The Art of Living by Making Art

Jewellery inspired by nature and made by hand.
How I make it, why I make it, the challenges I face and the successes that come my way.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


I am learning to hand engrave on silver. It is very difficult and painstaking but I love the fact that it is a very direct way of patterning metal. Yes I have a tool in my hand but it is a small tool, used almost as an extension of my hand.

I took a workshop 18 months ago where I first picked up gravers to work on silver. I planned to go home and start practising right away but I left it a long time as other things inevitably intervened. I started again this past winter and tried to practise regularly but it wasn't going right so I contacted the instructor of the workshop - Jane Short - and she invited me to come to her studio for a day of instruction and practice. It was wonderful and just what I needed to get the feel of it again and ask a lot of questions.

I am not so interested in traditional engraving, script and lettering, scrolls and figures. I want to use the technique within my own aesthetic sense. It combines well with enamelling as you can engrave a recess for the enamel to sit in which can itself be further engraved with pattern as I have done with the piece above.

I am aiming to practise often now. A little everyday is ideal and I did that for several months cluminating in this piece of engraving fired with enamel. I must start on another piece right away as time flies and I don't want to get rusty. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Learn To Enamel

Come and learn the basics of enamelling with me on Saturday 21st May 2016. I am giving a one day workshop where you will learn how to fire enamel on copper. You will learn a variety of ways to make patterns and images in the enamel and layer different colours. You will also have time to make a finished piece that can be turned into a pendant.
The class will be held in the Memorial Hall, Cowden, Kent TN8 7HU where we will have lots of room and plenty of tables to work on. Although my own studio is lovely it is just a little bit too small to hold a class in. The class will run from 10am to 3.30pm. All materials will be included in the price - all the enamel and copper and any wires and foils you use. As an added incentive I am also providing a lovely vegetarian lunch so we can all take a quick break at midday and re-fuel! The cost of the class is £75. Please book early as places are limited. You can book a place by contacting me by email at

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Architectural Inspiration

 A building or a brooch in silver?

Modern architecture has an amazing affinity with jewellery despite the great difference in scale,  Frank Gehry designs both art forms successfully. Not that I am comparing myself to Frank Gehry but I originally studied architecture at University College London and now many years later I design and make jewellery. Maybe it is something about the sculptural qualities of both that transcend the difference of purpose.

Lately I have become more inspired by architectural forms, feeling perhaps that I should broaden my inspirational source pool. I have been scouring the internet for pictures of architectural forms, collecting pictures on Pinterest for later perusal. On a day in London yesterday I looked around me as I walked the streets at the buildings that go up constantly. Many seem to be a straighforward box, but as I walked past the new Tottenham Court Road tube station I saw it as a beautiful curving brooch with grid pattern in silver.

I am sure I won't abandon my love of natural forms altogether but it feels refreshing to have a new favourite subject for a while!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Beginner Jewellery

Come and enjoy an evening of making jewellery with me if you live near Tunbridge Wells or Tonbridge in Kent. I am teaching beginner courses in both towns starting this September, details below.
I did not start learning how to make jewellery until I was 36 and I started by taking an evening course. I loved it and carried on from there with a 3 year full-time course that became my business. 

TUNBRIDGE WELLS Beginner Jewellery starting September 22. This will be on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9.30 pm for 12 weeks.

TONBRIDGE Silver Jewellery for Beginners starting October 1. This will be on Thursday evenings fro 7.15 to 9.15 pm for 10 weeks.

Please see for details on how to register or call 03000 41 22 22

If you can't make these dates there will be more classes starting after Christmas.

Now that I have a beautiful new studio to work in I hope to teach classes from there too. I am thinking that classes in enamelling for up to 3 people would work quite well. Any suggestions from you would be welcome!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

My Beautiful Space

I am finally installed and working in my new space and it is truly wonderful, almost too good to be true. It is clean and bright - the first studio I have ever worked in that I did not need the overhead light on during the day. Being fully insulated with lovely sheep's wool the temperature  stays very even and comfortable. My work bench is all set up in front of the window overlooking my cottage garden and I have a long counter along the back of the room with soldering station, enamelling kiln, hydraulic press and bowl for water and washing pieces. We did not put a water pipe to the studio but a 2 litre jug of water is plenty for the day.

I have organised all my tools and supplies into two Ikea drawer units on castors. Each of the units has six shallow wide drawers so nothing gets lost at the bottom of the heap, all can be laid out individually, easy to find. The units live under the counter but can be rolled out if need be.

I chose to have a floor made of solid wood for strength. It is unplaned though it has been sanded and finished with hardwax-oil but it does have gaps between the planks - a nightmare under the workbench so I have painstakingly caulked each gap around the workbench area with clear caulking.

Next job is to make some narrow shelves to store my jars of enamels - floating shelves look nice but I don't think I have the patience to make them to the size I want - it will be good old fashioned planks of painted wood on metal shelf brackets. I like touches of that old workshop look after all. Maybe I should make an extra shelf to show off my old oil can collection inherited from my father whose workshop had hundreds of tools.

Meanwhile today is just the right day for gardening so I am putting in the climbing rose called 'Aloha' that I picked out to eventually grow around the windows, and lavender and pinks by the stoop.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

New Studio

Spring is not quite in the air here in the south-east of England but I think it won't be long, the daffodils are in bud and just waiting for some warm sun. Nevertheless I am excited because we will be building a studio in the garden next month. Since moving back to England I have mourned the loss of my old studio in Canada. Under-appreciated at the time it was merely part of the basement of our large house, nicely warmed by the furnace and with the laundry sink close by with hot and cold running water, two windows looking out on my garden.

At this moment I am renting an old cowshed on a farm - clean and painted white inside admittedly but draughty and cold with no natural light, no sink and only cold water available outside. When I first rented it there were other artists on the farm too, a couple who do hand book-binding and a woman who carved granite sculptures. They were lovely and made it bearable. Since they have left and some unfriendly characters  moved in I no longer want to be there at all.

So, the decision to build a studio taking up part of our small garden was made, costs debated over, savings pondered and finally we gave the go ahead to a local man who is happy to have my husband help him build a wood framed fully insulated 'shed'. I can't wait for it to start and have already bought a climbing rose to grow over it.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Sublime Blue

Bluebells at Dusk

Last wednesday evening I went walking with friends in some woodland down in East Sussex. The bluebells have been better than usual this year, prolific and lasting for weeks and we walked among them as the sun was gradually sinking. The sublime blue hovers like a misty haze just above the ground and as the dusk deepens it turns slowly from blue to purple. We hoped to see badgers or foxes but despite staying quiet until it was dark all we saw was a tawny owl.

Afterwards we walked back through the woods to our hosts who own and manage the woodland and who keep 25 peacocks around their house including one pure white one. Their cries had been piercing the night since we arrived. Several of the peacocks were displaying their tail feathers fully and engaging in some courtship behaviour, but I did not see any glimmer of interest from the peahens, they were playing hard to get. We were served Victoria sponge made with peacock eggs.

It is not only the bluebells that have been wonderful this year but also the hollows carpeted with the white starry flowers of wild garlic and the boggy woodland studded with magenta orchids, the creamy blackthorn blossom in the hedgerows and the pale yellow primroses on the stream banks. I look forward to the wild anemones that come next.