Want to learn how to make jewellery? Or perhaps you enjoy other crafts? If you are using a mobile click on menu and it should give you options to book, or find out more.
We now have two C words that we use with trepidation (well o.k there are more) and I apologise in advance for mentioning Covid and Christmas.
Since covid, we’ve all had to adapt, one of the things I have done is increase opportunities to teach longer-term classes. I love teaching one-day classes but the opportunity to help students build on their skills and reflect about their learning is really lovely for me as a teacher.
I do continue to teach one-day classes in fact the last 10 days have been truly unique in that I have taught Enamelling, Silver clay, Scratch coding, Oil pastels, Watercolour and Acrylics! I have been to Basildon, Witham, Waltham Cross and St Osyth! It almost seems like an opportunity to write a short story about a series of crimes that have taken place in seemingly unconnected places….
Art Classes in Witham
I love teaching the 14 week art class with Seasonsartclassestiptreeandwitham – these are opportunities to build on all those skills you may have never learnt at school – drawing (using grids, perspective etc), oil pastels, watercolour and acrylic – with tips and inspiration along the way. The classes are also an opportunity to learn in a lovely, friendly environment – often our students become friends who lunch after the class – we love that. The next term starts on 4th December, with a break for Christmas and New Year.
I am also delighted to be running weekly Silversmithing with Metal Clay classes at Basildon ACL. The accredited courses starting at Entry level (2nd November) and moving on to Level 1 and level 2, will cover a range of techniques such as building bails, embedding gem stones, applying patina and once we get to level 2 we will also look at some cross over skills to more traditional silversmithing including soldering. The non accredited courses will follow a similar pattern but do not offer funding opportunities, once the courses get more popular we hope to run an evening course too.
I still offer one-day courses in Enamelling, Silver clay, Feltmaking, Encaustic art and Flamework, so if you are interested in any of those get in touch, this year as I’ve been busy getting used to teaching regular classes, I have tended to try to fit dates to suit as students enquire about them, I will add some more to the calendar for next year. This is where Christmas comes in…I’ve been told that classes make lovely presents, so on my website (if you so wish) you can signpost your loved ones towards gift vouchers for classes, or indeed buy for a friend – I do offer discounts per person on my classes if you book for 2 or 3 people (email me about this). Tailored gift letters are provided for you to pass on to the gift recipient.
I also run classes for other venues (if I like them).
The next class I have coming up is at Benchspace, Brightlingsea. Enamelling on Silver clay which is running on 28th October. This is an opportunity to design your silver clay jewellery whilst considering how to apply glass (enamel) to add to the design.
I am also teaching a silver clay day at the lovely FSC Flatford Mill on 2nd December.
There is around £60 worth of materials included in the course fee, giving you the chance to make 2 to 3 pieces of jewellery. We’ll be looking at two different techniques during this class.
Making a silver leaf using silver paste
Creating a piece of jewellery that incorporates fireable gemstones.
Adding patina (Suitable for beginners and improvers)
Next year I will continue to run classes for Watershed studios in St Osyth. The 2024 programme can be found here.
That’s my current summing up of classes, any questions please do ask.
Thanks for your continued support, Toni x
Life has, as usual got a bit busy, so I just wanted to quickly update you on forthcoming dates and news.
Firstly the most exciting thing is that Harriet is currently rehearsing and will be in a play at the Mercury theatre, next weekend (17th – 19th August). https://www.mercurytheatre.co.uk/event/myc-show-gogols-underdogs/
Secondly, we are now in our third season at The Seasons Art Classes in Witham. These are great classes for beginners, for those who lack artistic confidence, or for people looking for company whilst being creative. https://www.artclass-tiptreewitham.com/
Thirdly, I am now working with Benchspace silver school in Brightlingsea and my first class will be on Sunday (13th August). We’re hoping to run lots of follow on courses to build up your skills – if there is enough interest. https://bench-space.com/classes/
I have just completed the level 2 Art and Design course at ACL Colchester and we’ll be having an end of course exhibition at the minories pop up in the centre of town (18 Long Wyre St, near The Works) starting on 12th August. This is the link to the info on Facebook – https://fb.me/e/18Ts3dC2S
And finally, I am pleased to tell you that I will soon be teaching for ACL Basildon (once the paperwork is completed). This will be a Silversmithing with Metal clay course and will start with taster sessions but will hopefully move on to level 1 and level 2 certification – some spaces will even be funded. More info about that once we’re in action.
