Looking for a new challenge for 2021 or simply a way to inject some fun and positivity into the new year?
100% of my recent online students say they would recommend it as a great way to learn new skills.
‘A most rewarding experience. Thoroughly recommend to others. Easy to follow tutor, very helpful course notes, follow-up video, materials and support In fact all excellent.’
‘Thank you for putting this course online, it was really enjoyable. It was lovely to be part of a community again. Something I have missed since lockdown’.
‘A lovely group of like-minded people, learning and making together. This course gave me something to look forward to and I’m sorry it’s finished..!’
Read more about all my online courses
My online classes are going from strength to strength so now is a great time to try something new.
My online classes are going from strength to strength so now is a great time to try something new. As part of a small, enthusiastic group of learners, you’ll watch from the comfort of home and complete the projects in your own time. Each class includes notes, resources, a full recording of the live event to replay while you work. PLUS access to a unique support forum for instant answers to your queries.
‘It was a great course. Shame it had to end. It gave me structure during these crazy times ! I was learning something I have always wanted to do’.
‘A most rewarding experience. Thoroughly recommend to others. Excellent, easy to follow tutor, very helpful course notes, follow-up video, materials and admin backup. Prompt response to any queries. In fact all excellent!’
‘Melanie thank you for putting this course online, it was really enjoyable. It was lovely to be making as part of a community again. Something I have missed since lockdown’.
Check ‘Events’ to see what’s coming up soon…..!!
My very first ONLINE course is now open for enrolments….!!
So many of you asked me for an online silver clay workshop, I’m proud (and slightly nervous) to announce I now have an online course…!!
It’s taken a while because I wanted to be certain I could recreate a learning experience every bit as good as my face-to-face classes. Which means, a programme jam-packed with great projects, crystal clear tuition, plenty of explanations, practical demos and tons of really useful tips and techniques to get you making your own silver jewellery designs, with confidence.
So, when I thought about teaching online, I wanted to be absolutely sure I could re-create something that would be equally valuable – and as much fun!
So, here it is. Spread over five weeks, this is a comprehensive online course covering all the basic (but important) knowledge you’ll need to start working with clay silver plus loads of exciting, new projects and techniques that I simply don’t have time to teach in my usual busy classes.
Places for each course will be very limited. I look forward to seeing you online very soon.
I’ve put together my best tips for staying positive, looking after ourselves and making the most of these uncertain times…
What a week, I can’t believe it’s only Thursday! It would be hard to deny things are looking tough for many of us right now but March is the month of warmer days, lighter evenings and the start of Spring. So I’ve put together my best tips for staying positive, looking after ourselves and making the most of these uncertain times…
- Take A Garden Safari – get right down to grass roots and you’ll be amazed what’s going on out there. Daffodils, early tulips, forget-me-nots and tiny wild violets. Seems no-one told Nature ‘Life Is On Hold’. You might even spot a butterfly, bumblebee or a ladybird. Oh…and you’ll definitely see a few weeds. Pull them up whilst you’re about it and you’ll feel good about doing something positive. No garden? On to tip number 2…!
- Open The Windows – on warmer days, open your windows wide and let Spring in. All that fresh air, sunshine and positive energy invigorates the home and boosts the spirits. And don’t forget to also….
- Listen To The Birds – at dawn and dusk even our cities are bursting with birdsong and usually, we’re too busy to listen. Make a point of appreciating the chatter and song of our feathered friends as they prepare for Spring.
What can we do indoors to keep our spirits up? I’ve read lots about crafting and catching up with box sets but here are some ideas of my own
- Lay The Table – If you’re lucky enough to have family to sit with at mealtimes it can sometimes be a struggle just to get the food onto the table. But, now that we potentially have some enforced leisure time, spending a few minutes to find place mats, pretty glasses and fresh flowers makes the world of difference. Even if you’re on your own, lay a tray and make mealtimes special. Or, see tip number 2…
- Make Tea Time an Occasion – As we have more time and less to do, making small moments special can really lift the spirits – tea time is such an occasion. Hunt out those cups with saucers that you never use because they’re a bit fiddly to wash up. A milk jug is essential and dainty cakes. I think a pretty plate of fondant fancies strikes just the right note between decadent and aesthetically pleasing?
- Adventures With Ingredients – can’t find your usual groceries? Buy something new, then dust off your recipe books or search online to find out how to use it. This really ticks all the boxes, a sense of adventure, takes a bit of time, learning something new and (hopefully) great eats at the end. You might even discover a new favourite…!!
It can be hard not to feel anxious or worried about what the coming weeks might hold, so looking after our own well-being is more important than ever. All of the above will help but here are two more ideas to try…
- Treat Yourself – do you have a favourite perfume / top / nail varnish / lipstick that you’re saving for a ‘special occasion’? Well, that time is now. Even if you don’t plan to leave the house it will make you feel better and that’s what’s important. (I’m a tiny bit nervous this one might be seen as either shallow or frivolous in the light of what’s happening around the world but self-care and small actions to feel good can only be helpful. If you don’t agree, you may be right and I respect your opinion, please ignore this point….)
- Listen to Music – I’d highly recommend not listening to the radio or watching television or at least limiting both to key updates only, once or twice a day. Instead, put on your favourite music, whatever makes your toes tap, dance in your kitchen and sing into a wooden spoon. I guarantee the world will look brighter….!!
I really hope that one or two of these might brighten your day or make the coming weeks easier. But I’ve noticed you’re a very creative crowd so no doubt you’ll have ideas even better than mine. If you’d like to share them with me I’ll pass them on in a future newsletter.
