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.


I’m thrilled and honoured to take on the role of this year’s Chairman, and am currently still reeling with the excitement of our recent conference held at Nottingham University. It was such an amazing experience to witness the wealth of talent and enthusiasm of our members. Those of you who were fortunate to attend will now be aware that I am not much of a public speaker, so it’s good to get this opportunity to thank everyone for their kind support, and to let you all know that I shall do my best in the coming year to promote our Guild and to meet as many of you as possible.
I started out as a jewellery student in weekly Adult Education classes back in the late 80’s, when the crèche facility at my local centre offered a bit of welcome “me-time” and an escape from children and housework! Now, after twenty-odd years of studying, I am still passionate about my craft and lucky enough to have benefited from tuition with Monica Larkin and Bonnie Macintosh. I began teaching enamelling several years ago, and now work at three different centres in the South East London area. It’s been an interesting experience to be both student and teacher for many years, and I feel I owe a lot to the old Adult Education system, which now appears to be in sad decline due to funding and bureaucracy difficulties.
I was introduced to the Guild by Monica, and became a member about eight years ago. It was great to discover a source of so much talent and friendly experience, active and enthusiastic, right on my doorstep! I was immediately made to feel so welcome, and enjoyed my region’s workshops and of course the annual conferences. I became the region 7 rep in 2005, roundabout the time I studied for my City & Guilds under Bonnie, and feel the Guild has always been such a helpful, welcoming group. In 2008, I finally plucked up the courage to enter my work for selection at the Leicester conference. I was truly elated to be awarded Craftsman status, along with the Maureen Carswell award.
As regional rep I have witnessed the steady increase in membership, along with a decline in local education courses. Contemporary use of enamels has generated interest from a younger audience, who must now rely on organisations such as our Guild to supply information and training. I think it’s wonderful that we have taken this on board and encourage younger talent with such concepts as the bursary scheme and the new Judith Harris Young People’s Award. So it is with great fondness and trepidation that I take up the Chairman’s reins, and hope that I am able to offer my experience in education to the benefit of the Guild in the coming year.


I am honoured and excited to take on the role of Chairman for the forthcoming year. For those of you who don’t know me I joined the Guild when I began enamelling in the summer of 1998, having bought my kiln and starter kit by mail order. At my first conference at York in 1999 I was rash enough to enter for selection, gained Associate level and won the Hans Theilade award. More importantly the first people I met were Dorothy, Veronica Matthew, Margaret Taylor and May Yarker who welcomed, encouraged and took great care of me. I volunteered to become librarian which not only gave me instant access to the wealth of inspiring information the library holds but also brought me into contact via the telephone with a wider network of members as they phoned to request books and catalogues. I could not have guessed at the impact these early steps would have on my life, leading eventually to a complete change in career. I am currently artist in residence at Whitby Museum and every day throws up interesting and exciting challenges.
Our AGM and conference this year took place at the Thorpe Underwood Estate near York and marked the Guild’s 30th year. I hope everyone who attended enjoyed the event and must thank the team for all their hard work in organising it, with particular thanks to Liz and Rachel. We had a fantastic group of tutors and speakers and I enjoyed seeing the inspiring work produced by members both at the workshops and for the exhibitions. I was particularly impressed by the work of Michael Cartwright aged 12, I think probably our youngest exhibitor at a Guild conference. He is a student of Tilly Wilkinson who has been enthusiastically nurturing some potential younger members and was one of three members gaining Craftsman status at selection this year. The other two were Joy Funnell and Gillie Hoyte Byrom. Congratulations to you all and thank you to all who entered for selection. It takes a great deal of hard work and commitment but selection is an important part of the role of the Guild in raising the standard of enamelling. I hope I can encourage you all to have a go, even if only for the challenge of producing your best work yet. Gillie Hoyte Byrom has also worked hard developing the bursary scheme and I must welcome our first official joint sponsors of the bursary, Craft & Design Magazine and W G Ball Ltd. 
The Guild continues to go from strength to strength thanks to the hard work and enthusiasm of its members, particularly within the regions. I am pleased to welcome Glyn Mitchell as the first regional representative for Jersey and the Channel Islands. Joy Funnell and I will be joining Glyn for the Art Clay Guild conference later this year, where Joy and I will both be tutors. It will be a great opportunity to promote the Guild’s activities and hopefully meet some of our newest region’s members. By the time this goes to print I will have had a weekend in Edinburgh where Dorothy and I have been invited to run an enamelling workshop for the Scottish region of the Art Clay Guild. It is interesting how beneficial links and overlaps with related organisations can be. It is through the Art Clay Guild that I met Mr Toshihide Ueeda, a Director of the Japan Enamelling Artist Association, who I have invited to be one of the tutors at next year’s conference. I am hoping that he will also be able to bring a selection of their members work to exhibit during the conference. He will be just one of an exciting line up for the conference that will take place at Nottingham University.
Looking ahead, I hope to visit some of the regions in what is becoming a bit of a tradition for the Chair. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible over the coming year. I think one of the great strengths of our Guild is the wide variety of people who form its membership; the fact that it is all inclusive and that everyone is so generous in sharing their skills, ideas and time in promoting our craft. You can be sure I will be enjoying myself this year and persuading as many people as I can to have a go at enamelling, I know how addictive it is. If any of you venture up to North Yorkshire then don’t forget to get in touch and I will be happy to show you whatever odd things I am working on or even give you a tour of Whitby Museum. Anyway, until next time, I hope you all have a happy and productive summer. Long may our Guild flourish and continue to encourage us all.


