As being self employed can be fast moving and leave you little time for reflection I like to create an annual blog to document everything I have achieved over the last twelve months. Yes it is almost February, but we can pretend I managed to get this out just after Christmas, as per my plan…
Lots of good things happened this year - however I also spent a good three months suffering from concussion so we will skip that part. I will keep things in chronological order.
First up was the exciting news of having my work stocked at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. I grew up not far from the University of East Anglia (SCVA is on the UEA campus) so this building, along with the iconic ziggurats and brutalist architecture of the concrete campus has always held a special place in my heart. I am thrilled to have my work stocked at SCVA and will never tire of popping in and seeing my work living under the same roof as some of the worlds best art, and artifacts.
Another mention has to go to my private jewellery lessons which take part in my studio, details here. These have been very popular and I love seeing the final piece of jewellery each person makes, but more importantly I love helping people to achieve something that just a few hours ago they didn’t think they could. They leave beaming with pride in what they have accomplished.
Over the next month I will be amending the sessions I currently offer to incorporate some new lessons, including earrings, bangles, spinner rings, stacking rings, and enameling… get in touch if you would like info before its available online.
Of course I can’t mention 2018 without mentioning my copper enamel bowls - you lot can’t get enough of them! Which is great because I love making them, and have enjoyed experimenting with the designs a bit more.
2018 saw the Plant Collection come to fruition, sitting alongside the Cloud Collection, and the Kingfisher and Gold Collection from 2017 (National Trust and Crafts Councils Competition Finalists, dontchaknow?!). You also got a sneak peak at the Brutalist Collection which will make an official appearance this year, along with the Spirograph Collection, and a few more are up my sleeve so keep your eyes peeled!
In the summer I said goodbye to the Fat Bottomed Girl rocking whisky tumbler as it headed off to a new home. I’m looking forward to making some more this year.
During the summer I was also fortunate enough to be contacted by the Goldsmiths Centre and asked to submit a design for a Gin Tasting Beaker - more details here. I was incredibly excited to be given the opportunity to create my design, and happy to say that beaker also sold and is now being enjoyed by its new owners. Sadly I forgot to give it a trial run before sending it off, so I can only imagine how enjoyable it is to drink from!
It was a good summer - I was also lucky enough to be selected to attend a Contemporary British Silversmiths Graduate Training Course, at Goldsmtihs Centre, along with Helena Russell, Callum Partridge, Alex O’Connor, Emma-Jane Rule and Jessica Jue under the watchful eyes of Abigail Brown and Rauni Higson. It was billed as a raising course but the week saw us learn so much more than that, so many helpful tips which will really benefit my practice going forward. It was a long hard week but so good - can we do it again this year please?!
The end of the year brought some excellent news; I was offered a Silversmithing and Jewellery Tutor job at Wensum Lodge, teaching adult education classes. Particularly brilliant as these classes are where I first started, over a decade ago, and had I not taken that first step I would never have found something that I fell in love with so much I’ve made it my career.
After I finished the degree I had hoped to be able to teach, so I could split my time between being a paid silversmith and being a self employed silversmith, the best of both worlds. So I’m one step closer! Classes started in January and my students are lovely, they are full of ideas and enthusiasm and I always look forward to each session. I’m yet to ask them to make me a crown…
To cap the year off nicely I was awarded a bursary from the David Canter Memorial Fund, which will enable me to buy a raising stake and a planishing stake. These are used for “raising” vessels, details of that here. Setting up a silversmithing workshop is a very expensive task and I have worked hard to do just that, plowing every penny I have into the necessary tools and equipment and these expensive stakes were yet to be afforded. I am incredibly grateful to the David Canter Memorial Fund for this help, which will have such a beneficial effect on my future work. The stakes should arrive any day now and I cannot wait to get stuck in.
So that is 2018 - not all of it but most - and I have plenty planned for this year too. Thank you to everyone who supports me, whether its with words, social media “likes” and comments, encouragement, advice, help, and purchases. It means so much to me and helps me continue to build my dream into my career. Thank you x