As we wind down after Christmas, our thoughts turn to this year’s conference which will be held at the University of Kent in Canterbury, 15th – 17th April 2011. Please remember that this is the weekend before Easter. We will be based in three blocks, all near to one another. One will house standard accommodation, one en-suite accommodation and the third will house all our weekend activities, including meals, workshops, talks, library, exhibitions and suppliers.
It promises to be an exciting event, with workshop tutorials covering a wide range of subject areas. Bonnie Mackintosh will be exploring the use of silver foil with craft punches, suitable for all abilities; Joy Funnell will be introducing a new technique she has developed with Art Clay silver which lends itself to the use of enamel; Sheila McDonald will be using textiles as a source of inspiration for introducing layering and texturing to enamel; Phil Barnes and Harry Forster-Stringer will be running a joint engraving workshop, using both Gravermax and traditional hand techniques, suitable for those who have a basic knowledge of engraving; Carol Griffin will be creating enamelled pieces for the garden using copper shim in a 3 dimensional way; Tamar de Vries Winter will be using photographic transfers to print on enamel. Further details of all these workshops are included in this journal, and please remember to book early as they fill up very quickly!
The weekend will kick off with a fun session of Art Attack, with art teacher/jeweller Lizzie Howe, who will show us how to use coloured acetates to construct a unique kaleidoscope. After dinner and the AGM, Phil Barnes has promised to entertain us with a short talk about his work. On Saturday we will be busy with our workshops for most of the day with an opportunity for feedback before dinner. In the evening, Jinks McGrath will be giving a talk entitled “Jewellery Travels” about her teaching abroad. On Sunday, the Awards ceremony will be followed by a Master Class with Fred Rich entitled “still soldering on”, where he will share his secrets about how he produces his amazing cloisonné pieces.
You will have the opportunity to purchase materials and equipment from a wide range of suppliers, including enamels from WG Ball, Thompsons and Vitrum Signum, tools and equipment from Walsh’s and Art Clay from Joy and Glyn. Most suppliers will be happy to bring pre-ordered items to conference for you to collect, thereby saving postage costs – don’t forget to order in plenty of time. The Guild’s own DVDs and videos will be available to purchase, and the library with its extensive collection of books and DVDs will be there for you to browse and borrow.
One of my personal favourite activities at conference is the exhibition, which is open throughout the weekend. All members are warmly encouraged to participate, and I always find the great range of techniques and ideas truly inspirational. Please don’t be shy, and do bring something along, even if you are a complete novice! This year’s themed exhibition is “Tea” (or “T”!) so I look forward to viewing your interpretations! I would also like to encourage those of you who have not already done so, to consider submitting your work for selection. It’s a great opportunity to have your work assessed by expert craftsmen and can be a real help in focussing your efforts. Although daunting, I found the experience very rewarding, and the selection team were very supportive throughout Mary Ford (selection secretary) has included information about the process in this journal.
I have found this a very busy time now I have embarked upon my final year of teacher training. It has been challenging to produce 2000 word assignments when the most written work I normally manage amounts to the weekly shopping list (come to think of it, with four hungry kids, husband and dog, even that can seem like a dissertation these days!). But I bravely struggle on, and hope to become fully qualified this summer. Meanwhile, my classes at adult education centres and at a retirement home are thriving, and it is good to know that I will be more adept at passing on the knowledge and skills of my craft. I have also enjoyed visiting some of our regions. In September, I took a trip to the Region 4 meeting in Shrewsbury, and was treated to a talk given by our Kathleen Kay about how she combines mixed media with enamel. It was great to see Kath in action, and lovely to meet up with the regional members.
In October, I braved the journey north, and enjoyed the hospitality of Regions 1 & 2 at their Edinburgh weekend, where Raymond Jackson disclosed the secrets of simultaneously etching and plating copper. Dorothy’s evening meal was attended by over twenty members, and her pasta was delicious!
I have been struck by how friendly and welcoming our guild is, and would encourage you all to try the occasional workshop at a different region. Regional activities are listed towards the back of each journal, and I can guarantee that you will enjoy meeting with like-minded, friendly members. My thanks go to all members of regions 1, 2 and 4 and I look forward to more visiting in the New Year! All the best and happy enamelling,
I'd like to encourage all members to consider submitting work for the forthcoming Ravenstein exhibition in Holland. This is a unique opportunity to show your talents, and I'd like to thank all those involved in the organisation of this event, particularly Tilly Wilkinson, Lynne Glazzard, Lesley Miller and Ellen Goldman. Further details are included in this journal.