Well, I’ve been in motorsport & classic cars most of my life, and in the dark ages before that I worked at the Beeb. My ‘real’ job at the moment is technical translating - www.smlcommunications.com. So as I am ALWAYS passionate about what I do, I realised I was getting fed up with cars. And for the last 3 or 4 years I thought I would have a go at something my grandfather, John Ferguson Gow, did – cloisonné enamel on silver - have a look at the page about some of his work. And I love diving in the deep end – ha ha! Actually I did laugh when I saw the size of the tools – half (or less) the size of what I had been using for cars!
So I eventually kicked off with a day’s silverwork class with Edward Mahony in Faversham which was fabulous and I made a gorgeous bracelet in copper and silver with a lot of help, and then a day with Amanda Zoe who showed me lots about enamelling and was fantastically helpful and told me about the Guild of Enamellers. I immediately joined and went to the conference last year at Northampton, just round the corner from where I used to live near Silverstone! And wow – what an amazing bunch of people, and so helpful. Even during the dinner, I was being given a lesson on enamelling!
And as I said I jump straight in, so volunteered to represent the ‘rest of the world’ for the Guild. At the time we didn’t have many members in that section, but now, with all the problems of meeting up, the Guild has gone online and we have lots of members now from all over the world, which is fantastic.
As I live in France, I can’t come to many workshops or classes, so I have to learn as much as I can from the Guild’s DVDs, books, the internet (where I have been learning about crackle enamel recently from the Americans) and trying stuff out in the workshop, which I share with my other half – the Frog. It’s all a bit chaotic, but I’m very lucky to have the space, benches, machines and tools. I am also a member of the London Jewellers Academy which is brilliant for on-line lessons & webinars.
So far, I’m using a torch for my enamelling, but I have a kiln, which I haven’t got round to using yet. And I've done just a tiny little bit of cloisonné, as I get sidelined by other metalwork stuff in silver & copper. But I am determined to make some things like my grandfather made, in the same way, as my mother used to say ‘in the kitchen in Harley Street with a Bunsen burner’! Wish I’d seen that.
So now I am making some jewellery - standard enamel on copper pendants & earrings, as well as silver rings and earrings, and other bits and bobs, and I’ve set up this site to sell some of it. So masses to do. And I am also the rep for ‘the rest of the world’ of the Guild of Enamellers so if you’re interested in enamelling get in contact and join the Guild. Lots to learn with them.