I hope you are making the best of the summer, if you are looking for weather-friendly ideas this is what I have coming up, and don’t forget, where I can I will also organise dates to suit. Hope to see you soon, Toni
CG CRAFTS, Colchester (booking 07847 098849)
23rd Sept – Silver Clay Jewellery beginners at CG Crafts FULL
14th Oct – Encaustic art at CG Crafts
4th Nov – Silver Clay beginners at CG Crafts
FSC Flatford Mill – (Booking FSC 01206 297110)
8th – 10th Sept – Silver Clay and Enamelling Jewellery weekend
2nd Dec – Silver Clay jewellery day
Bench Space, Brightlingsea (booking 07855 768017)
13th Sept – Silver Clay Jewellery – FULL
30th Sept – Enamelled Jewellery day
28th Oct – Enamelling on Silver clay
Watershed Studio, St Osyth
7th October – Enamelling day (01255 820466)
I am really excited to update you that the next lot of Seasons Art classes which will start at the end of July are being planned. The gallery shows a selection of what the students have learnt over the 14 week classes. Starting with drawing techniques we build up the basic building blocks and then move on to oil pastels, watercolour and finally acrylics before completing our time with a session to mount our pieces and then the exhibition – which is an opportunity to enjoy the work created over the 14 weeks. If you’d like to know more message me and I can pass on booking details or you can take a look at our website which will be available for bookings soon.
Classes coming up
|Other Classes coming up |
As usual get in touch if you’d like to book a class in my garden workshop or click on the links below to book directly with venues
CG Crafts, Colchester – dates and times to suit
Pink Parrot Pottery – Silver clay with embedded gemstones on Saturday 3rd June
Pink Parrot Pottery – Encaustic art on Saturday 15th July
EJ Art Creative, Woodbridge – Silver clay layered pendant on Saturday 24th June
FSC Flatford Mill, East Bergholt – Silver Clay day on Saturday 1st July
Watershed Studio, St Osyth – Feltmaking: creating landscapes using felting techniques on Tuesday 18th July
Just a quick post to update you on my course dates until April. Just in case Father Christmas needs to know. You can book online here (or via venue if not CG Crafts).
Any classes listed for CG Crafts can be tailored to suit, so if you want to do a specific technique do ask – these may be subject to a slightly increased materials cost if needed.
Sat 14th January – Silver Clay – CG Crafts FULL
Sun 15th January – Encaustic art – CG CRAFTS FULL
Sat 21st January – Enamelling Class – CG Crafts
Sat 28th January – Silver Clay – CG Crafts
Sat 4th February – Enamelling – CG Crafts
Sat 12th February – Silver Clay – CG Crafts
Sat 18th Feb – Enamelling – CG Crafts
Sat 4th March – Silver Clay – CG Crafts
Tues 7th March – Enamelling at Watershed Studio – Focussing on Sgrafitto and Swirling
Fri 10th March – Encaustic Art – CG Crafts
Sat 11th March – Felt – CG Crafts
Mon 13th March – Silver Clay – CG Crafts
Fri 17th March – Enamelling – CG Crafts
Sat 18th March – Encaustic Art – CG Crafts
Mon 20th March – Enamelling – CG Crafts
Mon 27th March – Encaustic art – CG Crafts
Thurs 30th March – Flamework – CGCrafts FULL
Fri 31st March – Flamework – CG Crafts
Sat 1st April – Silver Clay – CG Crafts
14th – 16th – Jewellery Making at FSC Flatford Mill – Enamelling and Silver Clay classes in a lovely historical setting. Available for residential and non residential.
Fri 21st April – Enamelling – CG Crafts FULL
Sat 22nd April – Enamelliing – CG Crafts
No matter what my good intentions are, something always gets in the way of writing regular blog posts! Well here is an update on what has been going on in the past month or so.
