Friday, 2 March 2018

Making silver charms for a charm swap

I'm looking forward to attending the You Can Make It residential metal clay conference in just a few weeks time. Although I'll admit I'm not looking forward to the train journey! This time last year I still lived in London and so the journey was only a few hours. This time I live in Scotland and it's likely to be at least 7 hours on the train. I looked at the option of flying but I'm teaching soldering and need to bring all my equipment. I didn't fancy getting there to find my butane torches had been confiscated at the airport! I'll do a blog post on my epic journey! I've just checked, it's 470 miles away. Last year I only had to travel 130 miles.
Anyway, I've been getting ready for the conference, writing some notes for my workshop sessions, making sure I have all the materials and samples I need etc. One of the fun things I've been preparing for is the charm swap. We make charms and then swap them with others at the conference and make a charm bracelet (or necklace). It's a really lovely idea and I have lots of charms from last year. This year I've made 30 tartan-inspired charms. Here's a quick snap of them.
I've seen on facebook some of the gorgeous charms that others have made so it should be a fun swap

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Silver clay on the BBC

If you are reading this blog then you probably already know that I make jewellery with a material called metal clay. It's not a well known material so I was really pleased to see it featuring on a programme on BBC1. The programme is called Countryfile and a metal clay artist called Emma Mitchell was featured, interviewed by Anita Rani. Emma talked about the mental health benefits of getting out into the countryside and getting inspiration from nature and natural surroundings. They picked leaves and other natural materials and used them to make moulds and silver jewellery.
It's fantastic that silver clay was featured on TV as it raises awareness of the material. The metal clay world is quite small but I haven't met Emma yet although she is also teaching at the You Can Make It metal clay conference in March so I am looking forward to meeting her there.
You can watch the programme here on the BBC iplayer until 6th March 2018 (but only if you're in the UK unfortunately). The piece on metal clay starts around 45 minutes in.

If you're inspired to make silver clay jewellery with leaves and natural materials then you're in luck! I am teaching a special beginners class with a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh where we will make moulds and collect fallen leaves. We will then make silver clay jewellery with our unique moulds inspired by nature. If you'd like to know more about this course and see some more inspiring photos then check out the information on my website here.

Samples for my Silver Botanics: inspired by nature class

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Business matters article for Making Jewellery magazine

As part of my role for the London Jewellery School I've been writing the Business Matters column in Making Jewellery magazine for six months now. We've been doing an interview series with jewellers on different aspects of jewellery business. However, this month I am actually featured! I wrote an article on getting press coverage which would be relevant for all small businesses.
The magazine is available from Smiths and larger supermarkets so do check it out! It's issue 116, March 2018.

This image is shared with permission, copyright GMC publications

Monday, 22 January 2018

Featured member at Creative Edinburgh

I am pleased to have been chosen as one of Creative Edinburgh's featured members this month! Being a part of Creative Edinburgh has been fantastic for me, especially when I first arrived here. I was able to attend some networking events, meet other artists and make connections. It was through a Creative Edinburgh meeting that I got in touch with Lynn from the Arienas Collective and I now teach regularly for them. I am also a member of a creative entrepreneurs group that meets monthly to keep each other accountable, set goals and support each other and I met those members at an event too! I also found the studio that I have through them too - lots to be grateful for them for.
In addition to this I was filmed for a video business card as part of my Creative Edinburgh membership. You can see the film here.

Our Member - Anna Campbell [ Jewellery Tutor ] from Creative Edinburgh on Vimeo.

You can see my full profile here
If you have the opportunity to join a group like this I would definitely go for it! I've found it opened a lot of doors for me.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Behind the scenes at Making Jewellery magazine - writing a silver clay jewellery tutorial

I'm really excited that the silver clay tutorial I wrote for Making Jewellery magazine had been published. I was even more excited that my work was chosen for the front cover!

