Inspired by All That Glitters? Learn silver jewellery making in Edinburgh
The brand new show All That Glitters started last week on BBC2. This month's guest blogger silver clay jewellery expert Anna Campbell shares her love of the search for Britain's most brilliant jeweller.
For those who haven’t seen it, All That Glitters is a brand new talent search to find Britain's most brilliant jeweller (think Bake Off or Pottery Throw Down for jewellers).
They started with eight contestants designing and making jewellery with time limits and real clients. Each week there will be a 'Jeweller of the Week', and one jeweller will be going home. The judges are jewellers Solange Azagury-Partridge and Shaun Leane.
I really enjoyed episode 1, where they were asked to make three bangles and then a bespoke pendant for a woman to wear when collecting her MBE. It was inspiring to see the work of such talented jewellers, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. And they’ve already started casting for series 2 so there’s more to come!
If watching All That Glitters has inspired you to work with silver, I’d love you to join me for a workshop!
There are lots of different ways to make silver jewellery and the show features the more traditional skills of working with silver by sawing, hammering and soldering. This is a fantastic skill to learn, but it does have its downsides. Firstly, you may have noticed on the show, filmed in the jewellery quarter in Birmingham, that there was a lot of tools and equipment. This can be expensive and also takes up space which is not ideal. Secondly, the traditional methods of sawing and hammering are very physical which can be difficult for those with dexterity issues.
I work with a manufactured material called silver clay. Recycled silver particles are made into a putty-like substance with an organic binder and some water. This is still real silver that is of hallmark quality but it is easier to work than the traditional sheet and wire silver. The other benefit is that you need very little equipment to get started with silver clay, much of which you will already have at home. You don’t need a jewellers bench or bench peg, you can work at your kitchen or dining room table. And the small amount of equipment you need can be packed away into a box.
If you would like to try your hand at making silver jewellery this is an accessible way to make a start to see how you enjoy it. For beginners I have two workshops available at The Arienas Collective:
A three hour silver clay taster workshop where you learn how to make a pendant or earrings, how to work with the dry clay, fire the piece (you do this with a crème brûlé torch and I give you one-to-one feedback and help with this) and polish it ready to wear home.
A one day Introduction to silver clay jewellery workshop from 10am-5pm. You will learn to make a pendant or pair of earrings, how to make your own moulds for pressing the clay into, and how to set a gemstone. You follow the process of making, refining, firing and polishing your jewellery - all in one day!
Both courses include use of tools, tuition and materials.
If you would love to make your own bespoke silver jewellery from home, my beginners workshops are a great method to try! You can find out more about the materials I use for my workshops at The Arienas Collective in the video below.
If you have any questions I’d love to hear from you so do get in touch with me.
All That Glitters is on BBC2, Tuesdays at 8pm started on 13th April 2021, ending on 18th May 2021.
Anna is an Edinburgh jeweller specialising in working with silver clay. She qualified as a teacher in 2000 and started teaching for the London Jewellery School, Europe’s largest jewellery training provider, in 2012. She wrote regularly for Making Jewellery magazine and has been featured in publications including The Daily Record, Platinum magazine and The Scotsman. Anna is the only silver clay tutor in Scotland invited to teach at the UK National Metal Clay Conference 'You Can Make It'. Visit Jewellery School Scotland to find out more about Anna and her work.
Book one of Anna's jewellery workshops at The Arienas Collective
Silver clay taster (half day)
Introduction to silver clay jewellery (full day)
Intermediate (for those with previous experience of working with metal clay)
Soldering - make cuff links and stud earrings
Ring making - make two types of rings
Boxes and beads - make a shadow box pendant, Pandora-style bead, and lentil bead