I hope you are all charged up and prepared for conference! This is the Guild’s flagship event, and the schedule promises to be really exciting. As I write, the tutorial workshops are almost full and the final touches to the programme are being put into place. Before becoming Chairman, I had no idea of all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure the success and smooth running of the event. My thanks go to all members of the executive committee and in particular to Liz Gilliland who works so hard to coordinate the process.
 
Unfortunately, due to a family bereavement, I had to curtail my planned New Year visits around the regions, but I am still hoping to squeeze in a visit to Region 3 in the North West shortly. In the meantime, I look forward to meeting many of you at Canterbury. It is a great opportunity to display your work in the exhibition, so please do take part. I have always found it useful to have a topic on which to focus, and the themed exhibition is a good tool for this purpose. “T”, “tea” or indeed “tee” is open to many interpretations so it will be interesting to view the results of our creativity. Mary Ford, our selection secretary, has been busy organising the entries for the Guild’s selection work. We are fortunate to benefit from the hard work and expertise of this year’s panel of selectors - Keith Seldon, Sarah Macrae and Ruth Ball.
 
As the Guild’s main purpose is to promote the craft of enamelling, I can think of no better way than to display our work to as wide an audience as possible. We are fortunate to have been given several recent opportunities to do just this, one being the forthcoming exhibition at the Ravenstein Vlakglas museum in Holland. The Guild’s exhibition team has been working hard to make entry as simple and straightforward as possible, and Ellen Goldman has been keen to add incentive to visitors by way of offering workshop tuition at her studio. It promises to be a very exciting opportunity. Other exhibitions are currently under discussion including one in Japan and one a little closer to home in Whitby. Further information will follow when details are confirmed.
Lesley Miller coordinated Guild activities at the Creative Stitch and Hobbycraft show in Brighton last February and the Guild stand raised a great deal of interest. Region 7 members helped man the stall and to assist Lesley with “come & try” demonstrations throughout the weekend. I am always surprised to discover how many hobbyists have no idea what enamelling entails, and just how quick and easy it can be to get beautiful results.
 
To help further the public’s awareness of our craft, the executive committee are currently trying to organise an enamelling event to take place throughout May. We are hoping to run activities such as teaching and demonstrations at various locations along the lines of the Open Studios event. As I write, this project is in its infancy, but I hope to be able to give you more information at conference.
 
Lesley Miller is finalising the details for the Guild’s participation in the Art in Action craft fair event to take place in Oxford from 21st -24th July 2011. I enjoyed last year’s event so much that I have volunteered my services for the four day duration this year, so please pop by and say hello if you are visiting.
 
My teacher training course is now coming to an end and although I shall be glad of my certificate, I will be even happier to return my concentration to actually producing some enamelled pieces! I’ve learned that the correlation between increased paperwork and creative inspiration is inversely proportional (?) or something like that. I’ve found it extremely frustrating, particularly during my year as chairman, to be unable to find the time or the inclination to enjoy being arty, so the array of work at conference will be a real tonic.
 
I shall sign off with a big thank you to you all, particularly the executive team, for your kind support during my year as chairman. It has been a real privilege and a very enjoyable experience and has provided so many opportunities for friendship and wonderful creative ideas.
 
 
.

I am delighted to open this edition of our Journal with plenty of good news and excitement about the Guild’s activities and forthcoming events in this, our Pearl Anniversary Year! It is hard to believe that thirty years ago a small group of enamel enthusiasts in North Wales were discussing the possibilities of starting a local group, unaware at that stage of what would develop and that from their humble beginnings, the Guild as we know it today would emerge.
 
The flagship of all our events, Conference, is proving as popular as ever this year with all the workshops fully booked within a month of application forms being released, even with the addition of an extra tutorial. Members who would still like to attend the weekend in York without doing a workshop can participate in the AGM, Exhibitions Celebratory Dinner and Master Class and are very welcome. Please contact our Conference Secretary, Liz Gilliland for details.
 