Sending cheery wishes and positives vibes to you all,
Choose a craft you’ll want to continue with my four P’s rule…!!
With so many exciting new creative projects to choose from and enticing new skills to learn if, like me, you’ve promised to be more creative in 2020, it can be difficult to know where to start. One glance at Pinterest and I feel confused by the sheer number of possibilities. To avoid overwhelm and choose a craft you’ll want to continue, follow my four P’s.
1. Practicality – does the craft suit your lifestyle in terms of space and time? Can you accommodate bulky equipment or materials? If you are time poor and like quick results, a mindful craft that takes time to progress might be good to relax with but is unlikely to stand the test of time.
2. Price – think carefully about investing in pricey tools or materials, in the early days at least. If these new skills don’t suit you it will be even more disappointing to have spent a fortune on redundant equipment.
3. Persistence – most creative skills, if they are worth mastering, will take time and effort to become proficient in. An expert might make it look easy but you can be sure that ease will be the result of many years of practice. See early mistakes as learning opportunities…!!
4. Pleasure – being creative is in our blood. For our ancestors it was a means to survive but we have the luxury of choosing to make something for pleasure. If you’re not enjoying learning new skills, try something else!
Woo hoo…!! My most enormous thanks to everyone who asked Santa for my ‘Silver Clay Workshop’ book. And to you if you bought a copy for your friend, sister, mother, brother or creative work-colleague. I can hardly believe this but thanks to you my little book is now in the Top 10 books in Jewellery Design on Amazon, which is absolutely incredible. Thank you again x
I’ve taken the big step of opening a small online shop.
I’ve just taken the big step of opening a little online shop. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while about but hesitated because a) it’s not really what I do and b) I see a lot of online ‘handmade’ items of possibly, slightly questionable origin that again, really isn’t me.
Which is why I’m delighted to be working with Numonday who champion British makers and small creative business. I love their ethos of supporting only truly handmade products and selling the most beautiful range of unique gifts.
I’d really urge everyone to support small makers who put so much care and love into everything they do. Whether it’s online, in person or at a fair. Even the smallest purchase is so much appreciated, you won’t regret it.
Pop over to my ‘shop’ and have a browse – here.
I’d love to hear your experiences of buying handmade. Do you enjoy meeting the makers in person or have you ever bought a special handmade gift online? Drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s the perfect, instant present solution. Buying a gift card is quick and easy…!!
I’m really thrilled to announce we’re now working with Gift Up! a leading online gift voucher specialist to offer easy and instant purchase of gift cards for our classes. I’m so excited because this is something I’ve wanted to do for ages but I knew it had to be quick, super-easy and flexible enough for you to choose the amount you want to gift – no fixed amounts. Also, because special occasions are well, special, when your card arrives, it has to look the part.
After weeks of research, I’m delighted that buying a gift card will be quick and easy. It’s completely online and only takes a couple of clicks. It’s also totally flexible, you choose the exact amount you want to gift. And most importantly, a beautiful e-gift card will be emailed with a personal message from you. Recipients can choose from any of our Ipswich based classes and start their own creative adventure – thanks to you!
If you’re a super-organised type, buy now for Christmas or if like me, you tend to leave it till the last moment, it’s the perfect, instant, present solution.
Order your Gift Cards Here
Brighten the dull days of Autumn with bold, bright, jewellery.
They may be getting shorter but don’t let the grey days of Autumn dull your accessories. I’m a big fan of colourful costume jewellery – think Prue Leith – bold colours and simple shapes. Polymer clay (or FIMO) may not spring to mind here but in fact it’s perfect for creating colourful, wearable jewellery designs. Even better, it’s easy, inexpensive, fast and great fun. There’s still time to join me for a luxury, all-inclusive creative break at Denman and start making your own fabulous designs. You’ll soon have enough beads, bracelets, brooches & necklaces to brighten your Autumn and kick-start your Christmas gifting list!
We love Prue’s jewellery style. Read more about her inspiration and amazing necklace collection here.
This week I loved presenting these two new projects for Jewellery Maker TV
I feel very fortunate to have been invited to appear as a guest designer for Jewellery Maker TV several times now. Being part of a live TV show is always daunting. So although I still feel nervous, I’ve done it enough times that I know what to expect. I know which camera to look at, how to prepare my demo pieces and how to answer questions from the audience. Years of teaching mean I’m comfortable with explaining tricky techniques or knowing which parts of the creative process might cause problems. And because I love sharing my jewellery making skills, being part of the Jewellery Maker UK family and meeting a worldwide audience via the small screen is just amazing.
Metal clays are still very new to most people so I’m trying to keep all my projects suitable for beginners. However, there’s one form of silver clay that seems to capture the interest of everyone I talk to, it’s the syringe-type silver clay. It’s simply a slightly softened form of silver clay in a syringe applicator that can be extruded freehand or over templates to create the most exquisite, filigree designs – I love it!
So, this week for Jewellery Maker TV, I presented two new syringe projects which went down a storm.
If you missed the show there’s still time to catch both projects here (fast fwd to 2.00pm when I start the first demo). Don’t have the materials to try these at home? No problem. There’s actually very little you’ll need. Email me for a silver clay syringe, costing only £15.00 and either of these designs can be yours – tomorrow!
If there are any techniques or designs you’d like to see me make on Jewellery Maker TV do let me know. I’d love to hear your ideas…!