I live in a relatively remote place when it comes to education and community learning (or the backside end of nowhere as I usually call it!). The original enamelling taster course I took 15-20 years ago run by the local council has long since gone and since then things have gone downhill rapidly. The focus is more on subjects that will get people back to work, whilst forgetting the fact that people still have a need to create and make beautiful things.
I looked for private silversmithing tuition in my county (Cumbria) and also nearly failed at that. The only person I could find is a two-hour drive away from me, but maybe it was meant to be because we met last Saturday for the first time and got on so well!
Amanda Hunter runs Passionflower Studios. She teaches groups but also private one on one tuition and I originally sought her out because I was in dire need of some serious soldering help! I can see now, however, that I will be returning for tea, chats, snuggles with her cat Henrietta and, yes, studio time! Amanda is very personable and I highly recommend her tuition.
Whilst I was there I also managed to buy a rolling mill from Amanda who was selling it for a friend. A rolling mill is like a miniature mangle, but it is used for thinning and texturing metal among other things. I really thought it would be a long long time before I could afford one of these because even cheap ones are expensive and good second-hand ones are as rare as hens' teeth, but this one was a stone-cold bargain and I nearly snapped Amanda's hand off when she mentioned it.
It was incredibly heavy to shift and was in several pieces, but my husband Steve has cleaned it and put it back together again and here it is, ready and waiting (below). Because I am prone to instill inanimate objects with emotional significance, I have called it 'Zed' after the silversmith who previously owned it.
I was so excited by everything I had learned and by the new rolling mill that I couldn't get to sleep! I was absolutely buzzing. I've got to finish a couple of enamel commissions before I can get round to playing with it properly, but I will post my findings here.
Until next time,