As a serious tea drinker I’ve always liked the idea of making some small pieces of silverware for use with tea. This year I’ve challenged myself to work on a larger scale and have begun by designing a tea infuser:
It’s evolved a little from the original biro sketch, which I doodled at the end of last year. Most notably I’ve changed the ‘handle’ to make it a better match for my Riverside collection.
The bowl of the teaball is spun from silver sheet before returning to the workshop for me to make and fit the internal mechanism. I opted with a handmade screw thread fitting here but will probably modify that on future infusers to use a lighter method of closure!
Making the lid and internal fittings
Fitting a screw thread to the interior
Soldering a peg into the lid
One of the most challenging aspects was drilling the holes in the bowl. Marking out an exact pattern is difficult around a curved surface and I was very aware of the risk of breaking a drill bit in the silver. I marked the holes from the center point outwards, placing them in concentric circles and spacing them as evenly as possible:
Drilling the centerpoint …
… and all the other holes
Soldering the handle to the lid
Once that was all arranged I finished the lid with a leafy handle and polished the infuser to a glossy shine:
This lovely little commission was designed to celebrate a 45th Birthday. It’s patterned with a scattering of 45 tiny blue tanzanites and a myriad of small drill holes:
It began as a simple, oval wire bangle which I polished and then matt finished with a heavy, stippled texture. After that I marked out the pattern of the constellation before drilling it and marking the bangle up for setting. A mixture of 1mm, 1.5mm and 2mm tanzanites are set around it, flush with the surface of the silver.
The final piece is a subtle collection of silvery blue shades. The blue of the tanzanites matches beautifully with the soft gleam of the silver:
Each year the magazine chooses someone working in the contemporary crafts and gives them a chance to write an article for each issue, forming a diary of what’s going on in and around their practice.
This year they picked me! The first issue landed in the workshop today and I’m super excited! So, what are you waiting for? Go buy one or, better still, get a subscription – it’s a wonderful source of information and inspiration.
Workshop renovations are coming on apace, with the last coat of paint due to go on the walls tomorrow I’ve roped in some wonderful helpers to build benches, put up an awful lot of scavenged worktop and generally aid in making the place ship shape. And all I had to do was feed them.
Seriously though, I couldn’t have done this without the generous help that I’ve received along the way so far – and can’t wait to move in to the finished space.
These are my lovely new etched napkin rings, just back from the photographers. They’re the first round pair of napkin rings that I’ve done and, while the etch was a little challenging (especially on the inside of one!) I think that they’ve come out wonderfully.
A secluded January in the studio has given me time to think about some new ideas and where I want to start taking my work in 2014. I’ve been busy already, starting to etch on a larger scale (more of that later) and beginning to work on some new pieces of silverware for my exhibition stand.
Here’s a sneaky peak at some rocking Tidal napkin rings, works in progress:
This summer I took my first trip to the Cornish seaside, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit but have never managed to – now that I have I think that it could now become a firm favourite of mine.
I spent a few days wandering around the local beaches, exploring the South Coast Path where it meandered by the campsite and generally soaking in the sound of the waves and the blue, blue sea. The landscape is certainly inspiring, at turns gentle then wild and I was so sad to come home!
Of course I didn’t spend the whole week wandering along the coastline (though that wouldn’t have been a challenge) I did venture down to St Ives to take in the light and explore the twisting streets of the town. It offers up a whole host of independent galleries filled with the work of local and international makers and artists, many of whom have been influenced by the beautiful local landscape.
Davies paints landscapes, with big, heavy brush strokes and expressive sweeps of colour that all build up on top of each other into some seriously captivating textures. Some of them are stormy, some a little serene as he reacts to the changes in the seasons around his home near St Ives.
Tucked away in a cabinet downstairs was the work of Cornelius Jakob Van Dop, a jeweller and metalsmith with a clear love for texture, line and the natural world. His small, palm sized boxes are decorated with beautiful illustrations of the coastal landscape and wildlife. There was something in them that reminded me of sailors scimshaw carvings, filled with the details that had been keenly observed during a life looking at the sea.
They were beautifully made, with neat hinges and simple dimple locking mechanisms that functioned neatly and really let the quality of the illustrations come across. Alongside these were a collection of animal and insect brooches, I particularly liked the whale, simply made in plain silver with more of that glorious fine detailing:
The Gallery is open all year round and details can be found here.
I recently spent the weekend at Desire in London surrounded by a wonderful collection of jewellery and silverware from some of the finest makers in the country. In the heart of Kensington the event has just moved into, hopefully, a new permanent home where it can grow and build up quite a following.
Besides the jewellery on show it was encouraging and inspiring to see so much silverware represented – British Silverweek brought a considerable amount of new talent with it to sit alongside more established makers like Andrew MacGowan and Esther Lord.
Showed a sumptuous little selection of her neat, smoothly curving vessels, off set by their jagged tops and beautifully tactile in form.
Brought this little vessel along – just look at the beautiful, intricate detailing on the lid:
it makes what could be quite a heavy piece feel delicate – and makes a lovely feature of the hinge.
and I had a quick chat with Kathrine Hinton who makes use of some wonderful new technologies (computer modelling, digital hammer blows and some very fine rapid prototyping) to produce tiny, detailed vessels and jewellery with surfaces that you just want to hold and explore: