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Archive for April, 2009

I had a wonderful day today, learning to enamel with Rachel Gogerly. Rachel is a fantastic craftswoman, artist and tutor.

A few months ago, I did an introductory day with her, producing these samples.

rachel-gogerly-feb-2009_intro_1

We used the wet layering technique, and even carved our own spatula out of goose feathers! Of course, I made many of the classic beginners’ mistakes like putting my greasy paws on the enamel before firing, which dulls the lovely transparency. So nice of me to give Rachel the opportunity to teach the class how to remedy these mishaps! Hmm someone had to do it I guess!

I was very excited this morning to be traveling to my second class – how to blend colours.

Step 1 – choosing our colours. Like kids in a candy shop!

Step 2 – grinding the powder or lumps in a pestle and mortar, until the enamel is the consistency of caster sugar

Step 3 – washing the enamel and transferring to our dishes

Step 4 – wet layering and blending. This is Rachel in action (a bit blurry…)

april-2009

We used two techniques – blending two colours together, and using flux to get a gradation of the same colour. My first sample was a bit hit and miss, with the middle colours just NOT blending! But they would be lovely on the same piece separated by a silver line.

april-2009_2

One of the students is a professional jewelry maker and engraver, who brought his own piece – stunning… He did this free hand! I’m looking for an engraving class or workshop at the moment, so had a quick chat. According to him, it’s easy! Well, he has been doing it 34 years… Something tells me, as with most of these things, it’s going to be harder than it look!

april-2009_3

A great day, made even better by sunny weather and a picnic on the lawn outside for lunch. I’m now bursting with ideas and have already signed up for my next class! I’ve also been playing with dry sieving and decals, …

enamelling-amy-surman-march-09_1_-decals3

… but more on that another day. Now… time for a cuppa and some more knitting. Bye for now!

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Casting on…

I’m knitting again after 15 years and it feels wonderful! As soon as I woke up this morning I grabbed my needles and yarn, left by the side of the bed, to practise some casting.

Cast on… cast off the needles and start again, karate kid style!

I couldn’t even remember how to cast on but luckily discovered yesterday as I went to buy some cheap yarn that my local knitting shop has the friendliest of owner: a Swedish woman in her 50s who happily spent half an hour showing me how to cast on and let me practice in a corner of her very small shop before I even bought anything! She also showed me the knit stitch the ‘Swedish way’. It’s essentially the continental way and feels faster than the English one (even with my now very clumsy hand…).

I’m practising the basics with some white yarn and will then move on to square samples with the pink yarns, to practice different stitches – if I ever have enough, I will eventually stitch them all together to make a blanket!

knitting-april-09_2

My grandmother taught me to knit. A small but formidable woman; we were still in awe of her, even as grown ups, when some of us (not me!) had reached 6ft3! We kids used to spend our summer holidays at her small house in Northwest France, by the sea. She passed away 9 years ago and I still miss her.

I am also learning a whole new lingo… Where I knew

le tricot

xxxxmaille à l’endroitxxxxxxxxmailleà l’envers

xxxxxxxxxxxxpoint mousse xxxxxxxxxxxxx lainexxxxxxxxxand so on

I am now discovering

xknit stitch xxxxxxxpurl                    long-tail cast on

xxxxxstockinette stitchxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx yarn xxxxx(I could go on!)
and all these wonderful words that conjure up a world of colours, softness and wooliness wonders.

Right, a quick cuppa and back to it.

Happy Easter!

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and for my first ever post, my first ever silversmithing piece – a very simple silver ring with a turquoise cabochon! Not the best picture I know but I finally plucked up the courage to start blogging tonight after signing up a few weeks ago, and thought best not wait until tomorrow (and a better pic) or I might lose my bottle!

I actually have a sliiiiiightly better pic – well a little less blurry anyway! – but it has a really dodgy orange background.

Ah well, here it is anyway!

Turquoise ring on orange

That’s it for tonight! Hope you have a lovely weekend and see you here again soon!

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