Just before Christmas, I had lunch at the Goldsmiths’ Hall in London with the Chairmen of The Institute of Vitreous Enamellers and the British Society of Enamellers, with a view to establishing our common aims and to see if there were ways we could all work together on specific projects. It proved to be a very constructive meeting, and we all resolved to talk further over the subsequent months to develop our initial ideas. Creating links with other related groups has many benefits for the Guild raising our profile and reputation as the organisation to approach on any matters to do with enamelling.
 
Over the New Year I managed to fit in a trip to Istanbul for a week to escape the freezing cold conditions of the UK. Little did I know it was freezing cold in Istanbul too!! However, I find you never mind the snow when on holiday and Saint Sophia and the Blue Mosque looked just as magnificent framed by winter fuchsia pink skies at dusk and the Turkish baths seemed even more luxurious after being out in the cold all day! I particularly enjoyed the Spice Bazaar with all its colours and smells and as the clock was two hours ahead of UK time, we had the excuse to celebrate New Year twice in one evening! Some of you may have seen the article ‘Face of Craft’ in the Craft and Design Magazine Jan/Feb 2009 edition. It features me as the current Chairman of the Guild and gave me an opportunity to talk about the Guild, what we do, and how I became involved in enamelling. I have received a superb response as a result, including a student emailing me to say that the article has inspired her to use enamel in her final project!
 
The Jan/Feb 09 Crafts Magazine also featured an article about enamel with a review of the Playing with Fire Exhibition, (which is now showing at the Visual Arts Centre in Lincolnshire until 9th May). Thank you also to Alexandra Woolner for her review in the last Journal, I know many of you have been to see this exhibition and it has stimulated some interesting discussions about contemporary enamelling.
 
On Sunday, January 18th I drove to Harpenden to join members of Region 5 for their annual meal at the Glen Eagles Hotel. This was a very interesting and enjoyable lunch for me as I met with some long standing members who no longer go to Conference. I was able to get an insight to the region’s activities spanning back to 1978 as Joan Bolton King has kept scrapbooks of the region’s activities including exhibitions, workshop visits, invited guests and conference visits. Joan has kindly allowed me to borrow them and I will be taking them to this year’s Conference in York, so other members can view them too. It raises the question ‘have other regions kept records of their activities’ and if so, perhaps they could bring them to Conference too?
 
The last weekend of January hosted the executive sub committee website meeting, to review the progress and development of the Guilds new website, which is on target to go ‘live’ in April. The sub committee consists of our Web Master, Membership Officer, Editor, Past Chair and current Chairman. A demonstration of all the new features was given and matters of hosting, pricing and content were all discussed. It was all very exciting (once the wireless connections were eventually made to all the lap tops!). The main benefits to members once the site is up and running will be a better, faster updating site with more potential to expand, providing news and information about the Guild and enamelling. There will also be opportunities to submit articles in the future and all for less than were are currently paying on the existing site. My most sincere thanks goes to our Web Master, Tom Lundsten, along with Julia Riddington, Membership Officer, who have put in a huge amount of time into this development, which is essential for the future of the Guild. It was unanimously agreed that the Guild of Enamellers website is an additional benefit to our members, which will run in harmony with our much valued Journal, which will not be affected in any way by the website development.
 
I look forward to seeing many of you at Conference and sharing our Pearl Celebrations throughout the weekend. The Guild has much to be proud of, least of all our immense amount of energy and enthusiasm for our craft and the willingness to share our knowledge and experiences. It has been a privilege to be your Chairman this year I have had a great time! Thank you to all of you who I have met and worked with throughout the year, your kind words and continuing support has been brilliant!
 
.

 

Yet again, our conference was fully booked within a couple of weeks, so next year we will be looking at including an additional workshop to accommodate the increasing number of members who want to attend. I would like to remind members, that you are free to attend the AGM on Friday evening without having to attend the whole conference, but please do let our conference sec. know in advance.
I would also like to welcome the Institute of Vitreous Enamellers to our membership, and Chris Taylor (Past Chairman), who will be giving us a brief introduction to the IVE on Sat evening at conference. The Guild is now also a member of the IVE, so look out for more information in future journals. Other guests at conference include Hilary Bolton, Chairman of the BSOE (British Society of Enamellers). We have invited all members from both the IVE and BSOE to attend conference on Saturday afternoon to view our members’ exhibition and get to know the Guild a little more, by chatting to us and seeing what we do.
 
