W.I. Newsletter March 2018

March is always a busy month for members of Abbotts Ann WI and this year was no exception. All the usual activities took place this month despite the wintry conditions, including snow on two occasions. Mind you we were all dizzy with dates when we were advised of all the opportunities also available in the coming weeks and months.

Three members travelled to Portsmouth for the HCFWI Spring Council Meeting and the attraction on  this occasion was Anton due Beke from Strictly Come Dancing. Anton was happy to take questions from Hampshire members and interspersed his answers with humorous anecdotes and asides.

Most of the day concentrated on events planned to celebrate Hampshire Federation’s Centenary this year, although we also heard from National Chair, Lynne Stubbings.

Just 24 hours later several of our members attended Anton Danebury Group’s Spring Meeting at Weyhill where the guest speaker was Susan Howe. We have been lucky enough to secure Susan’s services at one of our own meetings, but this time it was History without the Boring Bits! Susan dotted around history with her anecdotes of eclectic characters including a few Monarchs, Charles Dickens, a World War II Pilot named Hoppy Hodgkinson and a tale that had Queen Victoria dining with the incumbent Dean of Windsor being passed a salt cellar crafted from the vertebrae of Charles I.

Quite by chance one of our members discovered the Studio Theatre in Salisbury and earlier this month organised for six of us to attend a performance of “Here Come the Girls …” which was celebrating the centenary of women’s right to vote. It was an evening of monologues, musical anthems and propaganda plays, which we found very thought provoking.

For our own meeting this month we were fortunate to have Hilary Bowen who is skilled in creating jewellery from silver clay. We learnt that this is the ultimate in recycling as it is made up of recycled silver, water and an organic binder. It can only be obtained from Japan and is expensive at approximately £2 per gram.

Hilary rolled out her small amount of silver clay, onto which she pressed a small ivy leaf picked from her garden earlier in the day. All this must be undertaken in about five minutes as the silver clay dries out very quickly. It then has to dry and be lightly sanded, and as this takes a while, Hilary produced one she had made earlier – of course! The next stage in the process is for the item of jewellery to be fired, so it was time for scary bit – a blow torch. Again, this needs to be timed precisely as if the earring had got too hot it would have melted. Once it was quickly cooled, the earring had a white matt appearance, but with a bit of polishing it was soon bright and shiny.

As by now the binder and water have dissipated, the jewellery is now 99.9% pure silver (nothing would be hallmarked at 100%) whereas Sterling Silver is 92.5% silver (the remainder being nickel and copper).

Like all skilled craftsmen Hilary made it all look ridiculously easy, but that belies the many hours of practising to become so adept, nevertheless many of us went home thinking I could do that. Hillary does run courses and classes so watch this space.

Next month Andrew Negus is coming back to give us Salisbury Part 2.

Diary Dates:

07 April – Breakfast Club
12 April – Supper Club
14 April – Walking Group
26 April – Monthly Meeting 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall
28 April – Lunch Club