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.