I appreciate not everyone is able to attend conference, so it’s been a pleasure to visit all the regions over the past year and meet the wider membership. I would encourage all members to support their regional reps in attending local meetings & workshops. It’s always find it so exciting to see how other members enamel, how they develop their work and challenge each other in order to solve problems. I usually come away from a region meeting, fired up and enthused ready to try something new! My thanks to all those involved with running a regional group, and making me feel so welcome.
 
I’m pleased to announce that we are soon to have Region 3 back on the map! Tilly Wilkinson has offered to start a group at Crosby, Liverpool, and would love to hear from any members local to that area, so please do get in touch with her and support this new venture. We are grateful to Shirley Gore who has offered to be our Hon. Guild Secretary, and Gillie Hoyte Byrom who will remain on the committee as Bursary Co-ordinator, details of which will follow later. My thanks go to Rachel Emmerson who has served the Guild as Secretary since 2005. I would also like to say a big thank you to Joan Bolton King, who steps down as Selection and Awards Secretary this year. Joan has always been a very loyal and hard working member of the Guild, meticulous in every aspect of her role. Mary Ford has kindly agreed to take over as A & S Sec. Joan is also looking for someone to take over as Region 5 rep, so if this could be you, please do get in touch with her. This year we are honoured to have Erika Speel, Bonnie Mackintosh and Maureen Carswell on the panel of selectors, so please let’s make the most of their time and expertise – contact Joan NOW, if you are thinking of entering for either Selection or the Hans Theilade Awards.
 
As part of the Guild’s commitment to promote and encourage the craft of enamelling, we aim to offer an annual bursary to enable someone (usually a student) to attend conference. This is normally financed through the ‘bursary raffle’. From next year we hope to encourage a wider selection of applicants from colleges/universities around the UK. Gillie will be researching and co-ordinating this new approach, which will require applicants to send images of their work and reasons why they would like to receive the bursary to the executive committee, who will then select an appropriate candidate. The successful candidate will receive an all expenses paid conference and a year’s free membership of the Guild. They will be expected to participate fully at conference, helping where required, exhibiting some of their own work, and writing an article for the journal at a later date. We hope to include this information on our website, so if you know of anyone or a college /university who may be interested in the bursary, please let Gillie know. We look forward to welcoming Lucy Irvine to our Leicester conference this year.
 
The Guild has also started a digital photographic archive, so we will have a good source of images for the journal and website. In order for this to be successful we need to have a certain amount of information about the piece taken, and a signed copyright disclaimer form to ensure we can legally use the images on the website and in Guild publications. If you are taking photos of enamel work, whether at conference, home or regional meetings, please ensure you make a note of the name of the maker, the title of the piece of work, materials and techniques used, approx size, date and place taken, and if it has won any awards. This really helps Tom and Emily, who are doing a great job in regularly updating the website, to acknowledge the maker and show accurate & interesting information alongside the images.
 
Lesley Miller and other Guild members have been busy again producing a second DVD for the Guild, which will be available at conference or direct from our website very soon. (Further details can be found in this journal.) Our huge thanks go to all those who contributed in any way to this wonderful resource, and especially to Lesley for co-ordinating everything and her husband Jock for all the filming and editing work. Well done! We will also have a professionally produced DVD of this year’s master class, presented by Sarah Macrae on ‘Design Inspiration & Development’. This will be available from our Librarian later in the year. Those attending conference don’t forget your A5/6 layout pad!
 
If you are coming to conference, you may want to save money by pre-ordering from our suppliers, so do check through your conference pack for details. Liz Gilliland, our new Conference Secretary has done a marvellous job putting this together, and we do thank her for taking on this important role. I look forward to seeing some wonderful work on show this year, please feel encouraged, whatever your level of experience, to have a go!
 
