I had a wonderful opportunity to head back to London Jewellery School to learn to create silver stacking rings. I’ve written about how much I loved their beading course so I was really excited to go back and extend my skills. I was also really looking forward to trying my hand at working with silver – a big step up from beading because it involves HAMMERS AND FIRE.
We were in one of the workshop spaces which I hadn’t seen before and the class was just 6 people which meant you got lots of support from the brilliant workshop leader Michelle. Michelle guided us through each step, gave a demonstration and then set us to work, checking in to make sure we were all doing ok. This was actually the first time they had run the stacking rings workshop and it was ideal for me – quite pacy, lots to make and lots of skills squeezed into one evening. I’m a fairly quick worker (read that as unfocused or easily distracted if you will…) so I really appreciated that we could all work at our own pace and that there was lots to do. We could each make up to 5 rings which also meant we got to practice the skills we were learning, and although some people had to stay a little later to finish theirs I think mine were complete bang on time.
The workshop covered: Annealing, Pickling, texturing, soldering, shaping and finishing. These basically mean the process of making the metal ready to work with, giving it a beautiful texture using texturing hammers (this was my favourite part – check out the hammers below), joining the two ends of the ring and fixing it in place, then making it look super professional.
We used gas torches to anneal the metal and later in the soldering process. First time round it was quite scary because, despite Michelle’s explanation, working with a new material means you’re never quite sure whether you’re doing something right or completely wrong! However practice makes perfect so when it came to soldering I was feeling pretty good. For the soldering we had to create flux: a kind of paste that protects the metal, and cut tiny pieces of hard silver solder. This was probably the most delicate part as you had to try and keep the solder in the correct place, while brandishing a flame and watching the flux bubble up. Some of my joins were neater than others but luckily all could be saved with a bit of shaping and filing at the end.
I absolutely love my final rings. I chose to create a range of designs – some flat, some round, some thick, some thin and using a variety of textures. I love how the variation in design looks when they’re sitting with each other
The workshop is amazing value for money – £50 to create 5 new silver rings in 2 and a half hours. Considering all the materials needed that’s pretty awesome. I’m really keen to now book in for an evening class working with silver – like all new crafts it’s pretty addictive.
You can check out all of the fantastic silver workshops run by London Jewellery School on their website here.
The lovely folk at LJS invited me to attend this taster class for free for the purpose of review. As always if I didn’t love it I wouldn’t write about it.