Making & Eating – Special Event

A special two day summer event in June with a focus on creativity and eating – my two favourite things!

I’m very excited to be sharing news of my special summer event on the beautiful Isle of Wight, famous for its music festival and beloved by Queen Victoria. I’ll be hosting a special two day summer event in June with a focus on creativity and eating – my two favourite things!

We have a super-secret, special venue – pictured here – where we know Queen Victoria was a visitor on more than one occasion. You’ll arrive in time for coffee, homemade cookies and introductions.

After a short demo, you will design and make your own, unique, real silver jewellery. Working through the steps, with guidance, you’ll be amazed as you turn clay into silver. Ideal for beginners, this is a perfect introduction to the wonderful world of silver clay. All designs will be super shiny and ready to wear by the end of the class – or send for hallmarking.

The highlight of each day will be a magnificent three-course alfresco lunch ( weather permitting) of locally sourced ingredients and home cooked dishes, with a glass of fizz….!!

Come for both days or just one, find local accommodation and make it a mini break. You’ll leave relaxed, rested with new creative skills and your summer silver accessories sorted…!!

WHEN – Saturday 8 June & Sunday 9 June 2019

SAVE – Earlybird discount available NOW  (Book before end of March)

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Melanie x

SOLD OUT in March !

This March is a super-exciting month as not only will we be visiting two of our favourite teaching venues – Denman College and Ardington School of Crafts – we also have two brand new venues  – Watershed Studio and Sticky Prints.

I always feel a little skip of excitement as the calendar ticks over from February to March. It signals the start of Spring – in my mind at least. This March is a super-exciting month as not only will we be visiting two of our favourite teaching venues – Denman College and Ardington School of Crafts – we also have two brand new venues  – Watershed Studio and Sticky Prints.

But, best of all, these amazing venues have filled every single seat on all of my courses. This is a really outstanding result and we’re totally chuffed to be teaching so many new and returning students.

Big thanks to everyone and we can’t wait to meet you in March…!

(If you missed out this month do look ahead as most of these venues have spaces on my courses later in the year)

Happy Spring

Melanie x

Are You Confident?

I talk to to Joy Foster, founder of Techpixies, about confidence and overcoming uncertainty …

Recently, I had the enormous pleasure of meeting one of my all time business heroes, the totally inspirational Joy Foster. Joy is the founder of Techpixies, the Oxford & London based social enterprise dedicated to training women in digital skills.

I’ve struggled for years in getting to grips with social media, web content management and  email marketing but I know  how essential it is  in today’s world . So, I completely understand how being out of the workplace for even a relatively short time can leave women, especially, lacking in confidence and feeling out of place with technology.

Techpixies brilliant courses – online and face to face – address all of these issues. Joy is the powerhouse behind Techpixies and truly is one of the most dynamic people I’ve ever met. We talked about the importance of learning new skills and how this creates confidence which opens new career and earning opportunities. We also talked about my new book ‘Teach What You Do‘ and why I decided to self-publish.

We recorded our conversation and you can see the first part here. In this section we’re talking about confidence and overcoming uncertainty. And  Joy has some great tips for dealing with those inevitable setbacks…..!

Watch my conversation with Joy here. 

If you’re inspired to teach what you do grab your copy of my book here 

 

On Air …

I’ll be presenting on live TV on Monday 18th February. If your interested, either tune in live to Jewellery Maker TV via one of your freeview channels or pop over to You Tube where all the shows are recorded.

Goodbye January. Hello February….!! Without doubt, January is the darkest month. And it’s not only the absence of light but lack of cash, cold weather and general mean-spritedness of the first month that really gets us down. I often wonder why do we make life even less enjoyable with dry-january, veganuary or even  janu-hairy …???

Even so, there’s  a spirit of optimism about January that I love. Do you remember those heady days after new year when anything seemed possible?  Change was in the air and we all felt inspired to to do better, to be better and challenge ourselves in new ways in 2019.

New year resolutions come but once a year. However, starting out on a new challenge or trying something new  can happen at any time.  Last year, I had the opportunity to try something new right at the end of 2018. By chance, I was asked to promote my book ‘Silver Clay Workshop’ on Jewellery Maker TV. 

Now, I’m very confident at teaching classes, I feel comfortable with my subject and love making jewellery. But live TV was something completely new to me. I’ve learned the only way to get started is to say yes, and take the first step… I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing but on the big day it went well and guess what? They’ve asked me back…!

So, as I write I’m excitedly planning out two more projects I’ll be presenting on live TV on Monday 18th February. If your interested, either tune in live to Jewellery Maker TV via one of your freeview channels or pop over to You Tube where all the shows are recorded.

