Saturday, 10 May 2014

Blast From The Past!

Hi everyone!

I've had an interesting and motivational time since my last blog! I'll tell you a little of the background.  I was lucky enough to go to a Steiner School from the age of 3 and I stayed at the same school until after my exams.  One of my friends from the early days was Lucy Walker (now Mhoma), who subsequently emigrated to New Zealand at 14.  A couple of years ago we 'met' again on Facebook and have chatted many times since.  I found out that Lucy has been working as an artist in Christchurch, NZ in the area devastated by earthquakes.

Lucy decided to go on a family/artist trip to various places around the world, some places just to show her children where she'd lived and others to forge new artistic links. I was thrilled when she said that she was coming to Plymouth to see us!  We spent the evening exploring each other's work and talking about school and her adventures.  The next morning, before she set off for Istanbul I took her to Royal William Yard to show her the building which is set to become artist's studios and for coffee, of course! As we entered the Bakery we bumped into a artist friend of mine and after introducing Lucy, Connor McIntyre very kindly offered to show us his studio and to tell us about his latest work which was fabulous.  Lucy is in New York now I believe, and when her travels are finished I hope to feature her here on this blog and to ask her more about her journey.  All in all, I found the whole visit very inspiring.

Since then I've been working on new shapes in my aluminium and I've started to cut out a new design.

So, what do you think of these new shapes?
I look forward to hearing what you think of the new pieces! I always appreciate your feedback. I hope to have some of this work on my website in the next few days so please do check SlickSilver Jewellery.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Spring Madness!

Hello all! I know, I've been a bad girl and haven't blogged for ages but I'll get on to that in a minute!

It's Spring, we even have flowers in the garden! Yes I know it's still raining, but over Easter we did have a little bit of the bright stuff, a big yellow thing made an appearance in the sky and the birds were singing! Doesn't it make you feel better?

So what have you all been up to?

I've had some good news of my own - my daughter is having a baby! That's right I'm going to be Nanna Val in the autumn! Happy news.  I'm also going back to college in late September to get myself some formal training whilst still running my business so it's going to be a very busy time.  In view of that I am taking the opportunity to make plenty of stock now. That's why I've been so busy.

So what have I been up to? Well, I've found a new aluminium supplier and I've been experimenting with new designs and colourways.  The new metal is much harder to work, but takes colour in an amazing way, really intense and vibrant.  Rust is a texture/colour which I simply cannot pass by, particularly if the metal has been painted and is peeling and I have been exploring this effect in my newest work.

This brings me to my sale - there's 25% off everything on my website, but only until the end of April and this is to make way for some of my new collections.  If you have a favourite piece, now would be a very good time to get it! There's free postage too! Tell your friends! Tell everyone!!

I've also got some fab new stockists, Created Gallery, The Hayrack Gallery, Number Four Gallery and finally Rostra Gallery which is brilliant news! Do check them out if they're in your area.

Finally some pictures of my new work, would love to have your feedback!

These are samples of what I've been up to, more next time! Thanks for reading!

Monday, 17 February 2014

News, news, news!

Hi - hope you're all safe and dry and haven't been flooded! What a horrible start to the year!

I've been keeping busy, it's that time of year when new ideas get tried out, some work, some don't and some don't work yet but I feel they will in time.  I've reworked a couple of old silver pieces which had been shelved and are now shelved again pending further inspiration!  I started off this year by thinking about the things which inspire me (rust - plenty of that round here with all the seawater being thrown around) and looking at how evident that inspiration is in my resulting work.  I realised that what floats my boat isn't always obvious and so I'm making a more concerted effort to find ways of showing that inspiration. Sometimes it's the colour of rust, particularly on old concrete and sometimes it's the lovely knobbly texture blistering through layers of old paint. With all this in mind I painted and dyed a sheet of aluminium last week which I do think represents my ideas.  I dare say the finished pieces (when they are finished!) will appear on here for you all to see.

A few weeks ago I had a fun day teaching polymer clay bead making at Orchard Learning Centre in Gunnislake, Cornwall.  For most people it was the very first time they tried using polymer clay and a great day was had by all, with much hilarity and some great results.  I'll be there again on the 2nd March if anyone would like to try their hand at making polymer clay pendants using foils.  If you'd like to book a place please book through Orchard Learning Centre direct - oh, and Jay the centre owner includes a lovely lunch!!
Here's some pictures of what the students made during the day.

The following picture is an example of the kind of pendant we'll be making in the forthcoming course so hurry and make sure that your place is booked and I'll look forward to another day of fun and giggles!

I've also been working on a statement piece of jewellery - the Dazzle neck piece is now available to buy on my website and I can even produce it in the colour range of your choice, be it blues, pinks, greens etc. All you have to do is let me know! Do you like it?

