Monthly Archives: May 2015

Branching out

I have always loved to draw and paint. But I got away from it and channelled my creative urges into needlework and, for the last 10 years, jewellery-making and design.

My last job was Executive Director of the Queen West Art Crawl and being around such wonderful artists all the time reignited my desire to create with paint on canvas but also in jewellery techniques. So I decided to join the St Catharines Art Association. One other reason is to get the member discount on a booth space at Art in the Park July 18 – 19. 

I went to the meeting last night, which was held in a bright, modern room at the Kiwanis Aquatic Centre. There was networking going on, and a small show at the front of the room on the theme floral. Members brought their work to display here. There was coffee and cookies. And a speaker, Jim Kerr, who started working on a painting of grape vines – he got it roughed in, some shadow defined and some background in the short time allotted – all the while answering questions from the audience. Apparently I missed a life drawing class last month.  There is a group show starting tomorrow at Millpond. I hear it’s good but I can’t get there this month. 

It’s an older crowd. Not many young people there. Something I’ve noticed about a lot of membership organizations. I wonder if that’s because younger people don’t know about these groups or whether they don’t care to learn from long-time experts and choose to work on their own and make their own mistakes. I’d be sad to learn that’s the case since I have such great respect and love for my mentors in life, art and business. 

Watch for my news on my art adventures and for my booth at Art in the Park. 

Forging ahead

I love fire. I love hammering. I love the changes that both impart to metal and the finished projects I create.

I always say that I must have been a smithy in another life because forging feels so natural to me, and I instinctively know how to use the tools required to get the results I’m after. It’s not difficult to set up a portable forging centre at home. I have a Craftmate workbench, and my rolling mill, vice and big anvil are attached with bolts to it. 

This is somewhat portable (it gets a lot heavier with an anvil and rolling mill) and very compact. At my old house I kept it behind a rice paper room screen. Here, it’s in the basement. 

To create a fire area, recycle an old baking tray and silpat. Put your fire brick/solder block or annealing pan on it and you’re ready to solder or foldform anywhere. You can place your quenching bowl and tools around it. This set up is very portable too. I do a lot of my forging and enamelling on the back deck in nice weather.  Here I’m working at my dining room table. 

  Happy forging! 

New classes added in St Catharines and in TO

Last month I taught a class at Craft Arts Market in St Catharines and I’ve added two more in May. On Friday, May 22 I’ll be reviving my copper bracelet class, which is a great beginner class if you want to learn some basics of metalworking and riveting. Sign up here

The second class, on Friday evening May 29, is an Intro to the Now That’s a Jig! and features a bracelet and charm project. Check it out here

In Toronto, this coming Saturday, May 9, from 10 am to 1 pm, I’ve changed my class to offer instruction in how I create my one of a kind bead embroidered buttons. There are spaces in this class and the kit fee is only $5. Go to, click on the BEadFabulous photo to register. 

In June, I will be teaching my always popular wire kumihimo bracelet and knitting with wire on the spool knitter. Tons of creative fun! Hope to see you at one of my classes sometime soon.