I was lucky enough to be able to get over to the Flame Off last weekend, a huge glassy gathering held annually at Towcester Racecourse, and organised by Tuffnells who are one of the main suppliers of glass and equipment to UK lampworkers.
More of the glass later, but while we were there, both Wyn and I fancied having a go at a couple of other things that were happening as part of the event.
I went along to an Art Clay taster session, being run by Lesley Messam, a senior Art Clay instructor from Chichester.
I've had a packet of Art Clay for years, but I've always been too terrified to open it. It's expensive material, and I was always worried that I would totally mess it up and therefore throw a lot of money down the drain. Or rather, in the bin.
But Lesley was a wonderful teacher, and I emerged a couple of hours later proudly clutching my first, dreadfully imperfect, pieces. I opted for simple little ivy leaves, which I have now tumble polished and turned into earrings. They are my babies and I love them!
And while I was happily playing with posh clay, Wyn was bashing the living daylights out of equally expensive silver. The aim was to come away with a pendant, but Wyn being Wyn, and a bit of a bolshie on the quiet, decided not to follow the others in the class, and instead of carefully cutting the silver with the help of templates, opted to do everything freehand.
The result was a really individual heart-shaped pendant, with a little brass heart applied on top. I call it a Happy Heart, because it has a carefree, casual look. He wants to finish it off properly, but I absolutely love it!
I definitely want to learn more about Silver Clay, and after I've bought a few more essential bits and pieces, and managed to fight my way to the kiln, I think I now have the confidence to try out some ideas ready for the summer.