Finding the Magic
Updated: Mar 9
Right now, I’m working on these pendants in the shape of zodiac signs, and much to my relief, it’s going pretty well. I wanted to make something that was light and delicate, and would be personal to the wearer, but without being something obvious like a name. I’ll post a photo on Instagram when they’re all done. And by the way, if you want to follow me there, I'm called halojewelleryuk.
When I first started making jewellery, I stuck to beading and wire-wrapping, but always wondered about how the jewellery I wore, which was mostly silver jewellery, was made. I knew it would have involved soldering, and I always thought of soldering as this really complicated, other-worldly activity. It was something that other people did, not me. I could do beadwork and wire work, but melting metal? Joining pieces by melting metal? Me? No way! But I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t willing to have a go, so I found some silversmithing classes in central London, and off I went. Full day courses every Saturday. I was so excited. I was finally going to get an insight into how the jewellery I actually wore might be made.
One of the things I love about going to these types of classes, is that you never know who you’re going to meet, and this one didn’t disappoint. It was a wonderfully eclectic group. One wrote about hair for a fashion magazine. Another worked for a management consultancy. Yet another was – well, I’m not sure what she did but apparently her hobby was to go to Hatton Garden, the jewellery district in London, and buy gemstones. And as a child she had been Julie Christie’s neighbour. Remember Julie Christie? If you’re too young to recognise her name, she’s the one who starred in Dr Zhivago. And if you haven’t heard of Dr Zhivago, you must Google it. It really was a classic in its day.
The first day we made a ring out of a small sheet of copper. It looked like a bit of copper pipe that I could have bought at a plumbing store for 20 pence. But it taught me a lot of basic skills. I went from a person who had never held a jeweller’s saw in my hand, to one who had cut, shaped, smoothed and soldered a piece of metal. It was fascinating.
But it was in the second class that the magic happened. We created a simple silver ring with a bezel stone setting. A bezel, by the way, is the bit of silver that wraps around the stone to hold it in place. I’ve shown a picture the ring below. I cut. I shaped. I filed. I annealed. I soldered. I made a mess. I fixed the mess. By the end of the day I was utterly exhausted – but I wanted the day to never end. I had completely and utterly fallen in love with the whole business of jewellery making. And that was when I knew it. I had found my creative soul. I couldn’t believe that it had taken over half a century (yes, I’m that old!!) to find it. But find it I did, and I’m ever so grateful for that. Better late than never. And I didn’t know it then, but I know now, that it was to be my means of hoping to spread two things I value tremendously – learning and independence. They very often go hand in hand. But I don’t want to take up too much of your time right now – so more on that topic in another post.
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