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FEBRUARY 2021

Cheesecake

This time of year is always a little slow, so to liven things up a bit I took part in the #makersathome2021 Instagram challenge organised by @makerscornwall. Twenty-eight prompts – one for each day of February – with artists from far and wide taking part. Great fun!

Pop over to @wilde_works to read more, but Day 25 I’ll share with you here: ‘Recipe’

This is an adaptation of a very old recipe my aunt in California sent us by post in the seventies, long before the dawn of e-mail.


Base

14 gluten-free digestive biscuits

1/4 cup dairy-free margarine

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Middle layer

300 g lactose-free cream cheese

2 eggs

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Topping

250ml lactose-free Greek yoghurt (or filter out the whey of approx. 450g of plain lactose-free yoghurt until you get the same consistency)

4 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon lemon juice


Method

Preheat the oven to 175 Celsius. Crush the digestive biscuits with a rolling pin, then mix in cinnamon and melted margarine. Press in to a pie dish with the back of a spoon. Bake for approx. 5 minutes.

Place the cream cheese, eggs and vanilla essence in a bowl and whisk, slowly adding the sugar, until light and creamy.

Carefully pour onto the pie base and bake for a further 30 – 35 minutes until set and slightly risen.

Let the middle layer cool until it has subsided enough to pour on the top layer.

For the top layer, mix all ingredients together, pour over the middle layer and bake for a further 7 minutes.

Let the pie cool to room temperature, place in an airtight tin or tub (do not cover with aluminium foil, as this will melt due to the lemon juice) and chill overnight in the fridge.

Bon appetit!

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Vowchurch view – throwback to February 2019. I love these 'tissue-paper' kind of days.

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JANUARY 2021

Happy New Year!!

January started with a frost and a flurry of snow, followed by a lockdown. 2021, may you be kind to us, keep our loved ones safe and be our new safe place! xxxx

Birdies in the snow

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DECEMBER 2020

Merry Christmas!!

It's been a hard year for most, but I hope you are able to spend precious moments with your loved ones, in person, online, by phone. Stay safe this Christmas; we will be together again soon! xx

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I often mix resin to match colours found in nature, like the vivid autumn green in these Eclipse earrings. The Eclipse collection was inspired by an image of Saturn called 'Quintet of Moons'.

Seen from space, life on Earth feels even more dwarfed than this minature landscape found on one of the many stiles in the Herefordshire countryside.

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NOVEMBER 2020

Changing Tide

November is always a busy month for jewellers, probably the busiest month of the year. However, in between orders, I found time to work on a new piece for my Snapshot2016 collection.

The collection started in 2016 in response to the socio-political upheavals at the time (see previous posts). Trump had just been elected and the UK had voted for Brexit. International tensions were rising, countries were increasingly looking inward and the environment seemed to be slipping off government agendas. Echoes of globalism could still be heard among new talk of walls and fences. The world had changed more quickly than I could ever have imagined into something very bleak. I decided to make a pendant in response to the year gone by, juxtaposing man versus nature.

Roll on four years and the world is changing again. A global threat more immediate than global warming has forced countries to collaborate again, and in its wake – finally – the world is waking up to the reality of climate change. Vaccines are in the pipeline and the environment is back on government agendas. New promises and commitments – perhaps too premature for celebration – have been made. Nevertheless, it’s a milestone and to mark the changing tide I decided to create a new piece for my Snapshop2016 collection.


We are a tiny planet in this vast universe... I’m feeling cautiously hopeful.

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Wild pony on Garway Hill, one of my favourite walks with its panoramic view of the Herefordshire countryside.

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OCTOBER 2020

We Live in Strange Times

We also live in strange places: each in a universe of our own. The people with whom we populate our universes are the shadows of whole other universes intersecting with our own. Being able to glance out into this bewildering complexity of infinite recursion and say things like, “Oh, hi, Ed! Nice tan. How’s Carol?” involves a great deal of filtering skill for which all conscious entities have eventually to develop a capacity in order to protect themselves from the contemplation of the chaos through which they seethe and tumble. So give your kid a break, okay?’

Douglas Adams

 

Now, in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, times seem stranger than ever. Knowing that each generation has faced its own hardships only serves to emphasise how fragile our delicately balanced ostensibly stable society is.

But life goes on – in a strange kind of way – and new life is still celebrated in some of the traditional ways.

In addition to my own work, I occasionally make pieces for  John Mckellar Designer Jewellery, a contemporary jeweller's down a picturesque little street in Hereford, called Church Street, with a shop front that could have come straight out of an Anton Pieck painting (Anton Pieck Museum).  A couple of weeks ago I was asked to make two expandable baby bangles for one of their customers – a first for me, so I decided to share the process.

The silver wire chosen by the customer was just too cute – an adorable procession of farmyard animals along a 10mm-wide strip of Sterling silver. A little wide perhaps for a baby bangle, but charming nonetheless.

Step 1 was to decide on a plan of approach, starting at which point to saw and how to overlap the frieze to preserve the best-possible image for the front of the bangles. There wasn’t much room for manoeuvre within the length provided, so I felt quite pleased to have two puddle ducks and a bunny on one front and mother goose on the other!

Step 2 was to file the ends flush for soldering into a solid bangle.

Step 3 was to tap it into a perfect circle on a bangle mandrel and sand and polish the inside and edges.

Step 4  was to decide on the size of and make the brackets, leaving enough room for the bangle to adjust smoothly. These too had to be sanded and polished, as once soldered the inside would no longer be accessible.

Step 5  was to saw open the bangle and file away a little of the relief pattern to seat the brackets.

Step 6  was to set everything up for soldering, ensuring that the brackets remained at exactly 90 degrees to the bangles.

Step 7  was to saw away the slightly protruding top end of the bangle, making sure that the saw blade stayed well away from the frieze!

Step 8  was a final polish and burnish.

I wonder if the babies for whom these bangles are intended will live in strange times too as adults. If I think back to how different our world was thirty years ago, I’m sure their world will be strange to us, but I hope they’ll live in better times.

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I love this time of year, when the last flowers dotted around the garden stand out like precious jewels in the autumn glow.

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