Each artist may submit ONE button only for the display.
We are looking for a special, showcase button that demonstrates your art and skill.
You may wish to explore ideas of silk, Macclesfield, Metamorphosis (the Barnaby theme), heritage, skills, among others.  We are looking for something that will be different from the other buttons in the show.
The button can be up to 1.5 - 3 cm wide x 1.5 - 3 cm high x 3cm thickness and can be made from any reasonably durable and safe-to-handle material.  They don’t have to be round.
The button must be functional as a button.
The button must have a loop on the back or 2 or more holes in the button itself to enable it to be fixed to a backing cloth.


Who can take part?

The Button Project is open to artists, designers, makers and craftspeople. All buttons received by the date below will be exhibited.


A highly engaging display for press and public alike

The Buttons will make a stunning display. We already have promises of over 100, ranging from fabric and thread, plastics and wood, precious metals and glass.  The collective display will be to die for, and the individual buttons highly collectible.  Not to mention an engaging story for press and public alike.


Want to make more?

You may submit ONE button only for the display.  However, depending on your technique, some of you may find that it is more economical to make a set. You may submit up to three additional buttons as a set, to be sold separately. The price of each of these buttons must be the same as your single display button.



Deadline for receipt of expressions of interest: 4 March 2013 (but earlier if possible)

Delivery of Buttons to the Heritage Centre: 29 April - 4 May 2013

Deadline for receipt of photographs of buttons: 4 May 2013 (but don’t delay, send one as soon as you have it!)

Dates of show: 14 June – 8 August 2013

Opening event: Friday 14 June 6-9pm 2013

Collection of unsold work:  26-30 August 2013


Queen Ethelburga’s College, Thorpe Underwood Estate, York. Y026 9SS


For 2013 we are returning to Queen Ethelburga’s College near York, which some of you will remember from the 2009 conference. The college is about 6 miles east of the A 1(M) and 12 miles west of York. For those travelling by train we hope to organise a coach to and from York railway station.

Queen Ethelburga’s is a well equipped school with a mixture of old and modern buildings. All our bedrooms will be en-suite (shower) and are near to all other facilities. The rooms can be configured as either singles or doubles as required (but with no cost benefit for doubles). Towels and tea and coffee making facilities and fresh milk will be provided, but please bring your own toiletries, T bags, coffee etc. Hair dryers are wired in to all rooms so no need to pack them. There is ample parking at the edge of the school site and we have been assured that golf style buggies will be available to transport people and luggage from the parking to the main buildings.

The tutorials will be held in the science labs so that sinks and water will be available. Unfortunately there are no lifts to the labs, if this is a problem for any delegates we can arrange for at least one tutorial to be held on the ground floor. Please add a note about any mobility or access requirements when completing the application form. We are fortunate to have a good range of tutorial topics to choose from, thanks to the continued support of our excellent tutors.

The suppliers will be in the Phoenix centre adjoining the main school building, which is also where the exhibitions, master class and speaker meetings will be held, so everything is quite close by. Please do bring work along to the exhibitions both themed and general, it is so wonderful to see the amazing range of work people have been doing.

This is my first year as conference secretary, so it would be a great help if you could send applications as soon as you can, you also have more chance of getting your first choice of tutorial if prompt. If you have any queries please do call me on 01900 823095, if I am out please leave a number and a message and I will call you back. Alternatively contact me on e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in April.
Jane Sheppard, Conference Secretary


Workshops at the 2013 Conference:

Experimenting on Steel with Lesley Miller
Techniques such as sgraffito, stencilling, riso, cloisonné, stamps, etc. are all possible when working on steel, but the effects can sometimes be quite different.
We will use pre-enamelled steel with either just a ground coat which is a dull grey or with a coat of white enamel over the ground coat. Tiles measuring lOOmm square or 100 x 60mm will be available and we can also experiment with thinner, white enamelled steel. This is thin enough to be cut by hand if you want.
Steel gives a more stable base than copper, but you will not get the some of effects obtained by the copper showing through or affecting the colour of the enamels. However, you will be able to obtain a range of different effects, particularly by under firing. Transparent or opaque enamels can be used, leaded or unleaded and even gold or silver foils.

