After a very strange year of Covid, Brexit and the perimenopause I am really pleased to finally be using these new ceramic mechanisms for my salt and pepper mill sets from Jon Whateley at Prokraft!
I needed to buy a new batch and after quite a lot of research I decided on these as they had a slightly more refined high quality ceramic grinder, contained no plastic parts and I have been able to work with Jon to develop a custom made brass knob for the top. He has been fantastic, and couldn’t have been more helpful, making sure that I was completely happy with the design.
It feels like there has been a massive shift in the world. Certainly for me I feel that it is even more important to be making hand made, sustainable, high quality pieces that people can use and enjoy in their homes for many years.
The National Eisteddfod of Wales will soon begin in Llanrwst, North Wales on the 2nd August 2019. I have been having fun collaborating with paper artist Chloe Augusta Needham on some new Moth lamps and we were thrilled that these were selected to be exhibited at the Y Lle Celf – the Eisteddfod’s visual arts gallery. It’s a great place to exhibit as it attracts 40,000 visitors during the course of the week!
Below are some work in progress photos of the new lamps – Moth II and Moth III that we have been working on that you will be able to see on show.
I’m happy to soon be showing again at the Clay Barn down near Stratford Upon Avon. I’m currently busy making new mills for the show and it will be the only place you can see them in the flesh this year! It should be a great show with 7 other talented makers displaying their wares. (directions are at the bottom of the page)
The WIT (Women in Turning) organised ‘Turnabout – Women at the Lathe’ exhibition is now about to open at Arrowmont School of the Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA on August the 10th 2018. It will run until October 10th giving people another chance to see this diverse selection of work.
The image above is from this months American Woodturner Aug 2018 vol 33, no 4.
This is my latest salt and pepper mill design – a set inspired by the wonderful hand tinted botanical lithographs of the nineteenth century. They also pay homage to the exotic and extravagant interior of Brighton Pavillion, the seaside residence of King George IV.
I was making a piece for the upcoming all-woman show ‘Turnabout: Women at the Lathe’ organised by the WIT (Women In Turning) branch of the American Woodturners Association. I have made of lot of salt and pepper mills over the years, but never exhibited them in any exhibitions in the USA so I thought it was time that I made a special set for this interesting exhibition.
I was really pleased with how they came out, with the pyrographed artichoke leaves and new purple texture on the tops to represent the flowers, and so I went on to also use the inspiration to make a new coleopteran pendant too!
The show will travel to three venues:
Appalachian Center for Craft (ACC), Smithville, TN, January 15- March 12, 2018
AAW Gallery of Wood Art, St. Paul, MN, June 3-July 29, 2018
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN, August 10-October 10, 2018 (exact dates to be finalized.)
Helen, Dilys, Dawn,Stephen and Emmi talking about drilling
Stephen’s homemade hole-punching jigs
South entrance of Plas Tan y Bwlch
Emmi, Sue, Dilys, Chris, Helen and Stephen
Copper, silver and unknown stone pendant
View over the valley at the front of Pas Tan y Bwch
Stephen, Chris, Sue, Dawn and Helen
I’ve just come back from a fun weekend, taking part in a jewellery course at Plas Tan y Bwlch – the beautiful Snowdonia National Park Environmental Studies Centre with stunning views of the valley of the River Dwyryd. (click on Plas Tan y Bwlch for more information about other interesting course that they have there)
Run by Stephen O’Keeffe it was a great way of recapping many basic jewellery skills that I’d learnt many years ago at Brighton Uni as well as some new techniques that I was very keen to learn about, such as setting stones. Stephen, with his years of experience teaching jewellery making gave us many useful tips to make things easier and was also great at showing us how to make many special jigs and tools to help keep our budgets down. Working on a number of projects, I got to set my first cabachon – a skill that I’m excited about being able to use in my one off pieces in the future.
The nine of us on the course were lucky to be doing it in the wood panelled library – a fine space with beautiful views. The tables were a little bit wobbly to be hammering on but we managed ok!
It was great to get out of the workshop for a bit, meet some lovely new people, learn some new things and eat lots of good food. I now feel ready to get back to my orders…almost…
I’ve just returned home after a great week down in London for Wizardry in Wood. Although I hate having to drive in central London it was worth it to catch up with old friends and new at the show at Carpernter’s Hall. It was also really interesting seeing how everyone uses turning in different ways!
I had made a special set of mills for the Open Themed Competition. The theme was celebrating the 350th Anniversary of the Great Fire of London. I’ve always loved the patterns and styles of the black and white Tudor buildings and so I thought it would be fun to make a pair inspired by the Pudding Lane Bakery building where the fire started. I turned the basic shapes and on the bases marked out a design based on the wattle and daub timber framed shop with its tiny glass paned windows and brick herringbone in-fills. I then looked into painting and etching of the period for ideas for the flames which I wanted to have on the tops. I found a great etching from a book about the Great Fire by Samuel Rolle, written in 1667. I loved the rolling smoke and simple flames in the image and used this as inspiration, and used acrylic modelling paste to create extra texture in the flames and many layers of acrylic paint for the flames.
I was really pleased with the result – so different from my other work and I was very happy to win first prize when there was very stiff competition! Many thanks to the judges and to both of the Sheriffs of London who purchased sets!
Banner for Wizardry outside Carpenters Hall
Felix Levy Open Competition 1st Andrew Mason 2nd Sally Burnett 3rd Roy Weare
In the last few months I have been working on an exciting new collaboration with Chloe Needham, a paper artist also living in North Wales.
It has been really interesting working with someone who’s medium is completely different to mine and one I haven’t had any experience of before (except being slightly obsessed with cutting things up with scissors when I was at school!).
After some discussions together at Chloe’s house in Llanrwst we eventually decided on a design for a sculptural moth light. With me making the body and Chloe the delicate coloured wings, the moth would rest on a bare bulb hanging on a wall.
We were then very fortunate to be able to visit Rhyd-y-Creuau – the Field Studies Centre in North Wales (and where my partner Mark works) – where we were able to look at the moths caught the night before by Alice, and their collection of moths and butterflies. It was great to be able to see them in 3D, see how they moved and flew and look closely at the fine details.
Looking at the moth trap at Rhyd-y-Creuau
Chloe and Alice
Chloe and me
We are close to finishing the piece and hope to have it ready in time for me to show it at Wizardry in Wood in London this October (www.wizardryinwood.com)
I will be exhibiting in London from the 12th-15th Oct 2016 at Wizardry in Wood – organised by the Worshipful Company of Turners, and only held every 4 years. You can find out more and buy tickets at https://wizardryinwood.com/
One of the oldest Livery Companies in the City of London, the Turners’ Company was already a guild in the 12th Century. Some 200 years later, Edward III decreed that ‘wooden measures, as well for wine as for ale’ should be made only by ‘turnours’ with marks of their own – and the medieval turners established the English ‘pint’ as an official measure. In 1604 the Company received its Royal Charter from James I.
This year their one of competitions is commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London and I have made a special piece inspired by the start of the fire at the bakery at Pudding Lane which will be exhibited at the show.
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