A quick update

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)

This month’s update

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.

These pictures were taken at my beginner’s class held at Ejart Creative, Woodbridge

A glass act

Enamelling landscapes

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

Smarten up

Usually, January and February are times when I get on with planning and sorting out, but for various reasons it’s been a slow start. Who doesn’t like a deadline though? No sooner had I started sorting through all the STUFF in my workshop, I took a booking for this week. Just look at the mess! Still having a sort out is good and now hopefully most things are easier to find (she laughs). I even have a dedicated space for works in progress and believe me I have a lot of those!
I also have a few ideas brewing for classes, such as combining soldering and silver clay to make cufflinks and earrings and for myself, I always intend to build on my silversmithing skills.
What skills do you want to build on this year?


You can sign up to my mailing list to get up to date class info and subscriber discounts as well as hearing more about my experiments and discoveries.

I know I won’t be the only one who has spent a great deal of the last year building on existing skills or learning new ones. Creativity is something that can really keep you going at the best of times and most especially now. It has also given me time to have a think about offering themed classes or classes focusing on a specific technique, which I do to a certain extent but I think I need to be clearer about it! Haha she says as she waffles along.
I’m going to post some photos of work I have been doing with @pmcstudio as part of my silver clay certification, some of which I already offer but have learn some extra tips for you. Do let me know which techniques particularly intrigue you, or what others you might like to learn. Some of the classes may be taught online (I am offering a few via @ejartcreative at the moment). Later in the year I hope to be able to tell you more about Camp PMC 101 which I hope to be able to teach soon.

I am also learning papercutting (pictured is a great kit by @KatySuedesigns but I am working on some basic ideas for a class for those who need to be guided a little more and this will be @watershedstudio later in the year (hopefully).

I know some techniques get people really excited, whereas others they can take or leave, so it would be really great to get some feedback.

I’ll tell you a little more about dates etc in my newsletter. If you’d like to sign up do get in touch.

Keep safe and creative.


Unique silver jewellery

New ways to shop this Christmas

Are you feeling Christmas ready? I know I’m not! I am trying to think of where to hide the presents I’ve already bought, whilst stopping my kittens getting into the boxes and destroying the contents – they do believe a box arrives everyday in this house!

What I now need to do is tell you about what my small business can offer you for Christmas!

I teach small classes in Colchester – these are not your bog standard classes but more specialised crafts: Enamelled Jewellery, Silver Clay Jewellery (fine silver), Encaustic art, Felt making and Flamework (making glass beads). My workshop fits 2 people for a class (not including me), comfortably so if you are worried about mixing in big groups you don’t need to. I offer a gift letter for you to purchase a class but detailing how the recipient can book a date to suit them. These classes are intended for adult crafters who have already done the usual things and are looking for something a bit more challenging.
You can book class vouchers here, or by emailing me. I have a few handcrafted items on sale here too.

I also make jewellery for sale. My Etsy shop is up and running and you can buy items here – if you are local get in touch as I may be able to offer delivery rather than posting items out.

I also have items for sale at EJart Creative in Woodbridge – the sell online and will also be open for business from 2nd December.

Next week Colcheco will be opening and will have a selection of my work.

This weekend I will be taking part in A Handcrafted Business online fair which will give you details of lots of lovely handcrafted items – I’ll post the link later.

That’s all for now, never have there been more ways to shop from the luxury of your own home!

Keep safe and keep in touch. Toni

Still I wonder where the time has gone

This year has been a strange one for all of us. We’ve all been hit in different ways and it’s important to acknowledge this rather than simply ignore it and hope it goes away.

However we do need to take our minds off things and that is where I find doing something creative really helps. I’m not going to hark on to much but do remember a craft class does make a great present and something nice to look forward to in 2021! You can book vouchers here.

I’ve also updated my Etsy shop so if you fancy buying some unique jewellery (and greetings cards) do take a look.

Finally, if you are an enameller, I have just uploaded a little video to my Youtube channel showing you how to remove fired enamel (Pam East solution that I have meant to get around to trying for a while).

Enjoy and keep well folks.

Wishing you well during unsettled times

I just wanted to wish all my fellow crafters a well, safe and creative time during this difficult period.

If you have a class booked and I haven’t already messaged you, please accept my apologies for not getting in touch but obviously given the current lockdown I will be out of action for a couple of months at least. I will postpone anything booked and we’ll reschedule dates as soon as it’s safe to do so. If you are interested in classes, I am happy to pencil in dates but for much later in the year.

I am planning to post a few videos on YouTube – which is a great source of crafting and other info so do check it out if you are looking for creative inspiration (not necessarily from me!)

This is the link to my channel

Do get in touch if you are stuck at home and have any questions regarding the crafts I teach but most of all keep safe and well and I look forward to seeing you on the other side.

Toni x

2020 Class dates (so far)

Classes with Toni – 2020 dates

Just some ideas of enamelled pieces you could make in a class

Classes and class gift vouchers make excellent presents for crafty people and people who are hard to buy for/don’t want anymore ‘stuff’.

