A look back to where her journey into metal clay began

How did you get into metal clay?

I was teaching arts and crafts for a college and the local authority, in adult learning, when the government agenda on adult learning changed and I was asked to teach jewellery making courses. Not something I had ever thought about, but I was willing to give it a try. Firstly I taught a bead and wire jewellery making session and took to it like a duck to water. I thought to myself OK, so maybe this was something I could do. I soon accumulated a vast amount of jewellery, so I decided to try and sell off some at a craft fair. I happened to be next to a lady who worked in polymer clay, which was something I had done 20 years earlier.

Throughout the day we chatted and she recommended websites and suppliers. I felt inspired to give polymer clay another try. On finding a polymer clay website, I quickly found the words ‘silver clay’ and this captured my curiosity. That was my light bulb moment! I immediately knew this was what I’d been waiting to find.

Over the next few weeks I researched what metal clay was and looked for places where I could learn. I finally found a place in Norfolk and signed up to do a course. I couldn’t wait to go!

What was your first project?

Talk about throwing myself in at the deep end. The three-day course was packed full of challenging pieces, the first of which was a ring. I remember saying at the time, this will be the first and last ring I ever make. How I laugh now.

I’ve made hundreds of rings now and I love making them, but I never recommend that as a starting point for beginners. I’ll never forget how hard I found that ring, but also the excitement and joy when I brushed up the first piece to get that shiny silver. It does feel like alchemy.

So where did you go from here?

After that first course, I could definitely see a future in this for me.

Well, things didn’t happen over night, but I sunk every ounce of time and money I had, investing in tools, materials and equipment. I even attended master classes in
the UK and USA. People were so fascinated by what I was doing and my enthusiasm just spilled out. Before long people were asking me to teach them.

Once I’d gained my Art Clay diploma, I began to teach. Firstly just from home, but then I got invited to teach elsewhere. During this time I also managed to find my own studio space, which made a huge difference. I could now run more classes and took the leap of faith to become self-employed and concentrate solely on silver clay.

Silver clay has taken me to places I never thought I’d go. I’ve been to Japan, to visit the factory where they make silver clay and I’ve found myself teaching in places like Spain, Belgium and the USA.

Why sign up for a course?

If a little bit of my passion has rubbed off and you fancy having a go with
metal clay then sign up to a course. Silver clay is an amazing material that can be mastered quickly and has you producing jewellery like you’d buy from the high street, but I’d recommend taking a class to avoid the schoolboy errors, that are so common and yet so easily avoided. For more information, you can log onto my website www.craftworx.co.uk.