In October I started teaching art for The Seasons Art Classes – Witham and Tiptree. It is a 14 week foundation class in art and covers the basics of drawing, pastels, watercolour and acrylic – the course Manager, Tyler and myself cannot wait until week 14 which is exhibition week – it is so lovely to watch student’s confidence grow in these classes. It is also quite a challenge for me to use a flipchart to demonstrate – I’ve never taught such a big class before. If you are interested in learning more, get in touch and I can pass on the details.
I’ve also continued to teach my specialist craft classes at home which includes: enamelling, silver clay, feltmaking, encaustic art and flamework. I gave a talk to a lovely W.I group about ironing – well encaustic art ironing, and I managed to drop off some new handcrafted cards and jewellery to Dedham Art and Craft Centre – if you’ve never been do go, there are plenty of unique presents to be found.
Anyway hopefully, I’ll update again soon. Happy Crafting, Toni x
Just in the process of adding dates for 2023. Anything you’d like to see on the programme? Do let me know. Dates are on the class dates page and will be slowly added to booking pages over the next week.
I’m still trying to find my feet again now the girls are back to school and to be honest, after nearly two years, I am struggling to adjust to not teaching at the Dementia art group every week. It was so lovely to see the impact on the clients and also it was just good fun, anyway here’s an article that was written about my work at Tapestry Care. The article appeared last week in the Evening Standard. Link to article. If you do know of any elderly groups who may benefit from some of my art sessions, or any other groups come to that, do please get in touch. I can do regular classes or one-off sessions. Happy to discuss budget. I do still offer my more specialised classes too but they aren’t always suitable for groups with a variety of additional needs. Email me.
I have a last minute opportunity open up to book a silver clay jewellery class here at CG Crafts on a Saturday (weekends are generally very booked up). I’ve discounted the class slightly and there are further discounts to be had (as always) if you book together as a 2 or 3. The class takes place here in Colchester. The date available is Saturday 10th September, or look on my website for other dates.
The class covers the basics of making silver clay jewellery (hallmarkable silver once fired) and at the end of the session you will take home your finished pieces. 10g of silver clay (around £30 worth of supplies) is included in the course fee.
I am a certified PMC instructor although use both PMC and Art clay brands, a level 3 qualified teacher and have been teaching specialist craft classes for over 15 years.
Want to book click here.
Want to find out more – email me
I’ve just updated the website – I know it’s been a while! My girls are at Guide Camp so I’m taking my mind off it by catching up on some admin.
Hopefully, you’ll find all the info you need here but do get in touch if anything does not make sense. If you want to do crafts as a group I’d love to hear from you and am more than happy to discuss costs, email me here.
The next couple of classes I have coming up at other venues are:
18th August – EJart Encaustic art taster sessions (Woodbridge area)
9 – 11th Sept FSC Flatford Mill Jewellery weekend including Silver clay and enamelling (East Bergholt, Suffolk)
The Peers Family are back from a lovely holiday on the Isle of Wight and back to normality!
Before we went away I restocked my shelf at the fabulous Dedham Art and Craft Centre. If you are in the market for unique gifts, look no further. I am situated on the second floor near the clothing section but there are three whole floors of exciting handcrafted and also hand-selected items for sale.
With summer on its way, I’m pleased to say that for the moment at least it feels ok to book a few things and almost look forward to them, having had a recent bout of covid in our house you can never be entirely sure but optimism is daring to creep back. With that in mind I just wanted to tell you about a couple of classes I have coming up.
Sat 18th June – Silver Clay beginners here at CG Crafts. This is a very small class, so you will have plenty of attention and access to lots of tools and resources at the beginning of your silver jewelry journey. If you’ve been before I am happy to extend the techniques you have tried.
Fri 15th to Sun 17th July – Jewellery weekend residential class at the amazing FSC flatford Mill – although you don’t have to stay if you are local. I will be covering both Enamelling and Silver clay and you’ll have plenty of time to work on your own designs and try out new techniques. Food is supplied whether you stay or not. It’s such a beautiful location who can fail to be inspired? Plus you’ll go home with lots of amazing jewellery.
I’m often asked by my students which of the crafts that I teach do I like best?