I was commissioned to write the tutorial by Sian Hamilton, the editor of Making Jewellery magazine.
Each issue has a theme and the theme for issue 114, January 2018 was fire and ice. I was asked to make six different pieces, write the step by step instructions and take photos as well. It's a lot to do and I didn't have a long time to get it done.

I started off thinking about designs. I actually started making a totally different piece but I woke up one morning and decided it wasn't complex enough for a tutorial. It was two days of work and I had to start from scratch but some elements of the idea did stick.

I decided to make lentil beads. These are round beads that are domed. It's an interesting project that works well in silver clay with lots of possibilities for beginners and more advanced learners so I decided that it would be good for the magazine.
I had to make 6 different pieces so I decided to do three styles - ice (pictured above), fire (pictured below right) and both (below left)!
I used a lot of gemstones - cubic zirconias from Metal Clay Ltd and beads for stringing the pieces onto from Shangrila gems. I also used Vintaj patina and XLgel liver of sulphur from Metal Clay Ltd.

Making jewellery on the train!
My husband helped me with the photos as I often needed to have my hands in the shot to show what I was doing. I used white A4 paper in the background of these shots. I found that part difficult. With silver clay you are often working fast to get things done and stopping to photograph, especially when you have bright lights heating everything up, was tough. I actually made some of the pieces on a train journey! I travel between Edinburgh and London a lot and the journey is 4 hours and 20 minutes so there's time for some making!

I actually wrote the tutorial after everything was made rather than at the time. As an experienced teacher I am used to writing handouts and step by step instructions and I enjoyed doing that part.

The jewellery needed to be sent to the magazine office for professional photography (I have it back now!)
It is a lot of work but it was a great challenge and is fantastic seeing my work in print. I hope to do at least one more in 2018!

Monday, 4 December 2017

My creative week - moving day!

Monday 27th November 2017
Edinburgh entrepreneurs group
I'm really lucky to have found a great group of creatives. We meet once a month to discuss our progress over the past month and to set goals for the coming month. It is so helpful to have them cheering me on and also to be able to benefit from their local knowledge and support. We meet for a coffee (tea for me!) and a chat. We were meant to be setting goals for 2018 and I had a few but I do think I'd like to think about that some more. I've had a lot of change in 2017 and it's been great so it's time to think about how to enjoy being in Edinburgh now.

Tuesday 28th November 2017
As part of my work for the London Jewellery School I have been working on their prospectus. I have been doing this for months! It is now finally finished! I'm looking forward to seeing how it looks in print!

Friday 1st December 2017
Moving day!
I'm so excited to be moving into studio 3 at Hill Street Design House! It's such a great location right in the middle of things in Edinburgh but also close to where I live. Many of the other studio spaces I've seen are in Leith or are to the south of Edinburgh which are a bit of a trek for me. For a while in London I was sharing a studio space at Craft Central near Farringdon (sadly not there anymore) but it didn't work out for me because it was at least an hours commute each way, not to mention the cost of travel. In the end I found I didn't want to be travelling into London on the days I wasn't there for work. This is why I'm so excited about getting into a routine of working at Hill Street Design House. It is convenient and I can walk there. It also has a lovely space that I can teach from so I'll be looking to plan some classes in the new year.
Today I went along to collect my keys and learn where the bins are and all that important stuff! The person who is leaving still had some of her stuff in the space but it didn't matter for today as I just wanted to get my keys!

Saturday 2nd December 2017
Silver clay workshop at the Art Club Edinburgh
Today I had my first full day workshop at the Art Club. I've taught the class many times and it is my favourite to teach because for most people it's the first go at working with silver clay and people get really excited! Today was no exception! I had a lovely group who all made some great pieces. We did manage to get the smoke alarm off which is a first for me but I got it switched off pretty quickly!
Here are some of the things the students made

Sunday 3rd December 2017
Since my last holiday I have learnt that I really need to take time away from working and not work all the time without getting some proper rest. So today I spent reading a crime novel by Louise Penny. I definitely recommend her series of books if you haven't read them. If was just lovely to lie on the sofa with a blanket and do nothing except read!

