While speaking to a customer this morning he mentioned a silversmith, Michael Burton, that he used to use for repair work. Curious I googled him, and there was a lovely piece about his work on the Victoria & Albert Museum website. This reminded me that I was lucky enough to be commissioned for the last item in a collection commissioned by Professor B. Seymour Rabinovitch in 2005, so I then searched for myself on the V&A, and yes, I am there! But unfortunately they do not have the images of my folding fish slice, as seen here.
Elements Online 6th-8th November 2020
I very much enjoyed being at Elements Festival of Jewellery, Silver and Gold in Edinburgh last year. Sadly, as so many other events, this year they have had to create the show online. It is great that prospective customers and lovers of silver will still be able to view a host of amazing work from talented craftsmen from around the UK, but sad that one of the key things I always feel people get the most from is being able to handle my work. Feeling the textures and acknowledging the weight of a piece is often a turning point from admiring to coveting an item! I hope people will engage with me online and I can do my best to answer questions about my work from afar...
Exhibiting at Elements 2019
I haven't done a show for a few years, running two companies doesn't leave me much time. However, I have a soft spot for Edinburgh, and so I applied and got into Elements. Currently running 8th-10th November 2019. I'd had an idea for some thistle tumblers, so have spent the past few weeks designing and chasing these to take. I'm really pleased with how they've turned out, and hope the customers visiting will be interested too.
Batch order for Sipsmith Gin
At the moment I am busy managing a big order of copper jiggers for Sipsmith Gin. As you can see, it is making me feel a little manic as I see them through being cut, spun, stamped, polished and engraved! We love being asked to do these special jobs though, and it's always a good excuse to buy a bottle of Sipsmiths to reward ourselves when they've all been delivered.
Best husband of the year award goes to...
..Well, it's not me as I have been spending my weekend mornings making this for a friend for his wife! It couldn't be a complete surprise as it needed to fit against her wedding band and suit her engagement ring, so she let me borrow these while I created the design and perfected the setting. I don't often work with stones, but I have to admit, I really enjoyed making this one. Take care of it Lianne!
Having a 'Hoot' this Christmas
November is the time of year when I have a flurry of enquiries for my Christmas Decorations to help adorn my retail customers shop windows. This year there is an owl being hatched to join the flock, with wide eyes it can peek out at you from your tree for many years to come. A finished photo will hopefully be ready soon...
Tumbler Cup Leaving Present
I often wonder about the people who either commission my work, or receive it, so I was delighted to read that the tumbler cup I had made for a leaving present for Spencer Batiste of the Sheffield Assay Office had been presented. He looks quite pleased with it, doesn't he?
Making Wedding Bands
Over the summer I was delighted when a regular work customer enquired about he and his wife-to-be coming in to make their wedding bands. Over the course of about six hours I helped them hammer out the bar of metal and form their rings. The end result? A beautiful pair of wedding bands, handmade for each other.
In The Goldsmiths Collection
I had a huge dilemma last week. I was extremely busy preparing work for The Goldsmiths Fair, opening 22nd September, but I had also received a quite unique invitation. The Goldsmiths Company had selected my 'Hot Squeezed Vase' to be in their collection after seeing it at last year's Fair. The Company holds a world-renowned collection of British silver and commissions exceptional creative work each year, which is now being shown in an exhibition in Edinburgh: The Silversmith’s Art: Made in Britain Today. My invitation was to the opening night of this exhibition. It seemed like too good an offer to refuse, so Thursday morning I drove my wife and I the 4.5 hours journey to attend, then back again on the following morning and straight back into the workshop to finish my preparations. It is an amazing collection and I feel humbled and proud to see a piece of my own work included.
I have a customer in China who commissioned me for a pair of perfectly matched spoons before Christmas. She was obviously pleased with her purchase, as a few weeks ago she asked me if I might be able to make a pair of silver playing cards for another wedding present. Luckily my wife Karen is a Graphic Designer, so between us we came up with the designs using the couple's initials and names. A few hours of hand engraving later we have these beautiful cards ready for her. I felt that such a unique set of silver deserved an equally unique box, so handmade this box incorporating magnets to hold the wood ends in place that held the cards flat inside.
Rudolph Appears in The Telegraph
I was delighted to receive an email earlier in the week from The Goldsmiths Company to tell me that The Telegraph had chosen my Rudolph the Reindeer Silver Christmas Decoration to appear in it's magazine. There it was, hanging alongside a Wedgewood decoration. It is so lovely when as a small, independent craftsman you are picked to sit alongside the 'big boys'. I am much like one of Father Christmas' elves this time of year, working away as much as I can to make as many people happy by receiving their orders in time for Christmas as I can... Better get cutting some more Rudolphs out...
Christmas Art and Food Market at Worksop
This is the first year that I have applied to have a stall at The Christmas Art & Food Market at The Harley Gallery, Worksop. As you can see, they chose my tumbler cups to use on the leaflet, but the trouble is I have so much work to make in the lead up to Christmas; will I have a pair ready to take with me to the event on 28th November? I will be brewing up some coffee and working into the evenings to get a good selection of work ready to sell at the event. #HarleyArtMarket
In the media
It is always nice to be asked by a journalist if they can showcase a piece of your work. A few weeks ago Philippa Clark from The Financial Times rang me up enquiring about my Perfectly Matched Spoons. As you can see, she had previously drawn attention to my Coffee Bean Cafetiere.
