Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Looking ahead

Well what a busy time I have had this summer,
Planning for the Art Clay conference took up a huge chuck of time but it's all over now and I for one loved it, it was a great success.
I had visiting tutors and artist to teach at Craft worx studio Hattie Sanderson who delivered two fantastic workshop. shortly followed by Hadar Jacobson, who showed us her unique range of clays and designs, another three days went by so quickly.

The trip to Purdue to the PMC conference was a fantastic time, I caught up with my Great American friends, I achieved level two certification In PMC, so I can now offer independent advise on Metal clay.

I have submitted my level one masters registry pieces, and managed to get into Holly Gages Calendar of 2011.

With Lot's more exciting things planned for 2011, my busy time hasn't ended yet.

Happy claying

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Art Clay conference 2010

Well I have been very busy making preparations for this years Art Clay conference
A trip back to York Universtity Yesterday, to put the final details in place
It's shaping up to be an exciting weekend of new techniques and workshops
japanese master classes, competitions with some fabulous prizes.
come and met, chat and have fun with load of metal heads at the conference
Save the date in your dairy 16th - 19th September
booking details will be published soon on the guild website
Hope you make it

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Hadar does it again

In my last blog I mentioned Hadar's bronze, copper white bronze and steel clay
AS I was speaking to her last night, making final preparations for her visit here for her workshops
she also mentioned that she is developing pearl grey steel. I have no idea what this looks like, But I'm really looking forward to the workshop.

Friday, 2 April 2010


For anyone that's ever been on one of my workshops, You will know that I talk about the rapid growth of metal clay, and that hardly a week goes by without finding out something new, be it a technique, a tool, and I am having trouble keeping up with the new products on the market.
Silver clay, Gold clay, Bronze clay now has three different brand, Copper clay also in three different brands. From our trip to Japan I was lucky to bring home some new Art Clay lite, This is not yet available to buy in the UK. but I'm ready for it's launch.
Now Glass Clay, not as new as you might think, but certainly something that's causing an interest

Watch this space as I bring you my findings on all these latest products

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Hattie Sanderson

Craftworx studio is proud to host Metal Clay, Master Class Summer School 2010
Hattie is a world leading metal clay artist and tutor; she will be delivering two workshops one on the 5th June - Lidded Vessel and beautiful hollow form with fitted stopper lid
Then the 6th June is Hattie’s very popular spinner ring. These sunning rings will leave you amazed at the construction methods, Hattie's unique teaching style is generous in information sharing if you are and advancing enthusiast or practising instructor on the masters Registry programme you won't want to miss this amazing opportunity. For further details log on to click the link to master classes

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Amougst the jet lag with emotional highs and low, What am amazing busy week we have had, every minute of everyday was jam packed. with bearly anytime to stop and reflect on it all. now back home I'm still digesting the whole experience, the factory tour to view the reclimation process of the silver was facinating, our two days working with Royota in the workshops was inspiring, learning new techniques and projects, with a little time for sight seeing to expeirence the culture of Japan it has been brilliant. Life is full of treasures just like this

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Konichwa From Japan

we had a very long 24 hour journey to finally reach the hotel, dumped the bags and went straight out for something to eat. As we ended up in a sushi bar I hardly ate a thing cos I really don't like fish. After a good night sleep, we went to the Aida factory, the tour was facinating to see how the process happens. After lunch we went around the local historical park,with traditional samuri houses set among some of the cherry blossom trees as they are just coming into bloom. later we opted to visit the beer factory, so a quick break for a free beers was great, Cheers, back then to Aida Studio, to buy some new tools and products. looking forward to playing with those when I get them home.
We found a great resturant to eat, and I enjoyed every last bit of it.

Saturday, 27 February 2010


Here I am a a Heathrow hotel ready for a flight to Japan tommorrow, All those months ago when this was booked I couldn't belive that it would come round so quickly,I'm really looking forwrd to seeing where it all happens at the Aida Factory in Japan and taking some master classes with the japanese, I'm not looking forward to the sushi and noodles not a big fan really. I'll keep you posted on progress

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Featured in Craft and Design Magazine

Thanks to Angie and Paul Boyer from Craft and Design magazine, they poped into my studio early in December last year for a chat, This month they have written up a great artilcle in the magazine, about me the studio


Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Wow how lucky am I

I'm going to be teaching out in Spain in April on a specialist craft holiday
Check out the website

Friday, 29 January 2010

Country garden

I've never been a girly girl, but something must be happening to me as I get older,
I have been working on creating a new project for my ring workshop, I came up with this beautiful Flower ring, It has a perfect "D" profile ring band that is a sucess everytime with the attractive flower and leaves as they hug the ring bad, I absolutly love it I hope you like it too.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

This was the article that went out in the East Ridings jounal In November

Monday, November 09, 2009, 00:00
Comment on this story

Will Ramsey meets a member of the Silver Art Clay Guild and a qualified instructor in the craft to find out all about her unusual creations . . .

Some close-up work on a piece

In a red brick farm building, set in the gently rising farmland above Bishop Burton, a very modern form of alchemy takes place. And although it’s far removed from the potions of medieval scholars, it doesn’t mean it’s any less magic.

Here, in a well-lit workshop, jeweller Tracey Spurgin takes putty-coloured art clay silver – a by-product of the film and printing industries – and creates intricate jewellery.