In other news this week, I'm proud to announce that Created Gallery is going to be a new stockist and they are in Chesterfield so if you're in that area pop in and take a look. 

I'm also going to be exhibiting with Number Four Contemporary Art and Craft Gallery from 12th April for twelve weeks so I hope you'll go and see what they have to offer up in St Abbs, Berwickshire.  It will be a selling exhibition so take along your pennies!

Anyway, back to the workbench and I'll see you all soon.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

News, Sales, Awards and Coffee!

I have been a very bad girl and not blogged for ages but I'm back!!

2014 is showing much more promise than 2013 which was a rubbish year in lots of ways, mostly on a personal level, not professionally.  So, the very biggest news for this year is that I will be going back to college in September to study for a BA in Jewellery and Silversmithing.  I've been offered a place at Plymouth College of Art and I'm really looking forward to it (apart from waking up at night in a cold sweat thinking about workload, whether my poor little brain cells are up to it and whether I might be the only 'mature' student!!).

Last year saw me building up a reasonable number of stockists and exhibiting at some great venues around the country as well as being accepted for some fab shows like Crux.  Whilst I was at one of the events I found myself thinking the future and wondering what might come next.  When you're largely self-taught it can be quite hard to keep pushing your boundaries, especially if you feel that better skills would allow you to take your work to another level. This is where I'm at. I'm happy enough with what I make and you all seem to like it which is wonderful, but, I might be capable of achieving even more! Also very important is the access to opportunites that might come my way.

Have you visited my website lately? There's a sale! A SALE!! There's 20% off vitually everything (only a couple of things not in the sale) so hurry over and get your favourite piece before the end of January! SlickSilver Jewellery Sale

In other news I had an amazing birthday present towards the end of last year from my daughter and son-in-law - a mother and daughter photo shoot.  I cannot begin to tell you how much fun we had! My facial muscles were aching from smiling and laughing so much.  We settled on a date which turned out to be a very stormy day, outdoor shots were out of the question so Kinga, the lovely photographer suggested a cosy coffee shop with some shots being taken from outside in the dark and the rain looking in on us having our coffee. Do you like them? Photo courtesy of Kinga Burakowska Photography.

I've also been nominated for a Selected Award from Craft and Design Magazine, so if any of you lovely, lovely people would like to vote for me here's the link. Val Williams Thank you for voting for me! See you all soon!


Thursday, 7 November 2013

To Cotehele and Beyond!

Hello again!

I've decided that the silly season has begun - I'm running around like a headless chicken trying to make sure that I've got enough stock for everything! It seems much harder this year and I think that's because I'm exhibiting in a few places so I've already got a lot of stock tied up - I'm definitely not complaining though!

So, who's coming to see me this weekend at the lovely National Trust property Cotehele? I'm taking part in their two day Craft event this Saturday and Sunday, so come and see me and make sure that you bring plenty of money so that you can do your Christmas shopping.  What could be better that buying beautiful handmade items for all your family and friends? Support independant makers, designers and traders.

Next Saturday I'll be at Tavi Arts Market, which is always a lovely event to visit and Tavistock itself is a great town, full of lots of independant retailers.

From the 22nd November until the 24th I will be at Crux Craft Fair, a new event for me, so please come and say hello and help me find my feet!

If you're in the Manchester area, you can find me exhibiting at Ordsall Hall and my work will also be available in the gallery at Salford Museum and Art Gallery and in the Derbyshire area I can be found exhibiting at the By Invitation at The Beetroot Tree Gallery.

Believe it or not I have actually made some jewellery too this week! The storms inspired the first collection and some gorgeous fabric inspired the second.
I hope you like my new work.  See you all next time.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Storms and the Beetroot Tree!

Hi, me again!

Well we all prepared, the wind howled, we waited.....and not that much happened where I live and I'm very happy about that because not everyone was as lucky.  If you suffered from the effects of the storm where you live I hope you're all ok. I took advantage of the horrible day to stay in and dye some aluminium sheet and one of the designs was inspired by the severe weather.  I painted swirls in shades of blue which were a little like weather maps and a little like spirals of wind. Hopefully they'll look effective when I make them into jewellery!

Last blog I talked about the forthcoming exhibition at The Beetroot Tree Gallery so I thought I'd show you their publicity material and if you're in the area, then do make sure you pop in and say hello, they've got some lovely things.

I've also cut out and made some other lovely pieces in the last week and I've called them the Batik Collection because they really do look like handpainted silk. Let me know what you think and I'm also interested in finding out out whether you prefer necklaces or pendants, so please do give me feedback.


Do you like the new shape I've been working with?

On the 9th and 10th of November I will be at the Christmas Craft Trail at Cotehele National Trust property. Come and see me if you can!

Monday, 14 October 2013

A Week of Xmas Treats for You!

Hi there everyone, it's blog time again!

Well, I've been busy, busy, busy making jewellery, working on my website, adding new jewellery and just generally doing stuff!

