelling experiences and encourage grass roots participation. The  2013/2014 Guild regional events calendar is already well populated with innovative and diverse workshops where member participation is key to success. Media developed and distributed by Guild members such as the quarterly Journal, the library and the DVDs allows dissemination of the extensive technical knowledge and resources held by the Guild and its members, whilst the ever expanding website and Facebook pages allow members instant access and give the Guild outward visibility in an increasingly “mobile” world. All of these activities and resources enhance the
Guild’s ability to encourage and promote the craft of enamelling. However, they rely on member participation via contributions of articles, web posts, technical expertise, volunteering and attendance.

Guild members are instrumental in supporting public participation events such as Hobbycraft, Art in Action and Fusion Open Day, events that provide the Guild with opportunities to disseminate knowledge, demonstrate skills and interact with other similar organisations. Participation in exhibitions such as the Button Project, Heat is On in Whitby and the GOE exhibition in Ravenstein in Holland show the quality and diversity of enamelling produced by Guild members and again promote enamelling to a wider audience. The Bursary Award, supported by the Guild and its
sponsors, encourages young artists to specifically develop their enamelling skills and offers them unique participation opportunities to enhance their skills through mentoring and workshops, whilst the Young Enamellers award scheme has encouraged participation from younger members. By nurturing these new generations of enamellers and encouraging their participation in Guild activities we are securing the future of the Guild.

As I embark on my year as Chair, I am looking forward to participating and engaging with Guild members across the country and hopefully getting a chance to share some enamelling at the regional workshops. This year I hope Guild members will be inspired to volunteer for the Guild- supported public events such as Hobbycraft, Art in Action and Fusion and that members will consider submitting work for the planned joint exhibition with the British Society of Enamellers. I am honoured to be guiding the Guild through its diverse range of activities in 2013/2014, activities which culminate in Leicester for Conference 2014. But please remember that whilst conference may be the culmination of the Guild’s year, the year ahead is full of opportunities to participate (fill details of all these activities are posted regularly on the Guild website and in the Journal).

So on that thought let’s all participate in the diverse and unique opportunities that the Guild has to offer, let’s get enamelling and let’s get
enamelling out there.

What a great turnout for our A4 panels workshop at M&CT in St. Helens on Saturday. Our chair Julie Rattray was visiting too along with several other members from both Regions 1 and 2 and Region 4.

On 26th October we'll be back at the factory again for our next workshop: High Firing with Jill Leventon.

Lots more photos on facebook

 

 

 

 

 

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This will be my final letter as Chair and I’d like to start by saying how privileged I feel to have been given this opportunity and grateful for the encouragement to ‘give it a go’ when I was unsure whether to take up the role. I have learnt so much about the running of the Guild and the hard work that goes on behind the scenes for us all by the executive committee members on a voluntary basis. I’d like to send each and every one of them a huge ‘Thank-you’ on behalf of us all.

The Guild has given me the opportunity to learn about the wide range of enamelling skills and to try my hand at techniques I would never have heard of without the skilled and generous workshop leaders I have been lucky enough to learn from over the years at region meetings and conference. These tutors share their time and knowledge freely in support of the Guild and its members so I believe another big ‘Thank-you’ to them is in order.

As I write this we are putting the final touches to the Guild’s annual conference weekend (5th-7th April) at Thorpe Underwood Estate in York. I’d like to thank members for their tremendous support regarding this year’s conference. I am sorry to those of you who were disappointed at not getting a place on the workshop they requested. We had so much interest, many workshops were full by 2nd January and all tutors agreed to have more people in their workshops to try to cope with the demand – thanks to them for being so accommodating. Don’t forget to enter your pieces in the exhibition (you are not required to attend conference to enter pieces) especially for the themed award ‘All the fun of the fair’.

Pre-ordering from the suppliers attending conference will ensure they bring what you require as they will have limited stock carried with them. Many suppliers are only attending on the Saturday, please see your conference pack for details. If you are interested in applying for selection at next year’s conference I suggest you contact Ruby Tomes sooner rather than later as there are limited places and I believe she already has a few names on her list.

There are several forthcoming events the Guild is represented at this year including the Hobbycrafts Show at Birmingham NEC (March 21st -24th) and Art in Action near Oxford (July 18th -21st). I believe a full list is displayed on our website. Please let Lesley Miller know if you would like to assist at Art in Action; I would heartily recommend you do as I had a fantastic time both years I helped out.

My final thanks to all of you who have made my time as Chair so enjoyable. To the executive committee for their support and encouragement, to the members for their warm welcomes as I travelled around many of the regions and a special thank you to Jane Sheppard (conference secretary) for all she has done through the whole conference organisation on a steep learning curve for us both. I look forward to meeting up with old and new friends in York and hope I will be able to make the occasional visit to other regional meetings in the future.