Classes at CG Crafts are bookable on my website or for external venues see details below.

Sat 25th Jan 10 – 2pm Silver Clay beginners £89 Per person CG Crafts – www.cgcrafts.co.uk
Weds 29th January 10 – 2pm Silver Clay beginners £89 per person CG Crafts – SOLD OUT

Contact me to organise dates (weekdays or weekend) to suit in January – 01206 973753

Sat 1st Feb 10 – 3.30pm Enamelling beginners Contact venue –
Simply Handmade, Sudbury
01787 827117
Thurs 6th Feb 10.30 – 4.30pm Enamelling Beginners £90 EJart Creative (Woodbridge, Suffolk)
01473 735007
Fri 7th Feb 10 to 2pm Silver Clay 89.00 CG Crafts
My home workshop in Colchester where I also offer dates to suit.
07847 098849
Sun 9th Feb 10 – 3pm Enamelling The Studio Ipswich
07521 665449

Weds 12th Feb 10 – 2.30pm Feltmaking – needle and wet £85.00 CG Crafts – – www.cgcrafts.co.uk
Sat 15th Feb 10.30 – 3.30pm Encaustic Art 90.00 EJart Creative (Woodbridge, Suffolk)
01473 735007
Sat 22nd Feb 10 – 2pm Silver Clay £89.00 CG Crafts  – www.cgcrafts.co.uk
Sun 23rd Feb 10 – 3pm Enamelling – Cloisonne £85.00 CG Crafts – – www.cgcrafts.co.uk
Contact me to organise dates (weekdays or weekend) to suit in February – 01206 973753

Thurs 5th March 10.30 – 3pm Silver Clay EJart Creative (Woodbridge, Suffolk)
01473 735007
Sat 7th March 10 – 3.30 Enamelling 85.00 CG Crafts
My home workshop in Colchester where I also offer dates to suit.
07847 098849
Sun 8th March 10 – 3pm Encaustic art The Studio Ipswich
07521 665449
13th to 15th March Weekend class Enamelling weekend incl Cloisonne FSC Flatford Mill
01206 297110
Sat 21st March 10.30 to 4.30pm Enamelling 90.00 EJart Creative (Woodbridge, Suffolk)
01473 735007
Sat 28th March 10 – 2pm Silver Clay Beginners 89.00 CG Crafts
My home workshop in Colchester where I also offer dates to suit.
07847 098849
Sun 29th March 10 – 2PM Silver Clay The Studio Ipswich
07521 665449
Contact me to organise dates (weekdays or weekend) to suit in March – 01206 973753

Sun 5th April 10 – 3.30pm Encaustic art 85.00 CG Crafts
My home workshop in Colchester where I also offer dates to suit.
07847 098849
Sat 18th April 10 – 3.30pm Feltmaking 85.00 CG Crafts
My home workshop in Colchester where I also offer dates to suit.
07847 098849
Weds 22nd April 10 – 2.30pm Encaustic art £85.00 CG Crafts – www.cgcrafts.co.uk
Thurs 23rd April 10.30 to 3.30pm Enamelling on silver clay EJart Creative (Woodbridge, Suffolk)
01473 735007

Sat 2nd May Needle Felted Animals Twixt Time and Tide, Maldon
07712 420100

Sat 6th June 9.30 to 5pm Silver Clay day FSC Flatford Mill
01206 297110
Sun 7th June 9.30 to 5pm Encaustic art day FSC Flatford Mill
01206 297110
Sat 13th June 9 to 1pm Silver Clay Simply Handmade, Sudbury
01787 827117
Sat 20th June 10.30 to 3.30pm Silver Clay EJart Creative (Woodbridge, Suffolk)
01473 735007
Contact me to organise dates (weekdays or weekend) to suit in June, July, August and September – 01206 973753

Sat 17th Oct 10 to 1pm Encaustic art Simply Handmade, Sudbury
01787 827117

Sun 1st Nov 10 to 3.30pm Enamelling Simply Handmade, Sudbury
01787 827117

4th to 6th Dec Weekend Class Jewellery weekend -Enamelling and Silver clay FSC Flatford Mill
01206 297110
Sat 12th Dec 9.30 to 5pm Christmas Feltmaking FSC Flatford Mill
01206 297110

Make jewellery from your children’s art

After my first successful order, I am now happy to let you know that I can turn your child’s art into silver jewellery. It’s very exciting as it’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages. So do get in touch if you are interested. Prices will vary depending on how much  silver I need to use, or you could even book a class and come and have a try at doing it yourself! Pictures are of some of the stages involved in creating Lily and Amy’s silver masterpieces. Thanks for your order (young) ladies! Get in touch to find out more.

Original picture is sent over – ideally it needs to be black and white and the white needs to show up more than this one.

Image is inverted

I make a stamp

Silver clay is used to create pendant and image is ‘stamped’ onto it.

Silver is fired (now 99.9% fine silver) and polished. Findings attached and it is sent off to its new home.