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Ask The Expert – unusual framing

Ask The Expert – unusual framing

Q. What’s the most unusual or difficult thing you’ve been asked to frame?

A. That’s a great question. I’d say one of the most difficult was a set of 24 antique silver dessert spoons. The customer wanted to use 12 of them to create the effect of a clock with the other 12 placed head to toe in a square around the outside. We knew the customer well and he trusted us to make the design decisions – which is flattering but certainly adds pressure! The end result was fantastic and the customer was delighted.

Other items worthy of a mention are a stunning Grayson Perry tapestry (just wow!), a pair of Darcy Bussell’s signed ballet shoes and a 1950’s Morgan hubcap. Recently, we framed a set of WW2 medals alongside a love letter that was never sent – definitely a “tissues moment”– and last year we were asked to frame an Anna Marrow silk screen in a traditional gold ornate frame but then make up a Neon Pink lacquer paint finish for the frame. It was good fun and it looked really cool.

Whilst we love anything different and outrageous sometimes the greatest pleasure comes from seeing a simple photograph or print being completely transformed into something special, just by getting the framing spot on.

No matter what the item, if you need anything framing come and have a chat.

Our framing team have over 25 years of experience to share.

Pier Inspiration by Gabbie Gardner

Pier Inspiration by Gabbie Gardner

,Clevedon based silversmith Gabbie Gardner explains the inspiration behind her hand-made silver jewellery as well as the process she uses for creating these beautiful, individual pieces.

Having lived in Clevedon since 1998, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful landscapes, water, plants, creatures and what feels like a million other inspirational elements; all of which are a rich source of ideas for my jewellery designs.

My “Impressions” collection grew from a desire to use Clevedon Pier as an inspiration, but in a less strictly representational way than is often seen. The history and construction of the Pier is fascinating, an excellent example of Victorian design, much loved by locals and visitors alike. My aim was to create a range of jewellery which would give the wearer their own little piece of the pier!

Handcrafted using traditional techniques

Without exception my Impressions collection is made by me, by hand – often involving many hours of concentrated effort and continuing a long tradition of silversmithing skills.

“In a world dominated by mass production, the invisible thread which connects maker and wearer, via design, craft processes and materials is an element of my work that is very important to me.”

The jewellery begins with a flat sheet of silver which is measured and marked into the desired shapes for the jewellery using a sharp scribing tool. Using the same tool, I then draw the designs onto the silver. Earrings often have opposite halves of a pattern to make a pair without both being identical.

The designs are then painted with an acid resist solution and dried, before immersing into a nitric acid mix for between ten and thirty minutes. The acid will eat away the unpainted silver, while the painted patterns will be left in relief. After the acid and resist are cleaned away, the marked out shapes are sawn, filed and smoothed; each shape is curved into a more 3D form using hammers and rounded blocks.

Soldering on rings and fittings is next and then a lengthy polishing process to highlight the raised patterns leaving the lower etched areas with a more matt finish to give maximum contrast.

The final addition of ear wires and chains completes the items ready for wearing. The process means that every piece of jewellery will be different even when patterns or shapes are repeated. I have also made variations with added gold accents or small pearl droplets.

Gabbie’s Pier inspired “Impressions” collection is exclusive to Fizz Gallery. It’s timeless, classic elegance has made this collection one of our longest held ranges.

The intricate designs of the Pier metal work reflected in Gabbie’s jewellery:




,From the bright lights of New York to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Edward Waite’s contemporary cityscapes have been hot property for some time and it doesn’t look like this is about to change any time soon. Tipped as  fast becoming one of the most renowned artists of his generation”, Edward is no stranger to success with sell-out shows already under his belt.

Brought up in Sheffield and not yet 30, this is an artist whose good looks, charm and genuinely humble personality have won him many admirers and rightly so. When he isn’t pounding the streets with his sketch book or squeezing paint out of tomato sauce bottles (yes, that’s his trademark technique) you’ll find him giving his free time to schools and inspiring the next generation of students by sharing his experience and techniques.

We’ve had the privilege of working with Edward for a good few years and we see him constantly evolving his work like a true professional artist would. That’s not to say it gets better as time goes on – it just develops subtly so that those who purchase his work have always got something new to see and no one could ever feel he is “churning it out”. Prolific yes, one trick pony, definitely not.


