News and Articles
This will be my final letter as Chair and I’d like to start by saying how privileged I feel to have been given this opportunity and grateful for the encouragement to ‘give it a go’ when I was unsure whether to take up the role. I have learnt so much about the running of the Guild and the hard work that goes on behind the scenes for us all by the executive committee members on a voluntary basis. I’d like to send each and every one of them a huge ‘Thank-you’ on behalf of us all.
The Guild has given me the opportunity to learn about the wide range of enamelling skills and to try my hand at techniques I would never have heard of without the skilled and generous workshop leaders I have been lucky enough to learn from over the years at region meetings and conference. These tutors share their time and knowledge freely in support of the Guild and its members so I believe another big ‘Thank-you’ to them is in order.
As I write this we are putting the final touches to the Guild’s annual conference weekend (5th-7th April) at Thorpe Underwood Estate in York. I’d like to thank members for their tremendous support regarding this year’s conference. I am sorry to those of you who were disappointed at not getting a place on the workshop they requested. We had so much interest, many workshops were full by 2nd January and all tutors agreed to have more people in their workshops to try to cope with the demand – thanks to them for being so accommodating. Don’t forget to enter your pieces in the exhibition (you are not required to attend conference to enter pieces) especially for the themed award ‘All the fun of the fair’.
Pre-ordering from the suppliers attending conference will ensure they bring what you require as they will have limited stock carried with them. Many suppliers are only attending on the Saturday, please see your conference pack for details. If you are interested in applying for selection at next year’s conference I suggest you contact Ruby Tomes sooner rather than later as there are limited places and I believe she already has a few names on her list.
There are several forthcoming events the Guild is represented at this year including the Hobbycrafts Show at Birmingham NEC (March 21st -24th) and Art in Action near Oxford (July 18th -21st). I believe a full list is displayed on our website (www.guildofenamellers.org ). Please let Lesley Miller know if you would like to assist at Art in Action; I would heartily recommend you do as I had a fantastic time both years I helped out.
My final thanks to all of you who have made my time as Chair so enjoyable. To the executive committee for their support and encouragement, to the members for their warm welcomes as I travelled around many of the regions and a special thank you to Jane Sheppard (conference secretary) for all she has done through the whole conference organisation on a steep learning curve for us both. I look forward to meeting up with old and new friends in York and hope I will be able to make the occasional visit to other regional meetings in the future.
Well the nights are drawing in and the heating’s coming on earlier and earlier, but I love this time of year. First nature has its vibrant say with the changing of the leaves, time to spend happy moments crunching through nearby woods. Then the colourful lights go up in the towns and houses; I have to admit to being a real kid and get just as excited as my children as Christmas approaches. Following that, if we are lucky enough, a covering of clean, white snow to throw, make snowmen with and slide down slopes on; also good inspiration for some Grisaille enamelling.
This leads me nicely onto next year’s conference in York (5th-7th April 2013) and the exciting tutorials available; these are elaborated on elsewhere in the journal. Once again highly gifted enamellers have given their time and enthusiasm to provide a wide range of tutorials and talks, to whom I would like to send a huge ‘thank you’ in advance. Without them, conference would not be possible. I hope many members will find a tutorial of interest and be able to attend, and that many of you will share your creations in the members’ exhibitions, including the themed exhibition, which will be ‘All the fun of the fair’. I look forward to welcoming our bursary winner Scarlett Cohen-French to conference and seeing her work exhibited; many thanks once again to our joint sponsors WG Ball, Craft&design magazine and Vitrum Signum for continuing to fund the bursary award.
Sadly I have to announce that David Alexander-Smith of Vitrum Signum, one of the most longstanding supporters of our Guild, passed away in October this year. Our thoughts are with his wife Mo and family, who I know have been very grateful for all the well wishes they have received from Guild members. Mo has advised us that Vitrum Signum is open for business as usual.
I have been lucky enough to meet many of you at your regional meetings, thank you for making me so welcome. Since my last letter, Region 3 gave me the opportunity to ‘go big’ and create an A4 piece at M&CT’s factory. Thanks to Chris and Mary Taylor for opening their factory to let us all have a go. This is something I have wanted to try for ages so I was thrilled to be able to attend and am quite pleased with my final piece; thanks to Tilly for her design advice! As I write this I am about to attend the Region 1 & 2 annual weekend meeting so am rather excited, having been told I’m ‘in for a treat’.
Along with the opportunity to start to understand how the Guild works, get to know the executive committee members better and learn how much work goes on behind the scenes, I have most enjoyed my trips to regional meetings in my time as Chair. These visits have allowed me to meet Guild members and see what everyone is doing.
As a Guild member you are welcome at any of the regional meetings, all that the regional reps ask is that you phone to let them know you are interested in attending a meeting as some venues are pushed for space. Full details of what’s on in the different regions and how to contact the regional reps can be found in the journal or on our website www.guildofenamellers.org.
