Alison Catchlove - Metalworker

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Starting out 

Alison says she has always been a maker. When she was a child, her Mum would give her paper to draw on and she would cut it up and stick bits together to make little animals. Alison was ‘arty’ all through her school life, and enjoyed the discovery of different materials, like plaster and clay, and this motivated in her to go to art college and to University, where she discovered the utter joy of metal and welding!


Due in part to her subject matter, Alison has been very lucky in the last few years to be offered several solo shows at RHS gardens. Along with her flowers, butterflies and bees, this year Alison was able to enhance RHS Wisley’s new rose gardens with her roses, each of which was made up of some 43 individual pieces. Each separate petal was hand cut from 3/4 mm mild steel sheet with a pair of tin snips, hammered and bent to shape, then all the pieces were welded together. Finished roses were then galvanised and etched for a rust free, natural metal look (a few of them have her signature little ladybird on). The project took her 3 three months to complete!

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Alison undertakes lots of commissions, but only accepts them if they fit with her style. She has been known to turn down enquiries for ‘random items’ like aeroplanes, which do not sit well with her body of work.

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Sometimes Alison’s work is left in its natural colour, or burnished to glow, like the butterfly here (see left). Sometimes she adds colour, making them come alive like the ones below.


Private commissions have included a wall piece with really detailed ferns, each leaf hand cut and hammered to shape. Alison was charmed when the lady who commissioned it came to the studio and spent an afternoon helping her to cut out the bits. The leaves had a few little bugs attached - just to take the viewer by surprise.

Another special birthday commission completed last year was a family of parakeets to remember a special holiday adventure. It was secretly arranged for the birthday girl to visit one of Alison’s events, so she could have a go at working on part of the sculpture (without her realising it would later be her own gift).

Alison also runs workshops in schools, getting groups of children to help her cut, file and hammer bits of sculptures that she then completes and returns to the school.

Product sales and social media

Alison sells her work mainly through garden sculpture exhibitions. She exhibits with the Surrey Sculpture Society quite often and occasionally takes part in craft fairs, all these helping her build up a good following and people now regularly contact her when they want a piece for a special occasion.



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Alison will be taking part in Surrey Artist Open Studios from her studio in Shere again next June.

This is an occasional blog for the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen by Camilla Whybrow, Jewellery maker and Surrey Guild of Craftsmen member.

Tanya Williamson - Machine-embroidered Textiles

Meet Tanya Williamson...

Tanya was bought a sewing machine by her mother-in-law for Christmas about 6 years ago. She decided to take a course in Farnham to learn how to operate it effectively and was immediately hooked. 

Tanya found that she could create cushions in her own style of appliqué with freehand machine embroidery, and create unique images using upcycled fabrics. Over time she has developed designs featuring a broad range of British wildlife, which she presents on cushions, pictures and designs printed on mugs.

Her inspirations can come from a gorgeous piece of fabric, a picture in a magazine, or a suggestion from a mum in the school playground.


Tanya sells her work through her website and via Etsy; as well as at craft shows, festivals and agricultural shows. Her cushions and pictures are also on sale in the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen Gallery in Moushill Lane, Milford, and in a number of local shops,

She frequently takes commissions, these are often of people’s pets, particularly dogs.



Facebook and Instagram: marmaladeskiesdesigns

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This is an occasional blog for the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen by Camilla Whybrow, jewellery maker and Surrey Guild of Craftsmen member

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Jackie Faris - Designer/maker in silver

Starting out

Jackie closed the door on her career in education in 2010 and started learning to design and make in silver. Throughout her career she had always aimed to be an inspiring teacher and was lucky enough to find one to help her develop her skills and knowledge as a silversmith. That teacher was and still is an unbelievably talented master silversmith herself, and as a member of Goldsmiths set the bar high for Jackie.

From the first moment she stepped inside the workshop Jackie felt an instant rush from all the tools hanging around the walls and a great desire to understand how she could use them to work in silver for herself. Her teacher/mentor taught Jackie that working with this precious metal is truly an art form, combining architecture and structure as well as sculpture, and it is these three elements that she emotionally engages with now, and finds the most pleasing.

Jackie’s photo collection of her work since 2013 shows a clear development of her style. Her technical accomplishments enable both the creativity that she now employs and the joy that she takes from working with silver to create unique pieces.

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Jackie says that she is still a work in progress and as such her aim is to continue to learn from the talented silver and goldsmith’s community that is in the U.K. Her chosen craft, combined with a burgeoning knowledge of the technical aspects of working in precious metals, will remain in the service of her art.

She aspires always to be open to new ideas and possibilities within the field of metalsmithing and she is continually reminded that skill based learning, and the traditional methods she has acquired and continues to acquire, are irreplaceable.


Jackie’s joy is in creating new pieces, mainly in jewellery, and in learning from the processes involved. But she is always happy to have an opportunity to work closely with individual clients to create a bespoke, personal piece.

Jackie Faris MA (Ed)

Jackie's work can be seen at The Surrey Guild of Craftsmen Gallery, Milford, Surrey.

Social media

  • Pinterest:  Jackie Faris:  Faris1542
  • Instagram: jackiefaris83

This is an occasional blog for the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen by Camilla Whybrow, Jewellery maker and Surrey Guild of Craftsmen member