First of all I want to give you all a little treat for following my blog - a 10% discount for my blog readers - just quote Xmas Treats at the checkout for your discount which is valid until the 21st October. A little Xmas pressie from me at Val at SlickSilver Jewellery! Whilst you're looking for what you're going to treat yourself to, please head over and check out my brand new Inspirations Blog - this blog will continue unchanged but i'd love it if you gave the new one a quick glance too.

This week I've been working on a new shape and design and since I really like it I'm probably going to keep Seaspray1! 

I've also got quite a few exhibitions coming up and I hope that some of you will live close enough to visit one of them.

I will also be exhibiting at The Beetroot Tree Gallery in Draycott, Derbyshire from 26th November through to the 4th January.  My work will be specially featured on the 18th/19th December.  The organisers have set up a Facebook page so it would be great if you could show your support! Thank you. The Beetroot Tree 'By Invitation'

Ok, everyone, remember to pop over to use your discount code and you can use it as many times as you like in the next 7 days!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

It's been too long!

Hello again, sorry if you thought I'd deserted you all - not so - just that life has been throwing a few brickbats of late!

Well, when I last blogged, we were about to kick off our Open Studios event. Well there's a lesson in how to keep a house pristine for 10 days!!! None of the usual garlicky, spicy smells associated with our love of cooking, a duster permanently attached to my person and a constant need to straighten pictures! We did meet some lovely people though.

Devastatingly, I lost my lifelong friend to cancer towards the end of Open Studios, she'd only been ill a short while.  She lived in France and we chatted frequently through Facebook about life in general and stuff that our grown up children were up to. We had been best friends since the age of 11 and she had a wicked sense of humour and so a photo of us together has gone up in my studio so we can still natter and she can have a giggle at me every time I get something wrong! This and visitors is the reason that I've been absent for a few weeks.

So what else has been happening?

Well, exhibitions seems to be the key word for me at the moment! I know that I'd already mentioned the 'By Hand' exhibition at Ordsall Hall in Salford which takes place from mid October until January and I've just found out that I've been selected to take part in 'Past, Present and Future' Drawn To The Valley exhibition at Mount Edgcumbe Country Park from 19th - 27th October. I've also been asked to be part of 'By Invitation' at The Beetroot Tree Gallery in Derbyshire which takes place from the end of November.  This is the first year that I've been asked to exhibit outside Devon so it's pretty exciting!

I'm also going to be starting another blog which will be more pictorial and will be part of my website.  It will centre on what inspires me to make jewellery.  This blog will continue in it's current form and will continue to be linked to my website, but I hope that some of you will want to come and check out the other blog too!

As all of the work I've done since Open Studios has all been for submissions I thought I'd show you instead a couple of the designs that have been dyed and which are ready to be cut out and made up into new pieces. The photos are not brilliant because it's quite hard not to get my own reflection in when they're in flat sheet form. The top photo is called Batik, the bottom design is called Seaspray and the middle pic is of a new range (Sqiggles) of dyed aluminium rod which I've forged into shape. I'd love to hear what you think of them.

Ok then, I'll be back next week hopefully!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Art Our Way!

Hello folks - as I said last week, it's all about Drawn To The Valley/Plymouth Arts Trail Open Studios this week!

We opened our doors on Saturday and Sunday and will be open again tomorrow, Friday and Saturday/Sunday again. Who's coming to see us?  We can promise a warm welcome! Would you like to see a few teasers? Ok then.


My husband, artist David Muddyman, has been hanging paintings, drawings and collages all around the dining room, hall, landing and stairs.  My jewellery has been hung in cupboards, along with wall art and it all looks lovely!

Here's all the details if you'd like to come and visit us - we'd love to see you! More on how it went next month!

I've also introduced a new shape in dyed aluminium especially for Open Studios and it's the Squiggles Pendants, let me know what you think! See you next week or before if you come to see our exhibition.


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Open Studios and Stuff!

Hi all!

Well, this week has been all about Open Studios!  Artist David Muddyman (also husband!) and myself are trying Open Studios for the very first time this year.  I think I'm excited about it, I'm terrified that no-one will turn up or that we'll have no sales at all! It's definitely nervewracking! We've started to hang paintings and it's been a good exercise is spring cleaning!

If you're around the Plymouth area I do hope you'll come and see us!

I did have a plan to release a brand new style of aluminium jewellery at this event but my supplies still haven't arrived even though they were ordered a month ago.....grrrrrrrr......hopefully today though and I might still be able to do what I wanted.

I thought I'd also release a picture of a brand new piece that will be available to purchase at Open Studios, but there's only one so if you want it you'll need to be quick!

This collection is called Solar Flare and reflects the gorgeous weather we've had this summer. 

