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 and teaching English. 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, although we don’t have many members in that section at the moment.
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 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.