My grandmother was a silversmith, she introduced mini-me to metalwork in the mid 1980's, by then she had taught hundreds of others her craft; she'd lived through 2 world wars; raised 4 children, travelled the world and worked as a puppeteer assistant performing to London’s glitterati. . .Read More
I’ve started working on a range of wooden pendants inspired by the garden in the Arthur Rank Hospice who helped me a lot last summer.
The first few will be on show at Open Studios - feedback will be welcome!
A show featuring my grandmother Catherine 'Casty' Cobb's silverwork opened in Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft in May it runs until 13th October 2019.
This beautifully curated exhibition shows textiles, ceramics and silverwork made by talented craftwomen women in the 1920's - 40's, many of them were Casty’s friends.
Amongst Casty’s work is a lovely necklace with glass beads on loan from the crafts study centre in Farnham, a beautiful gold ruff necklace and bracelet lent by the Goldsmiths Company, London.
In the wake of the suffragette movement and post industrial revolution between the wars, women enjoying new freedoms were motivated to keep handmade craftwork traditions alive while experimenting with new bold designs. Many of the women included in the show were friends with my grandmother, either studying with her at the Central School of Art and Crafts or selling along side her through Muriel Rose's Little Gallery.
In honour of Casty I’ve been using pique - her favourite technique to make wooden pendants. This one is available at the Ditchling museum shop.
I'm very grateful to Donna and all the team at the museum for the care they've taken curating this wonderful collection (on til October) and I'm so proud of my grandmother, grateful to her for leading me along this crafty path!
I’ve been collecting a digital archive of my Casty’s work and will write another longer post about her soon! . . .
Here’s a slide show of Botanical pendants and their source photos taken in Fulbourn Fen.
All etched in recycled sterling silver.
Click the arrow in the image to play!
10% of each item purchased will be donated to The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire* who's work looking after natural, wild places is more important than ever.
The trust manage dozens of nature reserves in the area, protecting, restoring and recreating habitats with rich biodiversity.
Fulbourn Fen is important to me as a rich source of inspiration as well as a place to recharge, stretch my back at the end of long days at the workbench.
I’ll be adding new designs to the website in the coming weeks.
Here are highlights from my orders and experiments, as well as photos of random beautiful things. All taken in the past year or so. These are the Images that got the most love on my Instagram.
Best 9 Rings
(scroll down to see details of each).
Several of this years bespoke rings used the customers own gemstones and gold. New life was given to old family jewellery and gems stashed away for decades after travelling to exotic places. Making new wearable things from unloved bits of jewellery is very satisfying!
Best 9 (non silver) Instagram.
As an antidote to sitting still focusing of tiny, shiny things for hours on end, I go for long walks and take photos whenever I can. Many things I capture give me ideas for things I’d like to make. When time allows, these photos get translated into silver, it usually it takes months or sometimes years.
Instagram is a good place to edit, filter and share the best of these photos. Colours, textures or patterns kept safe and accessible for future design reference.
Best 9 (Non Rings) Silver of 2018
(scroll down to see details of each).
Orders for bespoke rings have taken up most of my workbench time this past year. Here are a few photos of things other than rings, that got love on Instagram.
I got a little more time for enamelling (not nearly as much as I’d like!). I’m hoping to find time in 2019 to try Plique-a-jour again, something I’ve not done for years - using the coloured enamel to form tiny transparent sections in silver frames (think miniature stained glass) a fiddly, tricksy technique but So satisfying and beautiful when it works!
With a lots of practise I got a little better at the art of Keum Boo (another fiddly technique, fusing pure gold leaf to silver). And I got a bit carried away designing some dragonfly wings!
I’m hoping for a peaceful year with fewer distractions than the previous few.
Live in hope! Happy New Year Everyone!
I am doing Maggie's Culture Crawl, a 10 mile walk around London in memory of my friend Vivia who died a year ago. I've written a blog about Viv's illness, our contact with Maggie's and their beautiful buildings.Read More
One of the benefits of being self-employed is having the flexibility to spend time with loved ones when needed. Most of this last summer, I've been lucky enough to be able to let work slide a little to have time with a friend at the end of her life.
I'm limiting the amount of bespoke work i take on in the next few weeks while i get back on track and gently get myself back into the work groove.
Spring - I Love this time of year! Fulbourn Fen the nature reserve near home becomes a lush leafy paradise that causes ideas to overflow. It's always a balancing act - giving design ideas space to grow while keeping my to do list and orders book in check!
Life has been full this last couple of years. Family changes - the loss of my dad, the clearing and renovation of his wonderful but dilapidated-time-capsule-library of a house; the gaining of a teenage step-son (amongst other things!) has meant much less time at the workbench.
I've managed to squeeze in a fair few special orders though!
Renovations are now very close to completion so things should soon become more settled, which means more time to focus on all the new design ideas I've had brewing.
More of these! . . .
The rest of 2017 brought huge challenges,
but I did finish that locket! >>
I've enjoyed working on new photoetchable designs - adding gold has been a satisfying little development.
The pieces below will be on show and available at Histon Handmade on April 15th
In May I have set aside some time for traditional enamelling - a technique that I haven't practised for several years - a special request for an Indian style enamelled locket means that I have the perfect excuse to play with some colour again and revisit old sketch books. Watch this space for developments in the coming months.
Happy New Year to all you likers, followers, customers and friends!!!
Here are a few of my favourite pieces from 2014. Most of them have sold, several were special orders, others were made just for fun. . .
I've been bursting with new design ideas lately, I can't wait to start playing around and harvesting ideas!. . .Read More
Etching has been a technique on my *must master* list for years. I'm very pleased I've finally made time for it.
The motivation finally came from a customer in the States, who had bought a couple of pendants from me on Etsy.
She wanted a locket as a memorial to loved one, but had a limited budget - I really wanted to make something nice for her.
A lot of preparation went into getting ready this year! Tools and books had piled up since I last took part 2 years ago. So the giant slider puzzle to clear the small display space began months before. . .Read More
Fulbourn Fen a nature reserve is almost on my doorstep. After hours sitting still at my workbench absorbed in minutiae, a walk to stretch my back and bring my eyes back into focus is often needed.
The beautiful, sometimes surreally idyllic meadows and woods give me a place to change gear in-between jobs, or let a problem fade away and often resolve itself. . .Read More
I've been taking part in Cambridge Open Studios since the late 1990's. My workshop is open to the public for a couple of weekends in July. I show my recent work and meet lots of friendly locals.
2014 will be a great year to visit Fulbourn. There will be over 30 artists showing their work in the area during the middle two weekends in July (12/13th + 19th/20th) so a visit to Fulbourn should be worth the trip! . . .