Making the Rough with the Smooth
I wanted to make some new vases for this year. It's always good to attempt something a bit different, and for these I went back to my preferred way of developing new ideas by playing with cardboard models instead of drawing in 2D. This allows me to create different curves which then force me to consider how I can work the silver to re-create the planes. I am particularly keen on the juxtaposition of the finishes on these pieces, but of course, for anyone commissioning a piece from me I can give my work the finish that they prefer.
I can feel Christmas...
September may be too early for most people, but I have to get thinking about Christmas well in advance. The Goldsmiths Fair is coming up on 30th September so I am well into Christmas Decoration production. This is the sheet of Rudolphs ready to be transformed into beautiful embossed decorations for this Christmas. I will of course be making my other designs too for anyone who has seen a design and been tempted to buy one this year.
Allez! Allez! It's nearly Le Tour time!
I have been quite excited about Le Tour coming to Yorkshire ever since I found out about it. As a keen cyclist I wanted to make something that I would like to have to remind me of the event, and hopefully something that many other people would like. The final product is this Yorkshire Rose Bicycle Stem Cap. They came back from the anodisers better than I could have imagined, and are now available to buy from my website. I also made a Facebook page to spread the word. I am hoping that some of my customers who buy one will send me in pictures of it in action on it's travels.
Last Christmas Orders!
I am working on getting the last of my Christmas orders out in time for Christmas. My new presentation boxes seem to have been a hit, hopefully my customer's decorations won't go missing from one Christmas to the next if they are stored in them when not hung on the tree. If you have a decoration with gold leaf applied please be extra careful with it. You can lightly rub the silver with a silver cloth, or I like to get a kitchen scourer and gently rub over to create the sparkly texture, but do not touch the gold leaf or it will scratch. The last day I can take orders to guarantee delivery in time for the big day this year, 2013, is Friday 13th December. Merry Christmas!
November is Christmas Time!
Many of us try not to think too much about Christmas until December, but at the workshop we are well into it. Here I am cutting out some of my Christmas Doves of Peace from a sheet of sterling silver. I then emboss them by putting them in a press with the unique pattern to form the wings, head and tail shapes. They then fly off to the Assay Office to be stamped. Finally, I file round the edges, give them a polish and then add a gentle bit of texturing to make them that extra bit sparkly!
Christmas time again!
As usual I am finishing off work for the Goldsmith's Fair right up to the last minute. Here are my new Christmas Decorations, Gold Rings, drying as they have been freshly gold-leafed. Before gold-leafing the silver has to be completely finished off, hallmarked, polished and textured, before being painted with a special glue which is left to dry until it is tacky. Then I use a paintbrush to carefully lay the sheets of gold leaf over and brush on. Hopefully the finished effect is worth it.
Preparing for the Goldsmiths' Fair
This is always an extra busy time of year for me as I prepare to go and exhibit at the Goldsmiths Fair', London. Visitors like to see new work on show, as well as the favourites, and this year I have designed a teapot using my distinctive radial chased lines. The teapot isn't quite finished, but if you come along to see me in London it will hopefully have pride of place, and maybe I can pour you a cuppa!
Salt Cellar Workshop
I have great pleasure in sharing with you these delightful salt cellars that my first weekend workshoppers made last Saturday. I started the day with a tour round my workshop, which always provides lots of questions about the weird and wonderful machinery and tools that we have. Then I worked with my 3 pupils to prepare the blank, cut the circle, spin the shape and pattern the piece. I am pleased to say everyone who came said that they thoroughly enjoyed the day and found it to be very rewarding. I offered them the chance to get their salt cellars hallmarked, which all 3 took me up on, so their finished pieces are sat on my bench awaiting a trip to the Assay Office. I hope it won't be long before these individual pieces are reunited with their makers and took home to be treasured. Well done Jane, Mike and Geoffrey!
If you are interested in doing a workshop with me get in touch. I have lots of ideas for the future, including hand forging a spoon, but yours may be better!
Silver Goblets for the Worshipful Company of Cooks
After several months of meticulous work I have just delivered a set of silver goblets with gilt interiors to the Worshipful Company of Cooks. To get 24 cups individually spun, soldered to their stem and foot, then gilded, engraved and polished was quite a feat! It involved many expert makers apart from myself, including a spinner, engraver, polisher, and box maker to put together the silk lined boxes needed to store the treasure.
Evening at The Famous Sheffield Shop
I was asked by Paul Iseard of The Famous Sheffield Shop, to make a silver salt cellar. He has just had his own Assay mark registered, and this item was to be the first item to be marked with it. He invited me to give a short talk about making it at the shop on an evening when he had invited Emma Paragreen from the Assay Office to also give a talk about the Assay office.
It was a wonderful evening where I got the chance to explain how I made the item, and also how much time can be spent making some of my other items. The attendees seemed very excited to be able to handle some of my work, and it was great to be able to let them!
I also launched my new workshops, inviting people to come to my workshop in Sheffield and make their own salt cellar. I hope to introduce more of these in the coming months, so watch this space!
Perfectly Matched Spoons
These spoons are hand forged. Made to fit together perfectly, they can be engraved along the handles, so only when they are together are they complete to read.
Originally a commission, I enjoyed the idea and process so much that I made myself a pair to exhibit. I took some pictures along the way, why not take a look at what is involved?