Hopefully you have all found time to put towards activities you enjoy over the summer. A new term is about to start and, as usual, the holiday period has flown by with only half the targets set in our household being achieved. I expect we’re not the only ones who underestimate the time available during the summer to squeeze in work, family fun and that precious ‘me’ time.
Thankfully there have been several lovely days and the summer hasn’t been a complete wash out. On sunny days we have, like many of you I’m sure, enjoyed walks in the woods and days on the beach. During those times I have been reminded of talks by designers such at Ruth Ball and Sarah Macrae at past conferences when they spoke about how artistic inspiration can come from everyday observations of different colours, effects of light and shade, shapes and textures. A notebook accompanies me on such days, in the hope that amongst the sketches an enamelling ‘masterpiece’ may be forthcoming.
Enamelling makes up much of my ‘me’ time, and being chair of the Guild has given me permission to indulge myself a little more over the past five months. Attending Art in Action near
While at Art in Action, I was able to thank Angie and Paul Boyer from craft&design magazine for their continued support of the Guild. They have agreed to once again part fund the 2013 bursary prize (along with WG Ball & Vitrum Signum) which is worth over £1,000 and awarded to students/graduates who want to develop their enamel skills and careers. The closing date for application this year was 31st July. Results will be published later in the year.
It was possible for me to attend some regional workshops recently, two local to me in Shropshire, region 4 (‘torch firing’ with Maureen Carswell and ‘beads’ with Janet Notman) as well as meeting up with some of region 6 members in
I look forward to attending more events and workshops and meeting more of you over the next few months.
I am honoured to take on the role of chairman for this coming year and would like to thank those who nominated me.
I have gained so much from the Guild and am grateful for the opportunity to ‘do my bit’ to promote the wonderful work the Guild does for enamelling.
I had my first taste of enamelling in 1997 while attending a course run by Bonnie Mackintosh and will be forever indebted to her and Louise O’Neil for opening my eyes to the world of enamelling. The range and breadth of uses to which enamel can be put never ceases to amaze.
I am not an enameller by trade but enjoy it as a form of relaxation, though must admit to many hours of frustration when pieces don’t quite go to plan. Still, it allows me to focus on something artistic and quite different from my working week as a Speech and Language Therapist.
In retrospect, my first conference in 2000 was a real turning point. Only knowing one person made me a little nervous, but I shouldn’t have been worried as I was soon made to feel welcome, learnt so much and made some good friends. This Guild is always welcoming to enamellers, irrespective of length of time enamelling or level of ability.
This year’s conference was another resounding success, thanks to the team for all their hard work in organising it, with particular thanks to Tilly and Liz. The facilities were excellent and the workshops, speakers and masterclass were thought provoking and stimulating.
It was good to meet with the tutors and speakers, especially Carmen Lombardi and her husband who travelled from
I look forward to meeting as many members as possible over the coming year, especially those who are not able to make it to conference, and to attending more of the events and exhibitions represented by the Guild across the country. A list of events, exhibitions and courses involving Guild members can be found on our comprehensive website www.guildofenamellers.org. This website has gone from strength to strength: thank you to all those involved in its creation and upkeep.
Lastly a date for your diary for next year as the conference returns to the Thorpe Underwood Estate in York (Queen Ethelburga’s College) over the weekend 5th-7th April 2013.
In my last letter I was resisting the onset of winter, the dark nights and low temperatures of the previous two winters were still uncomfortably easy to remember. However, here in the
In an attempt to get what passes for sunlight at this time of the year we took a walk up to our local
Preparations for our Annual Conference are well underway. As I write, our tutorial workshops are almost full and Liz and I are working hard contacting speakers, tutors, selectors and suppliers to finalise the programme details. I’d like to thank all members of the Executive Committee for their help this year but particularly Liz who puts in an enormous amount of time and effort ensuring that Conference runs smoothly. This will be Liz’s final year as Conference Secretary.
We also wave goodbye to Mary Ford who is stepping down as Awards and Selection Officer. Many of us have been cajoled, encouraged and gently bullied by Mary to enter our work for selection. Whilst it can be a daunting prospect to submit one’s work for scrutiny it is also a very valuable exercise. On behalf of the Executive Committee I would like to offer sincere thanks to both Liz and Mary for all their hard work during their time as Officers of the Guild and look forward to seeing them both in April.
Still on the subject of Conference our suppliers at Reaseheath will be slightly different this year. Please see the separate article in this Journal.
In addition to conference, the Guild is involved in a number of other events this year. Region 4 is running the Guild stand at the Hobbycrafts Show at the NEC 22nd -25th March. (See details on the Guild website).
We also have the exhibition at
Enamel Fusion will be running again in conjunction with Craft & Design Magazine during May. Please let Lynne Glazzard have any details of any classes you wish to have listed on Craft & Design’s website as soon as possible.
Art in Action takes place this year between Thursday 19th and Sunday 22nd July. Please let Lesley Miller know if you wish to assist at this event.
This is my last letter as Chair but I look forward to catching up with everyone at Reaseheath and at Conferences to come. Many thanks to all those I’ve met on my roam around the regions this year for their hospitality, kind words and good humour.