Introducing Tutor Toni Peers who will be teaching us on the Art of Silver Clay
“Everyone needs to be encouraged to find their own creative outlet, apart from the personal satisfaction; I think it is a great way to achieve mental well-being.”
Toni Peers is here in May to teach us the art of Silver Clay as it is our 25th Birthday we thought that it we be great to do a real silver workshop. Since I have joined Crafty Arts I have been desperate to run a Silver Clay class. I was lucky enough to come across Toni and her workshops and asked if she could do one here at Crafty Arts.
So on May 21st I will be sitting right next to you learning the art. I cannot tell you how excited I am to experiment with this medium. Like always I will probably be too ambitious in what I choose to make. To let you know a bit more about our tutor we asked her some questions about what it is like to be a crafter.
♦ So, Toni what’s your background?
I started teaching (I.T) around 18 years ago and then took those skills on to work for a charity in Wiltshire that specialised in learning through creative play. We took on ‘scrap’ donated by local businesses – anything that would normally go into landfill but could actually be used in creative play – part of our job was to try to come up with creative ideas on what to do with all this fantastic stuff, so I started teaching crafts. I left the scrap store and moved to Essex about 10 years ago and at this time I decided to make a business (Curly Girly Crafts) of my passions teaching and crafts.
♦ How did you get into your Craft?
I teach five different crafts: Silver Clay, Enamelling, Encaustic art, Feltmaking and Flamework (making glass beads), I got into them for a variety of reasons but I usually kid myself… well I had the equipment for that so I may as well try this. I started using silver clay as it works so well with my enamelling skills, although I would love to learn silversmithing it would take me many years and tools to gain the skills to achieve what I can with the silver clay very quickly and then I can create silver blanks directly for me to enamel on, or just to make into silver jewellery.
♦ Where do you go to be inspired?
I have a vast horde of books but I also like looking at nature, in the case of silver clay it can be as simple as picking up bits and pieces such as seashells and leaves and then using them in my pieces.
♦ What’s in your studio?
It would be easier to ask what is not in my studio. Teaching 5 crafts means I have a vast amount of tools, consumable items and equipment as well as all those little bits you buy to try, or collect to use at some point (and mostly can’t find again when you need them!)
♦ What would you put in your art box if money was no object?
I would probably rebuild my workshop with more storage and more work benches. I am always buying more kit – usually flamework tools!
♦ What materials do you always have on you?
A book or magazine to get new ideas and a camera to take photos of things that inspire me.
♦ What is your favourite medium to work with?
Too difficult to answer! My students are always asking me which craft of the five I teach do I like best. I think sometimes I discover a new technique, or a new piece of glass or something like that and start working with that but this only helps me keep my interest in all the others as I never get bored and inevitably doing something in one medium leads me to start thinking about how I can achieve a similar effect in another. Currently, I love thinking in 3D, so both Flamework and Silver clay are great as they allow me to do this.
♦ What’s your favourite piece of Art?
I particularly admire several Flamework artists such as Kerri Fuhr, who does such amazing things with glass that I am continually inspired.
♦ What do you dislike about the art world?
Craft v Art, there are a few artists out there who devalue crafts and think they are part of an exclusive club, which I find frustrating.
♦ How do you feel about arts in education?
I didn’t like art at school, it seemed that a couple of students were talented and the rest were just left to feel a bit inadequate. Everyone needs to be encouraged to find their own creative outlet as apart from the personal satisfaction I think it is a great way to achieve mental well being.
♦ What the best piece of advice you have been given and what would you tell someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
My children’s school follows the Olympic ‘be the best you can be’ campaign they never say I can’t do it, they always say I can’t YET – I think this is a great piece of advice, especially when you are struggling with something. My advice would be, be as flexible as you can be. Have a path in mind but allow yourself to venture away from it, if it feels right. Trust your instincts. Don’t be put off by what others are doing – especially on Social Media it is so easy to see someone is doing something and questioning why you are aren’t doing as well etc which goes back to trusting your instincts really, you really don’t have to do everything all at once!
♦ What would be your dream project?
My dream project would be to make a living from what I do but still be able to spend as much time as I can having adventures with my children … not so far removed from where I am in terms of what I am doing but maybe in Canada. 🙂
So after reading this it seems like we definitely need Toni to come back and teach us more of her other crafts!
Please let us know which ones interest you and we will see if we can put one on! We only have two places left on the class so book now to secure your place!