That’s such a hard question. What I do like in constantly discovering new things to try (or add to the list) and that is especially so with Enamelling. The number of different techniques you can try is mind-blowing and then there are all the different design possibilities. Artists such as Sandra McEwen spend a lifetime marrying up their metalsmithing skills with their enamelling ones and specialising in one or two of these techniques in Sandra’s case Cloisonne and champleve. Like everything else the more you do the better you get – everything takes practice.
For those interested in Enamelling here is a brief guide to how to enamel using a kiln.
I would also like to add here that often artists and enamellers do things in slightly different ways, as with most things, you make it work for you and can only teach from your own experience, so I would never say you can only do things my way and I am always happy to learn – hence my passion for teaching.
What is Enamelling?
In this case we’re talking about vitreous enamel, which is the fusing of glass to metal using extreme temperatures ((750oC and higher).
What is it used for?
Pieces of jewellery, or decorative items such as pictures and bowls. You’ll also see signs on the underground and even car badges that have been enamelled – these require specialist equipment.
1 Choose your metal
Generally, silver or copper are used although other metals do work. You need to pay particular attention to the metal temperature of your metal to ensure it won’t melt before your glass (enamel) does.
2 Prepare your metal
Fine silver needs little preparation but sterling silver needs to be fired and cleaned several times to reduce the amount of copper on the surface layer. Copper reacts in the kiln causing copper oxide or firescale which is a black layer that needs scrubbing off. Copper needs to be cleaned thoroughly prior to firing – usually with a scouring pad and detergent.
3 Prepare your enamels
You can buy enamels from several suppliers – WG Ball supplies to Cookson Gold in the UK, Vitrium Signum are also very popular with British enamellers as are Corby Kilns but do an internet search and you’ll find suppliers where you are based. Some enamellers never clean their enamels and others always clean them. If you clean your enamels, it produces a clearer glass and is particularly useful when using transparents.
4 Prepare your surface
You’ll need to balance your blank between something (I use two piles of coins) in order to be able to pick it up once you’ve applied enamel powder. You’ll also want to work on a clean sheet for each colour used as this helps to prevent contamination of colours.
5 Counter enamel
Counter enamel, or enamelling the back is done for 3 main reasons. 1 To ensure equal tension on the front and back of the piece – or the glass may break off. 2 To reduce the amount of firescale that builds up. 3 To stop the piece that’s next to your skin tarnishing or causing your skin to go green.
5 Once enamel has been sifted on it can be fired on a stilt or a trivet.
6 Clean firescale off your blank
7 Add more layers to the back if necessary
8 The kiln
Although you can torch fire enamel I prefer to use the kiln for more successful results. Firing times vary depending on colour, size of your blank and what else may be applied, hence it is something you can only really pick up with experience. You’ll be amazed how quickly you just react to what has happened to your piece and troubleshoot timings. However, as a quick guide firings are around 30 seconds to a minute from 750oC.
8 Firing the front
A layer of enamelled colour can then be added to the front of your piece and fired.
9 Add further decoration or master further techniques by continuing to fire several times.
So those are the basics! There’s a lot to take in to start and I really see Enamelling as something that you keep returning to and experimenting with. One of the reasons that there aren’t lots of people teaching Enamelling (or not that I have come across) is that there are so many variables that can affect a piece. It is our job as Enamelling teachers to explain why things have happened and to try to enable students to resolve those issues, or reduce risks of things happening to help them achieve as close to their design aims as possible, for that reason people can get frustrated by it and for others (I consider myself highly in this camp) that is what makes it so interesting.
Making mistakes + troubleshooting = learning
Molten glass + Metal + kiln + experiments = Exciting results
If I’ve interested you and you are thinking about taking a class, here are a few that I have coming up:
Click here for classes in my workshop in Colchester (one to one or one to two) I can also organise dates to suit. These represent great value as you have lots of tutor interaction and I can easily tailor lesson to what you want to learn.
Watershed Studio – 19th July Enamelling for Beginners and Improvers (St Osyth, Tendring)
EJart – Sat 21st May Enamelling on Silver Clay (Woodbridge, Suffolk)
FSC Flatford Mill 3 day jewellery making course – 15th – 17th July inclusive, this a jewellery making weekend including silver clay and Enamelling (residential and non-residential students welcome). (Suffolk)
Any questions do ask. Best wishes, Toni