Sunday, 26 October 2014

Blog hop

I have been invited by artist and bookmaker Kate Bowles ( to participate in this blog hop- think chain letter but more hi tech and less suspicious, although I am a day late in posting this so I hope I haven't jinxed it because it has travelled from Europe to America and now to Yorkshire!
I love Kate's work, I use one of her little books as a sketchbook in which I doodle everyday.
So here is my contribution......
What am I working on?
Like most creative people at this time of year I am gearing up for Christmas. I have just delivered some pieces to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park  for their 'MADE' exhibition and now I am frantically trying to get work done to sell at the fabulous Holmfirth Art Market at the end of Nov as well as trying to create a new way of displaying my work which I will try out at the art market. I am also working on getting a website up and running -  I have avoided doing one before now because I was never confident about the jewellery that I was producing but I think I've found a technique that suits the way I work and people seem to like it.

How does my work differ from others of it's genre?
Ooh a difficult one! If you think of enamelling and enamelled jewellery then you think bright colours, intricate patterns and highly skilled technically difficult pieces, my work couldn't be further from this. I use white enamel only which I guess is unusual, my pieces are often mistaken for porcelain. 
At college I had a very brief introduction to enamelling with the fantastic enameller Jane Short. I remember thinking that the whole process was far too time consuming, fiddly and definitely not for me. I revisted enamelling three years ago when I introduced it to my HE students, I researched various enamelling techniques and came across a method which involved drawing onto a stoned enamel surface with a graphite pencil, the carbon from the pencil is absorbed by the enamel and leaves a permanent image. I immediately fell in love with it. I love drawing particularly with pencil and so it felt very comfortable to do.
I still don't consider myself an enameller, I just use enamel as part of my making process - maybe that makes me different?

 Why do I do what I do?
The cheesy answer I guess is because it makes me happy and when I see someone wearing my work it makes me smile - it's that simple. I don't wear jewellery but I am drawn to people who do, you can tell a lot about someone by the jewellery they wear - what kind of people wear my jewellery, mmmm not sure but that has got me thinking!
I still consider my jewellery making as a hobby and like most hobbies I do it because I have a passion for my subject, it relaxes me, I can chill out. My workshop is my 'me' space where I can forget about things like the washing and the fact that the freezer needs defrosting ( I must do that!)
I also do it because I can't help it.

How does my process work?
I very rarely go into the workshop with a plan unless it is a specific commission. It is more of an organic process, I pick up some copper or silver let the piercing saw do the work and let the shape evolve, I sift the enamel on, fire it, grind it, draw on it and refire. I am not a technical jeweller, my processes are fairly simple.
Working like this means that each piece I create is unique, a one-off.
I love mark making and I am inspired by anything from the tiny loops on a bath towel, to the texture of peeling paint on a door, I record this through photographs and quick doodles in a sketchbook - the white enamelled surface could be likened to a blank piece of paper in which I can doodle, rubout if necessary.

I'm going to leave it there and nominate two people whose work and work ethic I love - I have yet to run this by them, so it could change!  Watch this space.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

New enamel work 2013/2014

Best presented stand award at Holmfirth Art Market 2013

2014 is the year I get my work out there!! I had so many lovely comments and sales at Holmfirth Art Market in November and I won an award that I really need to act upon it so watch this space/blog!