Grisaille with a Twist with Bonnie Mackintosh
‘Grisaille’ is a traditional enamelling technique (from the French, meaning ‘greyish’) in which veils of white painting enamel are built up over a dark ground to emphasise highlight and shadow, often to dramatic effect.
My own method of execution is non-traditional and can employ both wet and powdered enamels, painted, splattered, stencilled, sgraffitoed, and screen printed. Added materials (the ‘twist’) might include glass millefiori, powdered lustres and firescsale.
Not being a painter, my subject matter- like my methods — is non traditional, allowing for the maximum of ‘play’.
For the Conference tutorial, I will suggest a choice of ‘theme’ around which to base the day’s experimental enamelling, but that will remain my secret for now...

Riso Screens from Image to Enamel with Dorothy Cockrell
We will cover suitable images, making and mounting screens; suitable enamels and various ways of using them; trouble shooting and how to prevent problems. I will bring a laptop, scanner and laser printer as well as the Guild Thermofax so that we can make some screens in the workshop if desired, also my own stock of existing screens. Participants can experiment with using screens on any shape of flat copper or prepared steel blank (up to 4” square).

Wireless Cloisonné on Silver with Jane Short
I was lucky enough to spend 5 days in a small cloisonné enamel factory in Japan this spring and was briefly shown a piece of wireless cloisonné work in progress. In this technique high cloisonné wires are glued onto a pre-enamelled background, a thickly laid enamel is packed around the wires, which are then deftly removed before firing. We will spend our time in the workshop experimenting with this technique on a small scale on silver to see what possibilities this might open up.

Non-traditional Mark Making for Enamelling with Jessica Turrell
During the day Jessica will discuss and demonstrate a number of non traditional mark making and patterning techniques in the context of her own practice. These will include wet-pen and stamp application, layering and abrasion plus techniques for altering the surface of the underlying metal and how this affects the subsequent layers of enamel. During the day attendees will have the opportunity to create their own samples of the techniques demonstrated.

Enamel Painting with Keith Seldon
A short demonstration on how to prepare and enamel a plate/link ready for painting and then how to put down an outline and paint something of your choice.
I will have silver links enamelled white ready for painting. If you want a different colour to paint onto I will bring blank pairs for you to use, but let me know, and this will cut down the time for painting. Or bring something of yours already prepared.
I will show you how to paint the links, or your choice of item, but please try and keep it simple, and if not, be prepared to work quickly on the day. The process takes time and patience.


Time to get all your brightest enamels out and start working on your piece for the themed exhibition at this year's conference "All the fun of the fair"


David Alexander-Smith

The Funeral is Friday 16th November, 12.00 at City of London Crematorium

Many of us were aware that David, of Diatherm Vitrum Signum, was very ill and it was with great sadness that we learned of his death on 23rd October.

Together with his wife, Mo and daughter Rebecca he has been running Diatherm Vitrum Signum for many years and he has cheerfully given a great deal of time to helping the Guild in many ways. His expertise was mainly concerned with kilns, while Mo and Rebecca dealt with the enamelling side of the business.

We were so sorry that he was not well enough to join us as a guest, together with Mo, at our Conference last April. He was kind enough to do the electrical safety tests on our kilns at recent Conferences and he and Mo have always given a warm welcome to members visiting the works in North Chingford

I remember the first time I met them when they visited the Guild stand at a Hobbycrafts Show at the NEC. They were very modest and unassuming about their knowledge in the field of enamelling, but in spite to this they have managed to give enormous support and help to members of the Guild in many different ways.

We have all felt great sympathy for David in his sufferings as well as for the rest of his family and it was good to hear that they were with him when he died. We extend our deepest sympathy to Mo and the rest of the family in their loss and will all do our best to support them in the future.

Lesley Miller

BAGS AND BOXES by Anita Dakowski

Workshop by Linda Connelly

Guild Conference 14th April 2012. Reaseheath College, Nantwich, Cheshire.

MATERIALS: Copper shim and copper wire. Wet process enamels: flux and white. Enamels of own choice. Klyrfire, Pennybrite/Ajax cleaner. Flock and applicator (optional).