It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I take on the role of Chairman in another celebratory year for us, marking thirty years of the Guild. Our current efforts to promote and enjoy enamelling go from strength to strength with the continued development of our website, our superb DVD’s, our active Regions and of course our enviable Conference.
Our AGM and Conference in Leicester this year was no exception! A resounding success with excellent facilities and a stimulating selection of workshops, Speakers and a real thought provoking Master Class (I hope all of you who attended are getting plenty of drawing practice in every day!!). As ever it was a fantastic team effort from all concerned, but special thanks must go to Carol Griffin for her vision and realisation of the weekend and to Liz Gilliland, our new Conference Secretary, who did a brilliant job in her first year.
This years Conference also opened our doors to several guests in related enamel organisations within the UK, who were invited to view our Exhibition, workshops and stay for dinner on the Saturday evening. These included Hilary Bolton, Chairman of the British Society of Enamellers, Chris Taylor and his wife, Past Chairman of the Institute of Vitreous Enamellers and David Gatrell from A J Wells, who is also a member of the IVE. Their response to the Guild exceeded our expectations, they were all extremely impressed with all that they saw and we hope to further our associations with all of them in the coming year.   
Our Bursary scheme brought another new face to Conference, Lucy Irvine a recent graduate from Dundee College of Art. Lucy was an asset to the weekend, helping out in two of the workshops and winning a Merit Award for her work in the main Exhibition. The Guild, through Gillie Hoyte Byrom’s hard work, is currently developing the scheme with a more formal application and selection process, with the aim of encouraging more enamelling students to apply and be made aware of our existence via our website.
Indeed, the only complaint of our weekend at Leicester was that there wasn’t enough time! It was a very fulfilling weekend for all who attended. It was also Joan Bolton King’s last year as Selection Secretary and, in recognition of her long service and commitment to the Guild, she was presented with Honorary Membership at the AGM.
Looking ahead next year’s Conference returns to York, but in a brand new venue, The Thorpe Underwood Estate, over the weekend of 17 –19 April 2009. Due to the high demand for places in the last couple of years, we are anticipating putting on an additional workshop at the York Conference, to allow more members to join in our anniversary celebrations. Look out for full details, which will be listed in the Journal in due course.
Over the next twelve months I will be encouraging and promoting the craft of enamelling and the work of all our members on all levels. I will be visiting the Regions, attending as many of your meetings as possible. I am looking forward to seeing those of you who can’t always make it to Conference and finding out what you all get up to throughout the year! I will be supporting the continued development of our website. All members, new and existing can now subscribe online and purchase our DVD’s online. We have many links from our site to other enamellers and enamel groups, so if you haven’t visited it recently, why not click on today, www.guildofenamellers.org. Our website team have lots of ideas to ensure we are kept informed and updated on news about the Guild, Courses Regional Activities and any other related enamelling news nationally. I will also continue to encourage our links with other related organisations. We now have a reciprocal membership with the IVE and we are looking at other ways to share knowledge, skills and experiences with the potential to benefit us all.
I feel this is a very exciting time for the Guild as we move forward developing and expanding the ways we achieve our objectives, which is only possible as a result of all our achievements over the last thirty years. I am delighted to be part of such a motivated organisation and I am looking forward to representing and promoting the Guild at every opportunity during my year as Chairman.

This will be my last letter from the Chair and the year has just flown. By the time you read this I hope we will have some spring sunshine. It seems to have been a hard winter with the most snow I remember since I moved to Glaisdale 12 years ago. There have been traces of snow here continuously since before Christmas and it is now well into February. This winter though I have enjoyed the sharply graphic patterns the snow has created and have taken lots of photographs of tracks and of frozen plants and trees. It has provided plenty of ideas for new work. Will it give you a bit of inspiration for your piece for the ‘pearl’ themed exhibition at conference?
I am looking forward to conference. I know now just how much hard work goes on behind the scenes to pull it all together.  My thanks go to Liz in particular. She deals with all the planning of rooms, tutors, the enquiries and bookings, and I know that putting the information pack together takes a huge amount of work. The thing I look forward to the most is meeting up with old friends and making new ones. I have always enjoyed the friendly exchange of ideas and the encouragement given by the more experienced members. I love that the less experienced members can share ideas with the experts and that everyone learns from this.
As well as conference there are a number of other events on the horizon. I following weekend I will be running two workshops at the Flame Off at Towcester racecourse, a great chance to introduce enamel to a new audience. Lesley Miller is organising workshops at Art in Action from 15th to 18th July. Please contact her if you plan to go to the event and can offer to help either assisting at one of the enamelling sessions are on the Guild stand talking to visitors and giving them information. Of course if you are doing any shows during the year it is a great opportunity to publicise the Guild and you can also advertise the events on the Guild website.
I am just putting the finishing touches to the plan for a jewellery exhibition at Whitby Museum.   It will show historic pieces from places such as the Pacific islands; Africa; Asia and of course jet from Whitby. It will attempt to put some of these pieces into context. There will also be a few of the pieces I have made during my residency in 2009. I have learned a huge amount while selecting and researching the chosen artefacts and the range of materials used to make the selected pieces is vast. There will be jewellery incorporating hair, bone and shells, through to silver, enamel and jet. The exhibition opens 30th March and runs until mid-June (entry to the museum is £3.50 and it is closed Mondays). Get in touch if you are planning to visit and I will try and meet up with you. If you can’t make it then I hope to meet with you at some other event. In the meantime, enjoy experimenting and happy enamelling!