Finally, as this is my last letter as Chairman, I would like to thank all the executive committee members for a wonderful year, a great team effort and huge patience and support. Also thanks to all those who support Dorothy with articles for the journal, especially Kathleen Kay who continues to inspire, teach and encourage us all in our enamelling. It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to represent the Guild this past year, and I look forward to supporting and serving the Guild for many more years to come.
 
 
.

              

 
Having just returned from a successful few days exhibiting at Art in Action at Waterperry, near Oxford, it was great to report that it remained dry for the whole four days (excluding the odd shower, unlike last year when the event was flooded out) and that so many Guild Members visited! It felt like an almost continuous stream of you who kindly passed by my stand to say ‘Hello’ and I am sure you did the same to our other exhibiting members Tamizan Savill and Harriet St Leger, who were both demonstrating our craft in the Metal and Jewellery tent. Any of you who subscribe to Craftsman Magazine may have also noticed Harriet St Leger’s great feature in the July/August edition, which gave the Guild a mention as well as cataloguing Harriet’s success as a jewellery designer and maker and in more recent years, her new found love of using enamel in her work. Harriet won the Enameller Elect award at Conference in Leicester this year and it is always a pleasure to see one of our members receiving well-earned recognition for their achievements.
 
As the year progresses with alarming speed, the Guild continues with its work encouraging and promoting the craft of enamelling. We have many members who are out there either practising or teaching spreading the word about the pleasures of enamelling! We are also delighted to welcome our new Graphic Designer, Jane Wilkins, who responded to our advertisement in the Summer Journal. Jane’s Mother is a member in Region 5 and is keen to aid us with developing our promotional literature. Jane has already attended a Region 4 Workshop along with me, to meet some of our members and a few of our executive committee members to discuss our requirements. Thanks to all of you who made Jane and me feel so welcome.
 
Progress with the new website is continuing behind the scenes and we hope that Tom Lundsten, our Web Master will be giving a presentation of his and Julia Riddington’s work in the autumn. Having had a brief preview of the new site with Tom talking me through it, it is clear that there will be many more features available with different levels of access for the Public, Members and Members of the Executive Committee. Keymembers such as Regional Reps will also be able to login and add relevant information directly, such as forthcoming events, and other items like the AGM minutes will be available on line for viewing by members only as soon as they are available (members without access to the web will be able to request the minutes by post if they so wish). There will be a more extensive Gallery and a Library listing what is available in the Guild Resources. Our thanks must go to Tom and Julia who have already put in a huge amount of work and there is still much more to do. We are aiming to go live with the new site in time for Conference next year.
 
Gillie Hoyte Byrom, our Bursary Co-ordinator is also doing a great job with networking and promotion of the scheme, which has included a visit to New Designers in London this July. The event showcases new graduates from art colleges all over the UK and Gillie sought out and talked with nearly a dozen young enamellers who were full of enthusiasm! Enamel work was particularly strong from Edinburgh and London Metropolitan University and Gillie has subsequently received three applications. The closing date is 30th September, so there is still time to apply if you or anyone you know is eligible. Full details can be found on the Guild website. This year Gillie was also asked to write a piece on Jane Short for the Goldsmiths’ Review, a superb article that celebrates one of our finest enamellers and is appropriately titled ‘Jane Short Enameller Extraordinaire’.
 
As Chairman I have been able to visit two of our regions to date, starting back in April when I went along to Lesley Millers house in Region 7. I was very impressed by the number of members who attended and the facilities available, I am only sorry I was not able to stay the whole afternoon to join in with the workshops. I talked to the group about how I became an enameller and showed examples of my work. Thank you to all of you for making me feel so welcome. Then in June I went along to Shrewsbury in Region 4, which is actually my own region, but it was the first time I had made it to one of the workshops! As I mentioned earlier, Jane Wilkins came with me and again I was able to say a few words about my enamel work and introduce Jane. It was great to meet more members and watch the enamel beads propagating as the day went on! It is very apparent that regional meetings have a relaxed atmosphere and social element alongside the desire to share and learn more enamel techniques.
 