Sunday, 26 November 2017

My creative week - the tale of two hot tubs!

This week my husband and I had the week off! Which may make you think that I didn't do anything creative but that's not the case! In fact I found it really helpful to take a step back from being busy and have some time to relax. And, as you can see, I did still work a bit - the trials of being self-employed!

Monday 20th November 2017
My husband Gary and I drove to Loch Fyne in the Highlands of Scotland. I say we drove, I can't drive so I was in charge of the music. And snacks.

Loch in the Highlands. Photo by Gary Ullah

The drive takes about 3 hours from home in good traffic and we made good time. It was foggy but we stopped off on the way for some photos (Gary is a photographer). We were visiting our favourite spot, a place called Portavadie. Gary found Portavadie last year as it's near where we got married and we stayed there the night before we went to our lovely wedding cottage. We were impressed then and this trip is our third visit (and there will be more!)

This is by far our most favourite hot tub! The views of Loch Fyne are stunning and the infinity pool (at the back of the photo) is also really warm and inviting, especially on a cold November in Scotland when it's raining!

Portavadie photo from Trip Advisor
Work wise - despite poor phone reception I had a phone interview with the Daily Mail. Not sure how that's going to pan out so we'll see, I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday 21st November 2017
As it is out of peak season we had a studio apartment this time rather than a lodge room and it's definitely our favourite type of room now. We had our own kitchen but the biggest revelation is that we had further spa access to an upstairs area we didn't know existed! It has lovely loungers with a view over the loch and we spent some time here reading. It also has an additional sauna, steam room and hydropool.
I didn't take my phone or ipad with me as I wanted to relax and not get caught up with checking the internet all the time but I did keep checking my email when we got back to the apartment to see if I'd heard anything about the desk I want to rent. Still nothing. Sigh.

Wednesday 22nd November 2017
Our last day at Portavadie but we managed to sneak in some more hot tub action! It is cold and rainy but the sauna is nice and warm.

Snow in the Highlands photo by Gary Ullah
A few more stops for photos on the way home. There's snow on the peaks now.
We got caught in traffic which kind of ruins the chilled out hot tub vibe unfortunately!

Friday 24th November 2017
Still no word on the desk space. It's been more than a week and I had had such high hopes. Oh well.
It's Black Friday which doesn't really mean too much in the UK but it seems to be something that retailers have taken to! I did notice some great offers for metal clay artists and so I wrote a blog post about them called Five fantastic Black Friday offers for metal clay artists and I shared it on some facebook forums and it's gone wild! Over 660 views at the moment and it's still rising! Obviously I hit a popular topic today!

We decided to try out the One Spa in Edinburgh. So this is hot tub number two for the week! Well, it's more of a hydrapool but it has bubbles!

The spa has lots of different facilities including saunas and steam areas. We did enjoy it but it is quite expensive so more of a treat than an everyday place!

Saturday 25th November 2017
And then this morning I got the message that the desk space is mine! Fantastic. I had continued to hope that this would be the case and I think having to wait a while meant that I won't take it for granted (although I move in next week and then spend 10 days in London so not sure I'm going to be able to get my money's worth in December! Oh well!).

I had other things to do today too, I was demonstrating silver clay jewellery making at The Art Club, Edinburgh

Set up to demonstrate making silver clay jewellery at The Art Club, Edinburgh
It was good fun and I have some of my jewellery available for sale there now until christmas.

Sunday 26th November 2017
The last day of our holiday and we had already booked to visit the Botanic Gardens Christmas at the Botanics light trail it's a cold day so wrapping up warm was very necessary! Our ticket was for 4.40pm and it was already dark! I really enjoyed the singing trees and the lights cast by the disco balls. It's definitely worth seeing and I hope to take my parents when they visit.

So, what a busy holiday week! More to come next week!
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