Blog, Members

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


Peace for Our Time

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The Royal British Legion poppy appeal

The Royal British Legion works year-round to support those who have defended our freedom. Strangely we only seem to remember this around September/October when poppies are commonly on sale (in the UK anyway).     

Nancy Shafee's special edition poppies

But it was actually in April five years ago that Surrey Guild of Craftsmen member (and current Chair) Nancy Shafee approached The Royal British Legion with the idea of making special edition poppies to raise funds for the charity. Interviews followed and a contract which she has renewed each year. During discussions she discovered that apparently the RBL encourages ‘small licence holders’ so she’s one of a growing band of felters, stitchers, knitters and crochet enthusiasts who produce pretty handmade poppies. With a contract these crafters have permission to use the RBL logo marking them out as licenced products.

Nancy continues to make as many of these pretty corsages as she can during the year, as well as producing ‘poppy packs’ with all the wool and instructions needed for enthusiasts to make their own.

‘The emphasis is always on quality rather than quantity but still I manage a few hundred every year and of course each one is different.  I love teaching people to make them as well and 20% of all my workshops and poppies sold goes to the Royal British Legion’ she says. ‘Felting is a great hobby and anyone can learn – it’s good fun and very sociable’.  

A symbol of remembrance

Poppies have become a symbol of remembrance, but also of freedom, hope and peace. While we often associate poppies with veterans of the First and Second World Wars, we need to remember there are young service personnel still fighting to bring peace to countless countries around the world. So, these poppies are Nancy’s tribute to all of them - young and old. Peace for Our Time.**

Nancy is a member of The International Feltmakers Association and current Chairman of The Surrey Guild of Craftsmen.

Nancy will be demonstrating at the Festival of Crafts at Farnham Maltings in Surrey on October 28th and 29th. Otherwise, if you would like a poppy, they are on sale throughout the year at The Surrey Guild Gallery in Milford or you can contact Nancy via her FB page:  or email 

The Royal British Legion is a registered charity with registered charity No 219279.

** Interesting fact: The phrase "Peace for Our Time" was spoken on 30 September 1938 by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in his speech concerning the Munich Agreement and the Anglo-German Declaration. The phrase echoed Benjamin Disraeli, who upon returning from the Congress of Berlin in 1878 stated "I have returned from Germany with peace for our time." It is primarily remembered for its ironic value: less than a year after the agreement, following continued aggression from Germany and its invasion of Poland, Europe was plunged into World War IIIt is often misquoted as "peace in our time", which had appeared long before in The Book of Common Prayer as "Give peace in our time, O Lord", probably based on the 7th-century hymn 'Da pacem Domine! in diebus nostris, Alleluja'. It is unknown how deliberate Chamberlain's use of such a similar term was, but anyone of his background would have been familiar with the original.

Blog, Members

Susan Holton - Contemporary hand-dyed knitwear and accessories

Starting out

Sue began her career with a degree in Graphic Design. She worked as a corporate graphic designer in design consultancies in London for many years, and eventually started her own design business. She commuted to and from her job by train and, being a fast reader, got through a lot of books, so eventually she decided to knit on the train instead. No-one in her family knitted, they sewed, so she had to buy a ‘how to knit’ book, some knitting needles and yarn, and went on from there.

Sue loved hand knitting and still does, but during this time she found an old knitting machine for 50p in a jumble sale. Sadly, she never could get that machine to work but it had a wonderful pattern booklet with it, which inspired her to go out and buy a brand-new knitting machine. Sue still remembers opening the box and seeing this highly complex tool inside, and thinking ‘I'll never be able to make this work’. However, she taught herself to knit not just with that machine but several others, and once she discovered the amazing creative possibilities in domestic hand-powered knitting machines, she was totally hooked.


Sue loves to explore colour, texture, fibre, and fabric in different stitch and yarn mixes in her knitting, to achieve the drape, style and ‘feel’ she is looking for. Many of her pieces exploit random textures and stitches, so that often no two of her garments are ever quite alike. She also hand-dyes and hand-paints many of her pieces. She takes a long time over each piece, and takes pride in crafting her knitwear with meticulous attention to design and detail, producing a high-quality finish.

Her aim is to make beautiful wearable knitwear which will fit and flatter women of all ages, shapes and sizes. She enjoys seeing wild and wacky knitted textiles but that’s not what she wants to make. Her challenge is to make beautiful and interesting pieces which are also totally wearable.


Susan was delighted to be selected as a member of Surrey Guild of Craftsmen in 2004. It was a real boost to her confidence that fellow designer-makers and craftspeople - local and national – show that they value and support her work in this way.


Susan frequently works to commission, which involves creating many of her garment styles in a wide range of sizes. She gets great satisfaction in creating a garment such as her swing hem tunic (in a recent example), in a size XXL. Seeing the client looking and feeling so good in her bespoke knitted tunic makes it totally worthwhile for her.




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