If you’ve decided to try something new this February why not have a look and learn about silver clay…!!

I’ll be appearing on live Jewellery Maker TV at 9.00am and 12.oopm Monday 18th February 2019.

This is me….

You might be wondering who I am and why I’m here writing about silver clay and my classes. Please allow me to introduce myself…

If you’re new here or we haven’t yet met in person, you might be wondering who I am and why I’m here writing about silver clay and my classes. Please allow me to introduce myself…

I’m Melanie Blaikie. When I was 18 I answered an anonymous advert in a national newspaper and quickly found myself recruited as a trainee diamond dealer with De Beers. My love affair with beautiful jewels began that day and I’ve not looked back. I designed for most of the big names and enjoyed an amazing career in a truly unique industry. More recently, I moved to Suffolk and discovered silversmithing. Not traditional metal work but using an incredibly ingenious new form of recycled silver made into a soft ‘clay’. By necessity, I’m pretty much self-taught as I couldn’t find a class or much helpful info at the start.

So, I quickly decided to teach classes and write a book (to be honest I now look back wonder what I was thinking…!!) I’m definitely  creative, I love an adventure and have endless curiosity for the world around me. I love learning new stuff, I believe being nice is underrated and real happiness isn’t getting what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.

Something you don’t know about me? I passed my driving test in a Citroen 2CV (a minor miracle…!) and I’ve never seen a Star Wars film.

Why not send me a few words about yourself – would be great to say ‘Hi’!

Big thanks to @anthonycullenphotography for this photo which I love…!!

It’s all go ….

Preparing for the first silver clay workshop of the year, at Denman College in Oxfordshire.

It’s all go here as I’m preparing for the first silver clay workshop of the year, at Denman College in Oxfordshire. I’m easing myself in gently as it’s just a day class but fully booked, which is brilliant for January. The boxes are packed, the car is crammed with silver goodies and I’m ready to go. Looking forward to meeting another wonderful group of students and starting them on their own silver clay journey.

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The Start of Something New…..!!

Do you make new year resolutions? The idea of resolving to do better next year always feels a bit like not trying hard enough in the past twelve months. I much prefer to reflect on the years achievements and successes and use those good vibes to inspire future actions.

 

The first week in January feels like a good time to start something new. So, I’ve decided to start writing a regular blog. Here we go…..!!

Do you make new year resolutions? The idea of resolving to do better next year always feels a bit like beating myself with a stick for not trying hard enough in the past twelve months. I much prefer to reflect on the years achievements and successes and use those good vibes to inspire future actions.

On New Year’s Eve 2017, I took one of those online personality quizzes. The purpose of which was to define three key words, or ‘character strengths’, to inspire my actions for the coming year. I was surprisingly pleased with the results. My words were very positive traits and really felt like ‘me’. This week, I’ve been thinking about how I’ve used those words to inspire me.

CREATIVITY – After wanting to write a book about teaching creative skills for several years, I decided to self-publish my book ‘Teach What You Do’. It was the most enormous learning curve and I now know more about page number options and margin alignment than I ever thought possible. And, as if writing and publishing  a book wasn’t stressful enough. I set myself a really challenging deadline for launching the book at The Handmade Fair in September. I’ll admit there were many nights when I thought I wouldn’t do it, that I didn’t know how to do it but I just kept going and guess what? I did it. The sense of achievement was enormous. It’s only a little book but for me this was one of the greatest creative projects of my life.  Read More

CURIOSITY – I discovered in 2018 that I love taking photos. Instagram has been a wonderful platform to share my new passion for photography. I now have a reason to notice the little things. the light on a leaf, a fascinating facade and snap endless images to edit, adjust and notice all over again. Keeping curious about the world around me has been a gift I hope will last a lifetime. Like to see more of my photos? Follow me on Instagram

ZEST – (dict. – with great enthusiasm and energy) I LOVE being so busy. I can’t believe how many classes I taught last year and how many amazing new adventures I’ve had. Sure, sometimes I feel quite exhausted but I am so grateful for every opportunity and there’s still so much more I want to do. A couple of times this year I’ve been accused of being too enthusiastic, so clearly this is something I need to watch (is there such a thing as too enthusiastic?)

GRATITUDE – I said there were three words but after Zest, Gratitude came a very close, and very important fourth. It’s wonderful to realise ambitions, meet new people and visit new places but all of this means nothing without acknowledging how immensely fortunate I’ve been and how incredibly grateful I am for everything I have. And I mean everything.

If you’d like to try the quiz and find your own words to inspire you in 2019 pop over to the VIA Institute website and click the free survey link.

I’d love to know your three words if you’d like to share?

Thanks for reading my first blog. Do let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts….     Email me now