On another note don't forget that my work will very soon be available to buy in the gallery at Salford Museum and Art Gallery in Manchester and at a brand new jewellery gallery that will be opening it's doors in Frome on the 1st September, but more on that soon!

Hopefully speak to you next week with some pictures of how the Open Studios event is going!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Courses and Cuffs

Hello again!

Yet another busy busy week! Last weekend saw me teaching at Cartwheels Craft Centre in Liskeard and a thoroughly good day was had by all.  All five students experimented with colouring pieces of aluminium before colouring and dyeing a final pendant piece and a cuff shape.  They then learned to drill and shape the metal before ending the day and taking home a pendant and a cuff worth £74!
Do check out other courses which are running at Cartwheels, I will be back there myself in October.
The following pictures were taken during the Aluminium Taster day and you will see the students showing off the cuffs they made.

Students filing and polishing the edges of their aluminium pieces.

Finished cuffs!

I shall also be putting some brand new work onto the website in the coming days so I hope you'll take a look.

I've been very busy and have a number of new collections to show you, however, I shall start by introducing Cottage Garden - the wide cuff shown was pictured in amongst the flowers in my garden - a perfect match for the Lobelia.


I shall be at Tavi Arts Market in Tavistock on Saturday if anyone wants to come and say hello.

I'm also working on a project that's a little different to the work I normally do - I shall be making cuffs to be worn in a fab new music video - more on that a little nearer the time! Watch this space!!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Hello and Goodbye

Hello again! Where's the summer gone??

I'd just like to start this week by mentioning an amazing metal artist Katie Lake who was a founder member of Flameworks.  A lot of you may know her as having won gold in the Craft & Design Selected Awards twice including this year or will have seen her sculpture.  Katie lost her life recently whilst enjoying the Cornish sea.  She was an inspiration to so many people and enabled students with visual disabilities to use the furnace.  A larger than life character, full of fun and we shall miss her, but we will celebrate her here in Plymouth and at Flameworks.

I seem to have produced an awful lot of work over the last couple of weeks and that's been for a number of reasons. The first reason is now done and dusted because twenty pieces have gone off to Salford Museum and Art Gallery for their brand new sales area and also for the By Hand exhibition happening from October to January at Ordsall Hall in Salford. The second reason for all this activity is that my husband artist David Muddyman and myself are holding Open Studios this year starting at the end of August.  We are part of the Plymouth Arts Trail which comes under the umbrella of Drawn To The Valley's exhibition of art along the Tamar.

Full details of when we'll be open can be found in the booklet from local outlets and also on my Events page. Come and see us, there'll be some amazing artwork to buy and my jewellery and wall art.

Over the weekend I dyed some new sheets of aluminium and I'm really pleased with what's to come - one sheet looks like painted silk or batik in shades of pink, another looks like a field of lavendar just coming into bloom and othe other reminds me of surf and blue/green waves. I can't wait to start cutting them out.

So my project for the coming week to is to come to grips with making my site available to Stumble Upon - anyone else tried that?

Want a sneaky peek and what's going to be for sale soon on the website? This is the PopArt collection and there will be a necklace and earrings too.

So, see you next week all - have a lovely week doing whatever it is you do!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

And The Winner Is......

Hi folks!

Yet another busy week draws to a close.  I managed to make a lot of jewellery while my husband was away and yet he doesn't distract me when he's here, but perhaps I feel the need to fill my hours more when he's away! So there's a huge pile for photographing now and now the sun's gone.......harumph....

A sample of what i've been working on this week!

So first of all this week I'd like to thank all of you who took part in last week's competition.  Lots of correct answers, however (drum roll.....) the winner is Lena Smith of Lena Smith Music. Congratulations and a lovely cuff will be on it's way to you this week!

The rest of the entrants will be added to my newsletter list so that they can receive a discount voucher to be used online. If you would also like to receive my monthly newsletter with discounts and special offers and early bird discounts on new collections before they hit the website why not contact me?

So, there's been a lot of deadline meeting this week.  My contract has now been signed and sent for the exhibition at Ordsall Hall, Salford and for selling at the brand new Landing Gallery at Salford Museum and Art Gallery and I've also sent off an application pack for selection for another exhibition so I shall be waiting with baited breath.

For those of you who were concerned for the welfare of the mouse last week, it disappeared without a trace!! Our victorian house has a void underneath, not quite deep enough for a cellar and not accessible to us, so we think that's where it went. At least it escaped the cat!


 My very tidy workbench - can't remember when it last looked like that!!

So what are we all up to next week?  Well I need to do my next newsletter and make a batch of earrings as Hannah's at Seale Hayne Gallery have run out! I also need to finish and send all the jewellery up to Manchester and I need to prepare for a workshop I'm running in Liskeard on the 10th August at Cartwheels Craft Centre.  If you would like to book a place, please follow the link.

Ok, thanks for reading and I'll see you next week!