Monthly Archives: February 2015

Stringing, threading and knotting

Yesterday I did a one day course at Morley College on stringing, threading and knotting. I could have sat down with a book and worked out how to thread beads or pearls correctly – but sometimes it is easier to be shown! The course was taught by Amina Kaufmann who is a professional stringer. We all made a bracelet with a double knot between each bead and then worked on our own projects:

Amina’s examples, tools, findings and bead mats on the bench.
Getting all the elements together. Beads, pin, gimp, clasp etc.
Casting on – starting with a slip knot, then two beads and from then on a knot in between each one.
It took me a while to get my knots right! I kept seeming to tie them backwards so that I couldn’t draw it up close to the bead, but I got there in the end!
Attaching the clasp and casting off. I wouldn’t use gimp (fine metal coil) or this type of clasp in my work but it was good to learn the process.
Final knot and then it’s superglued and the thread snipped off.
My afternoon was spent making test pieces like this. I wanted to work with chunky wooden beads and cord because I think it could be a good technique to use with some of my wood and laminate pieces…
And going back to small scale to practice my knotting. Small pink wooden beads and blue thread.
And a sunny shot of The Cut, Waterloo, on my way home.

A lovely way to spend a saturday! Watch this space for some new necklace designs :-)










Katharine Morling at Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf is very much a business district with huge tall glass buildings and I always feel a bit of an alien walking around! However, in the lobby of One Canada Square is an exhibition of sculptural ceramics by Katharine Morling called ‘Drawing on Life’. On Tuesday there was an exhibition tour with Katharine and it was a great opportunity to hear her talk about her work. I was especially interested in this because of the Crafts Council’s Hothouse programme I am on and the need to be able to talk about my work, so I am keen to hear others tell their story.

Katharine was personable, smiley and passionate about her work and it was inspiring listening to her. It was really interesting hearing how Katharine’s work changed from more traditional colourful glazed work (which she had become dissatisfied with) to her now very recognisable white porcelain with hand-drawn black lines. She said that there is no great concept behind her work, but that it is an outpouring of her ideas and experiences. One idea often leads to many others and it is a continuous creativity journey. Her work is about her and she draws on her own experience to tell stories and create her work.

Katharine talking to us in front of Garden’s Edge installation 2013-15
A close up of a young girl from the installation. I love the details on her dress – and the glass for the bubble.
Katharine said that prior to this exhibition this piece had only ever been exhibited at floor level. Here it is in a showcase and you have to look up – you experience it in a completely different way.
A close up of the panda on the elephant’s back…
The curator, Ann Elliot, suggested that this piece, ‘Shifting Diamonds’ 2013 could have political connotations. It was interesting to hear Katharine say that for her it didn’t, she was exploring the contrast between the big dirty trucks used to transport such a precious, shiny, delicate material.
Poison Pen, 2010
Nature Box, 2013
Katharine makes some smaller pieces, which are often taken from large installations, in small editions which are more affordable. It is important to her that people who like her work can own it whatever their budget.

It was great to listen to Katharine talk about her work! The exhibition is on until 20th March.

Hothouse Induction Day

This Tuesday I went to the first session of the Crafts Council’s Hothouse programme and had a brilliant day! It was held in Bridewall Hall at St. Bride Foundation just off Fleet Street in central London. All the cohorts were there, the partners and the Crafts Council team, it was a day of introductions, information and networking – as well as ice breaker and creative tasks to help us start thinking about our businesses and plans for the future.

In preparation for the day all of us had prepared a one minute presentation on our work and we took it in terms to stand at the front and talk – this was actually incredibly nerve-racking! I looked up and saw the 5+ tables and lots of expectant faces looking at me and promptly babbled through my talk! I don’t find public speaking too bad as long as I know what I’m talking about and have prepared, however, I am out of practice talking about my work. There will be plenty of opportunities to improve on this programme!

One of the tasks of the day was to draw how we see ourselves now and how we see ourselves in a years time on two separate pieces of paper. Then we had to write a list of all the things that are missing, or in the gap, between the two. A second task was to look at our values, we were given 6 slips of paper and we had to trade and swap with others to get a set of values that felt right. A simple and very effective tool! Our values determine the decisions we make as we work through the Hothouse programme and build our creative businesses. I chose the following 6 (in no particular order):

Financial gain – I need to be able to earn a living from my jewellery
Reputation – I want to have a good reputation with my customers and the galleries I work with
Aesthetics – I want my work to be beautiful, to be well made and with a clear EK style
Knowledge – knowledge gives me confidence, whether its about materials, techniques, exhibitions or the wider craft field
Creativity – I need to keep creating, challenging myself, enjoy the making process, this may mean making just a few pieces of a certain design rather than a production line!
And the sixth I’ve left open to think about over the next couple of weeks! They may be refined as I work through the programme. It was a thought provoking day.

At the beginning of the day they had our work on a loop on the big screen – this was my slide :-)


After we had done our 1 minute presentation we put our work on a table so that everyone had a chance to look at each others work throughout the day.
More work – it’s so good to see so many creative ideas and beautifully made objects.
Lots of chatting over lunch
Three Hothouse alumni came to speak to us about their experiences of the programme, what they had got out of it and how they had developed because of it. This was very inspiring.
As part of preparation for the induction day we each had to make a postcard which illustrates our practice – this was mine – orange and grey laminate included :-)
Having a look at each others postcards – we’ll be using these in our next session.

And that’s it! Thank you for reading.