News and Articles

Letter from the Chair Autumn 2008 Rachel Gogerly

              

 
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!  

 

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Letter from the Chair Summer 2008 Rachel Gogerly

 

 
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.

Letter from the Chair Spring 2008 Carol Griffin

 

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.
 
 
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Letter from the Chair Winter 2007 Carol Griffin

 

 
       
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.

Letter from the Chair Autumn 2007 Carol Griffin

 

 
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!