Since Conference, as Chairman I have also been approached with the question of ‘How do you go about opening a new region of the Guild in the Channel Islands?’ A question that has required some research and discussion on my part! However, I am delighted to say that as a result a proposal will be submitted for the next Executive Meeting in October with a view to the opening of a new region in due course. This is another sign of how the popularity of enamel and the Guild continues to grow and with our ability to respond and encourage new initiatives like this many more budding enamellers will benefit.
 
In June I was invited to go into Ninestiles Secondary School in central Birmingham to help them set up their enamelling department. I had been recommended to them by one of the Jewellery Supply Companies in the Jewellery Quarter and went along not knowing what to expect. I needn’t have worried as I was greeted by a superb Technology Department, with two kilns in good working order, enamel supplies dating back nearly twenty years and lots of enthusiasm! It was a real pleasure to teach the (very young looking) teachers how to prepare a piece of copper and apply enamel. Everyone got very excited (as they had previously had a go with very little success) and within two hours they were ready to start working with the children. It was particularly important to them as the school was in the middle of an exchange programme with a group of German students focusing on a jewellery project.
 
I signed myself up for a little of my own training at the start of July when I went on a three day Gravermax Course at the Jewellery School in Birmingham. It is years since I had done anything like it but my first day nerves were immediately dissipated when I realised that all the other course members were from the Guild! Tamizan Savill, Rachel Emmerson, Teresa Speer, Andrew Dixon and Helen Morris were my classmates and aside from having a great few days together, we all found the course, run by Harry Forster Springer and sponsored by Sutton Tools, excellent and extremely informative. We would recommend it to any other members who either use engraving or want to do more engraving in their work.
 

I would love to say things are less busy now the sun has come out (however briefly, there is a raging thunderstorm going on as I type), but I am now immersed in making my pieces for ‘Playing With Fire’, a major survey exhibition of contemporary UK enamelling, for which I was lucky enough to be selected. My challenge is to produce a new group of pieces, which is very exciting for me! The show starts on 20 September – 2 November at The Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey and then tours the UK until 2010. For full details go to www.crafts.org.uk There will be great diversity of styles and approaches to enamel in this show, so it will be a very interesting one to watch out for!  

 

.            

 

 
Last summer I was thankful to be in our cool garage when enamelling, as it was the coolest place in the house during the hot weather. This year, heat has not been the problem, and my prayers and thoughts are with any of you who have suffered from the floods during July, such devastation is hard to imagine, and not easily or quickly put right.
 
Hopefully most of you will have enjoyed a relaxing or refreshing summer break and be getting back into enamelling when you read this. Don’t forget Gillie’s theme for 2008, “Size Matters”, details were in the summer journal. I’m always amazed at how people respond to these chosen themes, each interpreting it in their own way, producing such a wonderful range of ideas and images, which I shall look forward to seeing at next years conference at Leicester.
 
Meanwhile, Region 4 has just had a very successful meeting with Janet Notman leading a workshop on torch firing enamel beads – I think this is one for a conference workshop in the future! It was great to see folks from as far afield as south London, and the north of England. The whole day echoed the Guild’s aims, encouraging the craft of enamelling, and the work of members, but also influencing standards of workmanship and design through shared teaching, learning and discussion. All abilities were present, everyone willing to share ideas, problems and successes! This is what the Guild is really about, members willing to share knowledge and experience with other members around the country, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday. Thank you Janet, for a great day.
 
Please don’t forget all members are very welcome at any of the region meetings, just get in touch with the rep for that region – details at the back of the journal. I hope to visit Region 1 in October, Region 6 on September 1st, and Region 7 on January 20th, so please let me know your views and ideas for the Guild, and I shall enjoy getting to know you and your work a little more.
 
Finally, don’t forget to keep us all informed through the journal of any useful courses, products, tips, new techniques or anything that might be of use or interest, and please where possible support your local reps & meetings, as they are there to support you!
Enjoy enamelling!