Monday 15 July 2024

Jennie Lamb's Wearable Art Class


I've been playing with glass for over a year now, but it's hard to get better just from watching YouTube videos or reading books, so this week I went to Rudson, Yorkshire to learn some new things.


I buy a lot of my glass and tools from Tuffnell Glass so I was interested to see they also run workshops.

This weekend we were with Jennie Lamb to learn how to make wearable art - how to make patterned mandela disks to make into rings and pendents.

It was a small class with a variety of abilitys but although I was a little worried how'd I'd get on, everyone was really nice and the class was paced so everyone could keep up.

Over the two days we learnt lots of new (to me) techniques, which should allow me to improve the things I make at home.  I also made my biggest bead ever!

It was a very flexable course.  Jennie was going to touch on how to use millefiori but as we were all interested, she changed the course so we could make our own and use it on our own beads.  This was perfect timing as I've been thinking about having a go.  But reading the books and doing it are very different!


While I might have only made a handful of beads over the 2 days, I learnt sooooooo much which I'm really looking forward to trying at home.

Although it did take 6 hours to drive up there and it rained for the whole weekend, it was a really good weekend.  We were looked after very well with very tasty lunches and a great workshop.  We also had access to the shop, so I ended up buying even more glass and tools! 

I'm looking forward to going back next month to take another course.

Monday 8 July 2024

Sustainable Practice: Recycling Silver with Elisavet Messi


 Today I was up early to catch the train to London, but I wasn't going into the office, I was visiting The Goldsmiths Centre to learn how to recycle all my offcuts of silver.

I really wasn't sure what to expect, but I arrived a little early which gave me a chance to look at the beautiful student work in the foyer. Wow!  


At 09:30 me and another lady were met and taken to the classroom we'd be using.  It's an amazing building and we walked past several classrooms, all very well equiped.  In our classroom we met Elisavet who talked us through what we'd be doing.

First we had a chat about the sustainable and ethical reasons why we'd want to recycle our offcuts, before going through the process.


First we had to set up our crucible by enameling it with borax.  This involved heating it up and melting the borax powder so it ran over the surface of our crucible, meaning our silver wouldn't stick to it later.  You only have to do this the once, then you're set for the life of the crucible.


Next we weight out our silver (13g), put it in our crucible and melted it.  Sounds easy, but it took a little bit of skill to get the flame the right distance away to get the metal hot enough.  Once liquid we poured it into a mold.  We'd made a tiny ingot!

Once it had been pickled we could start to shape it using the rolling mill.  I wanted to make wire with mine.  You can only pass it through 3 or 4 times before you have to anneal and pickle it again otherwise it will probably crack, so I didn't have time to finish it, but I will take it to class with me, I'm sure I can finish it there.


It was a great morning, and wonderful to finally do something with all the offcuts I've been hoarding without really knowing what to do with them.  Elisavent was so knowledgable and happy to share, I really feel this is something I could do again on my own now.

I then went on to the V&A to have a look at their glass display.  A nice way to spend a couple of hours on a damp afternoon, before heading home.