In November of this year, Edward is introducing a brand new material into this work and we are so excited to have been chosen as the gallery that will launch this much anticipated new collection ‘City to City’. It is very much under wraps at the moment so we can’t say too much – but knowing Edward he won’t disappoint. This is his biggest show of 2017 and as usual there will be plenty of choice, from local scenes to iconic cities and buildings world-wide, across a range of prices and sizes.

To be the first to see these fantastic new paintings and spend time chatting with Edward – be sure to attend the VIP Preview on Friday 17th November: email sandy@fizzgallery.co.uk for an invitation. To see him painting live come in to the gallery on Saturday 18th November.



Ask The Expert – Foxing

Ask The Expert – Foxing

Q. I’ve got an old print that has been in my family for years but it’s got brownish spots all over it – I don’t know how they got there but someone told me they can be removed. Is this right? It’s really sentimental to me but not valuable.

A. The most likely cause of these marks is what is known as “foxing”. The causes of foxing are constantly under debate amongst experts. One theory is that foxing is caused by a fungal growth on the paper. Another theory is that it is caused by the effect of oxidation of iron, copper, or other substances in the pulp or rag from which the paper was made. It is possible that multiple factors are involved. High humidity or exposure to damp is also a key factor.

The good news is foxing can be treated with good results. The treatment Is very specialist, carried out by a paper conservator or restorer, and typically uses proprietary bleaching agents and diluted hydrogen peroxide. If I were to explain the entire process you would probably be asleep fairly soon – so I’ll spare you the detailed chemistry lesson. Let’s just say it certainly is not something to try at home!

If you are going to have it treated make sure you take it somewhere reputable. Check out the experience and credibility of the person who is going to carry out the treatment. If you want to understand the process, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

As part of our conservation and restoration service we have treated many old prints, photograph, maps and other documents over the years – removing foxing and other forms of damage. Our conservator has nearly 50 years of experience in this profession and was trained by his father so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about paper and restoration.

Need advice on artwork repair or restoration – contact Andy or Sandy who will be more than happy to help info@fizzgallery.co.uk  /  01275 341141

How do they do that? Raku fired ceramics

How do they do that? Raku fired ceramics

Christine’s work –1st firing

The Great British Throwdown has ignited a huge increase in the number of people having a go at pottery, both the thrown kind (made on a wheel) and hand built ceramics (made from a slab of clay). In this issue’s Spotlight, we take a look at the firing process known as Raku, one of the most unpredictable and exciting techniques in pottery.

Like every profession, those at the top of their game make it look easy and here at Fizz we are very lucky to work with some of the most respected ceramic sculptors in the UK including Paul Jenkins and Christine Cummings.

Christine and Paul both use Raku firing in the making of their beautiful animal sculptures. Raku firing is a real hands-on technique with glowing hot ceramics, smoke, flames, and a big helping of unpredictability.

Raku firing has its origins in 16th Century Japan, but a Western version has evolved over the centuries and it is this that most of us in the UK are familiar with. In Paul’s and Christine’s work it is this Raku firing processes that produces the lovely crackle lines on their work.

Christine Cummings – finished Raku pigs

When using the Raku firing technique, the piece is removed from the kiln when it reaches a bright red heat and is immediately placed in a post-firing “reduction”. This means it is placed in a container of combustible material (often sawdust, leaves or hay) where the oxygen is reduced.

This carbon rich atmosphere produces smoke which then blackens the raw clay and causes “crazing” in the glazed surface.

When cooled the piece is cleaned with abrasive cleaners to remove the carbon before being dried. At this point the crackle lines are revealed and the piece really starts to come alive.

We asked Paul how long it takes to make one of his hares and what the biggest challenge is for him.

Paul Jenkins – finished Raku hare

“Due to the nature of Raku firing every sculpture is unique and each one, large or small, takes approximately 2 weeks to make. The first firing is a bisque firing (low temperature) and then I apply the glaze and fire for the second time. The final firing is the Raku firing at very high temperatures.

The worst problem is pieces breaking in the Raku firing due to thermal shock. This can be both frustrating and expensive when it has taken two weeks work to arrive at that point but that’s the nature of working with Raku.”

Pottery is a wonderful creative technique that anyone can have a go at, young or old. So, if this has fired your creativity why not try one of the many taster sessions run by potters all over the country. For one in the North Somerset area try http://www.clayability.co.uk/.


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