TOOLS:. Embossing tools (steel), ruler (steel), cutting mat, old thick soft material (blanket) to emboss on, old leather gloves (protect against sharp edges). Scissors: large and small. Marker for metal. Wooden pottery knife tool. Tweezers, sieves, paint brushes and and toothbrush. Water spray bottle. Paper towels for drying. Line patterns for inspiration or copying. Glass seed beads. Knitting or crochet hooks. Hole punch or darning needle in a cork. Tracing wheels for patterns.

DEMONSTRATION: Linda showed us examples of boxes and handbags she had made, providing an information sheet with two sheets of pre-printed patterns showing tried and tested box models.

For Boxes, Linda showed us how to make up our own designs, suggesting that if we do, best first make them up in card to make sure all pieces fit; advising that the lid should be 5% larger than the pattern, due to the expansion of copper and the addition of enamel to the surface.


For Handbags, front and back should be cut; with 3 gussets longer than the sides. Cut to size on the item. N.B. The mouth of the kiln must be large enough to take the Bag side-on with a little space to spare for maneuvering (this improves its strength in the kiln).

Linda then demonstrated marking out the copper through the paper pattern. By pressing hard with embossing tools you define the ends of the lines with dots. Then, accurately join up the dots with a marker so that all the parts to be cut out, as well as the folds, are clear. Cut the shim with the large scissors. Placing the copper on the piece of old blanket or thick soft material draw your design in the copper using the embossing tools. It can be worth experimenting with a small piece of shim and the different sized tools, to get the right sharpness of line for your design. Turn the shim over and emboss the other side, following the lines you have previously made, to get distinct marks. The embossing strengthens the shim.

Linda also showed us how to use a paper crimper to get a different effect. Using this method the copper becomes hard to work after passing the shim once through the crimper and needs annealing (heating the copper to a point in the kiln where it becomes soft once again). You can pass the shim through the paper crimper a second time at right angles to get a square pattern.


Once the embossing is complete turn in the corners and make folds in the shim. To create the sides of the top of the box, fold through 90. Make sure the corners are even and as tightly pressed together as possible. The sides and corners should be crisp and straight. Use the tweezers on the corners. Repeat for the bottom of the box. On pyramid form boxes it is necessary to sew a few stitches in copper wire into the sides, to hold them together. In this case it is easier to begin from the inside which means there are fewer stitches made from those difficult to get to areas!


They need sewing together. Put wrong sides together and overstitch. With the sides of the bag and the gusset together make holes with hole punch or needle-in-cork. First attach the bottom gusset by threading the copper wire through each hole, as if you were sewing but being careful not to pull the end through; just bend the wire at the ends rather than trying to knot it. Do not pull too hard; just secure the sides, as the enamel will hold the wire in place.


Choose firing stilt first as you won’t easily be able to handle the piece once the enamel is applied.

Clean the item using the toothbrush with cleaner, getting into corners and all crevasses, work from the inside out. Rinse well and dry with kitchen paper. Handle by edges to avoid getting finger marks on it.

Apply a thin coat of wet process enamel with a paint brush - either white or flux - making sure that the enamel is even on both sides. Water it down if necessary. Start from the inside,suggest white or coloured enamel for this; do not let the enamel puddle or you won’t get an even finish.Dry and enamel the outside. The aim is to cover both sides of metal to avoid getting firescale on bare metal. Before the flux was dry, we lightly sifted some transparent leaded jewellery flux through a small sieve which “held" the enamel better. We then dried the boxes on stilts or meshes, on top of the kiln. When dry they were fired at about 780- 800°C. for a few seconds. The second coat could be further wet process enamel or dry powder, applied after gumming the surface with mist from spray bottle containing water and a little gum. When this was dry the item was fired again.

When desired finish was arrived at, the final stage was to flock the inside. This was achieved by gumming the interior and using a flocking gun. Enclose all safely in a plastic bag and puff with flock via applicator.


We all decided to use Linda's pre-printed Box patterns due to the time constraints of the workshop. We found that it was most important to make sure the edges were as square and as sharp as possible.I found it was important not to emboss the bottom too heavily as it could result in the finished item not sitting evenly. On larger pieces this could be got around by making the bottom slightly concave so that the box sat on its edges. We used different enamels. Some used coloured wet process throughout; this gave a more solid look to the boxes. Some let them burn out which brought the oxides through and I covered mine with transparents which ended by giving a misty finish.


Anita Dakowski