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Letter from the Chair Summer 2013 Julie Rattray

The Guild of Enamellers yearly cycle culminates with the annual conference, a chance to meet members from across the UK (and beyond) and an opportunity to renew friendships established over the years. Conference is a unique event where enamellers, whether they are professional, teacher, hobbyist or enthusiast amateur, can meet to participate in and champion the craft of enamelling. For the executive committee, conference is the fruit of two years of planning; selecting and securing a venue, organising tutors, selectors and speakers, coordinating suppliers, and dealing with the unique practicalities of enamelling in conjunction with the conference venue. However conference is just one of the many activities that the Guild and its members participate in and the year ahead is full of opportunities to participate.

At a regional level the workshops and related activities encourage members to participate at a local level. Regional events are ideal occasions for member to develop their skills, explore new techniques, share their enamelling experiences and encourage grass roots participation. The  2013/2014 Guild regional events calendar is already well populated with innovative and diverse workshops where member participation is key to success. Media developed and distributed by Guild members such as the quarterly Journal, the library and the DVDs allows dissemination of the extensive technical knowledge and resources held by the Guild and its members, whilst the ever expanding website and Facebook pages allow members instant access and give the Guild outward visibility in an increasingly “mobile” world. All of these activities and resources enhance the
Guild’s ability to encourage and promote the craft of enamelling. However, they rely on member participation via contributions of articles, web posts, technical expertise, volunteering and attendance.

Guild members are instrumental in supporting public participation events such as Hobbycraft, Art in Action and Fusion Open Day, events that provide the Guild with opportunities to disseminate knowledge, demonstrate skills and interact with other similar organisations. Participation in exhibitions such as the Button Project, Heat is On in Whitby and the GOE exhibition in Ravenstein in Holland show the quality and diversity of enamelling produced by Guild members and again promote enamelling to a wider audience. The Bursary Award, supported by the Guild and its
sponsors, encourages young artists to specifically develop their enamelling skills and offers them unique participation opportunities to enhance their skills through mentoring and workshops, whilst the Young Enamellers award scheme has encouraged participation from younger members. By nurturing these new generations of enamellers and encouraging their participation in Guild activities we are securing the future of the Guild.

As I embark on my year as Chair, I am looking forward to participating and engaging with Guild members across the country and hopefully getting a chance to share some enamelling at the regional workshops. This year I hope Guild members will be inspired to volunteer for the Guild- supported public events such as Hobbycraft, Art in Action and Fusion and that members will consider submitting work for the planned joint exhibition with the British Society of Enamellers. I am honoured to be guiding the Guild through its diverse range of activities in 2013/2014, activities which culminate in Leicester for Conference 2014. But please remember that whilst conference may be the culmination of the Guild’s year, the year ahead is full of opportunities to participate (fill details of all these activities are posted regularly on the Guild website and in the Journal).

So on that thought let’s all participate in the diverse and unique opportunities that the Guild has to offer, let’s get enamelling and let’s get
enamelling out there.