Apart from reading a book a week, learning more about knitting and completing a wardrobe for my son Gus, I have been attending evening classes. I usually manage to dedicate one night a week to learning something new. This year Nick and I decided to attend a course together as we had really enjoyed doll making as a pair – somewhat to my surprise. We both found the concept of learning something new, and meeting people, and sharing an interest rather a compelling combination.
So earlier this year I listed a range of courses that appealed to me – including printing, basket making, millinery and yoga – and emailed Nick. I arranged them in order of preference but said I would be up for any of the above. I added ballet too, knowing full well I had zero chance of getting Nick into a tutu.
He came back very quickly, choosing jewellery making. I was a bit surprised as, other than cuff links, he never wears jewellery. But I think using tools and the idea of making presents appealed to him. Unlike me he had done a bit of metal work as a school student and had enjoyed it.
In case you are interested here are the details of the course we are currently undertaking at Morley. This is one of my favourite venues as it convenient for us, has good facilities and generally they employ high quality tutors. Our teacher – Paul Wells in no exception. As well as teaching at Morley he is employed by Central St Martins and he makes, repairs and sells jewellery too.
The group is beginners and intermediate students. Paul divided the group and Nick and I were put with two other beginners. We have worked together all term, supporting and encouraging each other. And making sure we remembered the instructions. This approach is brilliant compared to the highly individual approach of many teachers, where it takes you all term to get to know the others (“excuse me, can I borrow your pencil sharpener?). Jo, Jeanette, Nick and I have worked as a team and it’s been great.
As beginners we are obliged, this term, to create three items with just a little bit of room for personalisation. The first ring is a wide band, with a hammered finish. This ring is first made in brass to learn the techniques, and then in silver. The second project is a nice square pendant that has a textured surface. Finally we make a ring with a stone set in it.
We spent two weeks making the brass ring and we very pleased with our efforts. Then we moved on to creating exactly the same thing in silver, which took roughly half the time.
I can’t explain why this course is such fun – I think the process of making something with precious (as well as base) metals is very exciting.
- Magical transformation
- Basic materials are relatively inexpensive
- Made to fit exactly
- Opportunities to design and personalise
- Interesting tools, heat and chemicals
- Detailed work and concentration
- Something nice and unique to take away and wear or give to friends and family
Once the rings are polished we will move on to the pendants. We bought the materials already so when we make the final project (a ring with a stone)Nick will be using malachite and I have a ruby! I will share our progress later in the term.
Have you ever done jewellery making or metal work?