“It’s almost like alchemy,” said Tracey, as she busies herself with her latest set of creations – a series of finely-shaped rings.

“Taking a piece of clay and creating a piece of silver jewellery out of it nearly defies belief – it’s such an exciting thing to work with.”

Tracey, who is originally from Liverpool, has worked in art and design since her college days.

Trained in fashion design and textiles – she is also a skilled dressmaker – her introduction to art clay silver came by chance.

“I had been at a craft fair, when I came across some polymer clay teddy bears,” she said.

“It was a material I had worked in before, some 20 years previously, and was interested in exploring again. But as I was looking on the Internet I saw mention of silver clay and was captivated by the idea.”

Metal clay, a soft and unprepossessing lump in its raw form, was developed in Japan during the early 1990s – using the precious metals, such as silver, left over from the creation of cinematic film or the printing process.

The clay contains tiny particles of silver or gold, mixed together with an organic binder that burns off when fired.

“With it being such a squidgy product, you can roll it out into a sheet as you would pastry,” said Tracey, as she puts the final touches to a delicately-beaded ring.

“It can be rolled on to a mandrel to make a ring, or shaped into pendants.”

Once the material is dried – in its pre-firing form it is as delicate as plaster – extra designs can be added. For the swirls and beading featured on the latest set of rings, Tracey had used a syringe in much the same way a piping bag is used on a wedding cake.

The designs are then fired, either with a blow torch or in an oven, which reveals the silver as the binder burns away.

Into the kiln . . . Jewellery designer Tracey Spurgin loads another piece of silver clay for firing

Given the malleability of the clay, the creations are limited only by the imagination of the jeweller. And in Tracey’s case that’s something hardly in short supply.

In the glass cabinets at her studio are a dazzling mix of different designs – star-shaped pendants, leaves, hearts, even a skyscraper ring, featuring three towers inspired by a recent trip to Chicago for an international conference for art clay jewellers.

She’s modest enough to say that much of the appeal for students – Tracey also runs a series of workshops at the studio and across Britain – is the simplicity of shaping the clay.

But the desire to push ahead with her own skills – she’s currently taking the Master’s Registry, a series of 50 challenging projects set out by a group of American silversmiths and artists – means that the work on show is getting ever more complex.

The heart-shaped pendants, for example, appear to be made from a web of silver. Created by Tracey piping thin strips of art clay silver over a solid piece of heart-shaped cork clay – which burns into nothing in the kiln – the finished design is a delicate lattice of silver work.

“I enjoy the experimental side of things,” said Tracey.

“I have been working on hinges, so I can create small silver boxes – the issue is that they are so fiddly. With sterling silver, there are other elements, such as copper, which gives it strength.

“With the clay, it is 99.9 per cent pure silver, so it’s more brittle – the challenge is how to give it thickness and depth.”

A selection of her pretty pendants

Alongside the complex pieces of jewellery are those which are simpler in style.

Tracey estimates a plain ring will take around an hour to make, with the more embellished designs – some of which are inset with coloured glass “lampwork beads” created by the Scarborough-based artist Emma Green – taking four hours or more.

“I do lose all track of time,” Tracey admits.

“You get into your own head space with the work, then look at the clock and think ‘I should eat something’ or ‘I should get home and make dinner’.”

Home, which she shares with her husband and two sons, is only a short drive away in Walkington.

It’s easy to see the appeal of this studio, however, to an artist who needs to focus so intently on her work.

As we talk, the only sound is the bubbling of the tumbler – filled with water and steel shot – which is easing away the final remnants of clay from her latest design.

“It’s a lovely setting,” she said.

“The only sound you’ll get is the occasional rumble of a tractor going past.”

Tracey’s studio, a former cowshed, is one of a series in the grounds of a working farm.

What were once the agricultural outbuildings for the Lord of the Manor of Bishop Burton, Richard Watt, are now Calf House Studios – where sculptors and painters now ply their trade.

Created by Heather Hayward and her father John Dunning, who run the adjoining Cold Harbour Farm, the red-brick Victorian buildings are a neighbourly network of studios.

Next door, artist Graham Chambers – who specialises in rural scenes – is busy finishing a portrait for a client in Germany.

“I find it an incredibly inspirational place,” he said.

“I think back to how it must have been in 1884, and I can see how it must have looked with the all the steam engines and threshing machines at work.”

It’s back to the alchemy again – clay into silver, farm sheds into studios. As strange as it might sound, it works.

This story

Monday, 4 January 2010


Happy new year
It's looking like a really exciting year ahead, with new products on the horizon, I will be traveling out to Japan at the end of Februry to learn about all things new,
Teaching in Spain for a activity holiday group in April, I have two of the world leading Metal Clay artist coming to my studio to teach during June, Hadar Jacobson will be teaching a three day workshop on mixed metal jewellery, and Hattie Sanderson to teach two of her amazing workshops the lidded vessel and the spinner ring.
with further plans to drop in some new workshops into the already published schedule during the year, keep you eye on the workshop timetable for enamelling, box making , and the new workshop straight back from Japan
With a special holiday during the year, for my husband and I to celebrate our 25th Wedding anniversary it's already looking very busy but I'm really looking forward to it.