I am delighted to announce Manor House Designs will be hitting the high-street this Friday, as several local artists (who specialise in a variety of crafts whether using paint, stained-glass, felt, paper and silver) will be displaying their work at the fantastic Anne Reeves Jewellery in Shrewsbury (Shropshire).
This excellent initiative is in association with our good friends at Buy-From-Shropshire who actively encourage customers to buy handcrafted and locally-sourced products from a wealth of skilled Shropshire artisans. Please support this worthwhile endeavour and join us for the BIG LAUNCH on Friday 23rd June 2017 @ 18:30 at Anne Reeves Jewellery (127a Frankwell, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY3 8JU). You may even meet a "celebrity"? Ooh.
Each of the artists will be "manning the shop" a few days a month, so once we've sorted out our rota, and worked out how to use the till (but mostly the kettle for a nice cuppa), I'll post further details so you can meet us all. We'd love to see you.
Thank you for your support of local business.
Guess what I got for my birthday? It's a kit for enamelling. I've recently done some training in the skills of enamelling and have been itching to get started on some pieces in my own workshop. First things first, though. There's not a great deal of space left in my workshop (below left)... and I love the way my studio is (below centre).
So, in a subtle bid to take over the entire building and extend my silversmithing kingdom, I've moved the gym into the packing area! I now have a brilliant and bright space for drawing and enamelling. Can't wait to get started now. I've got lots of design ideas and have been scribbling away for weeks.
Eventually I want to enamel this piece. It's a work in progress. Made up of two parts, a pendant featuring Japanese ladies and a wisteria design brooch the two can be attached together to form a large and striking brooch. The sterling silver has been etched to highlight the design and I'm planning to apply some gorgeous enamel colour to really bring it to life.
I'll keep you updated
Thanks to Lana Crabb at Cooksongold and Denise McGowan (evanji.co.uk) for their tuition and inspiration.
It is a great privilege to be asked to design and make a bespoke and unique piece of jewellery. It's also a responsibility as it is so important to get it right! I'm very aware that the creation of such a special thing means putting into life the dreams and aspirations of someone, so this needs to be done very carefully.
There's a lot to consider. Not just the size and shape but how that relates to the wearer - is it proportionately correct? What about their style? Jewellery needs to reflect this accurately and I think that a positive outcome is not only that the wearer loves their jewellery, but that they feel fabulous and special when they wear it.
Marianne is a very special person and the daughter of my good friends, Kath and Frank. I've known her since she was 4 years old; a happy, funny and beautiful little girl with auburn hair tied up in bunches. So, for her 40th birthday in June (the 24th - lots of "4"s involved here) I wanted to make something different with some meaningful and sentimental significance for her.
This is what I came up with. It's a floral pendant- inspired by the Clemetis Montana Grandiflora which climbs up our elegant old elder tree in the garden. The flower is pure white and has 4 petals and this is how I made it.
Step One: I cut four flower shapes out of 925 sterling silver sheet using my trusty old saw. Step Two: The edges were then filed to smoothen the saw marks and then the file marks were removed using a variety of different grade sandpaper. Step Three: To give shape I then placed the little flowers in my dappling block and domed them using the punch. Step Four:Once all 4 flowers were shaped they were soldered onto a length of sterling silver wire (the stem). Step Five: After pickling to remove any fire stain the completed piece was then polished on the polishing mop.
The bale on Marianne's pendant is an integral part of the piece and forms part of the stem. It has some flexibility which means that it can be worn on a silver chain or on a string of pearls (June's birthstone). I really hope that Marianne likes it - I loved making it for her.
This blog post was written and researched by Kate Buchanan-Dunne of Manor House Designs, creator of "beautiful bespoke silver jewellery" in her Shropshire workshop.
Kate Buchanan-Dunne is an artist, designer and silversmith based in Shropshire.