As mentioned in my last post, I was super lucky to get a spot in a class for silver clay on such a short notice.
Over the course of five and a half hours we made three projects. The first was a pair of earrings, the second a mould for a charm and the third was a pendant with a set in stone.
We began the day with a cup of tea and a small introduction. Anna, our instructor, then led us through our first project. I learned that this clay is fine silver and is close to 99% pure. Most silver jewellery that is marked 925, is more than often only 75% silver mixed with other binding metals such as copper. Of all the odds, I sat down in a spot that quoted Walt Disney… “Curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”. If that isn’t a sign that I’m on the right kind of path, I’m not sure what is.
I have to say I was quite amazed at how far the clay went. The package is teeny but surprisingly yields a lot. Most of the equipment is repurposed household items, making setting-up a work space cost effective.
Once all our pieces had been cut and completed, we let them dry out on a stone. In the interim, we had an incredible spread of cheeses, breads, spreads and soup. It was nice to be able to socialize with all the ladies also taking the course. Some had come from neighbouring towns, others were from here. I learned our instructor is an Edinburgh-based artist who also teaches at the London School of Jewellery. She is incredibly talented and has been doing this for quite some years.
After our lunch break we got back to work and made ourselves a mold. This was made by blending two different coloured silicones, that when combined dry to create a flexible mold. I chose to do a pair of scissors given the obvious connection to my trade.
Once our pieces were completely dry came the fun part. We then took turns firing them and transforming them from clay to solid silver! Talk about alchemy. Anna was kind enough to catch that fun bit on video for me (—> https://vimeo.com/363616500)
Upon firing, we then polished using 6 different polishing clothes. All in all, I had an excellent time and learned something new. I would love to expand this further by experimenting with the clay some more. I was amazed at how easy it is to work with and found that the hardest part was deciding what to make! Perhaps once I’m settled I’ll be able make space for a little studio set-up.
For those you planning on visiting Edinburgh, I highly recommend checking out Anna’s courses (This is the one I took —-> https://www.thearienascollective.com/introduction-to-silver-jewellery). In addition to jewellery making, they offer painting, sewing, and so much more! I even noticed they have an Artist Way Creative Women’s Circle. Talk about *magic*! We all know how much I adore that book. The studio itself is very homey and bright, nestled away in a brick alleyway in the centre of town. This particular course was 95£ (approx. $155 CAD) and worth every penny. The lunch was far more than I had expected and at the end of the day I walked away with 2 sets of earrings, 4 charms and the know-how to do it all again! Thanks Anna & the Arienas Collective :)