Summer School 2022 report

Eight enthusiatic Summer School students took part in the Silversmiths’ Guild workshop 17–21 January 2022. They ranged in age from 18 to around 60 or so and each came with different expectations about what they wanted to learn and the skills they would eventually achieve. Cora and I aimed for the students to go home with a finished piece of jewellery each day.

The new workbook worked extremely well. Because students learn in different ways, the clear layout with pictures and text, coupled with clear verbal instructions, provided the full range of learning experiences needed for a comprehensive learning environment that the students appreciated.

That said, each day the students were presented with a project covering a different set of aims and objectives. On Day One, they were introduced to ring making—with 2.5 mm copper wire. Some managed to make one or two, while some made a stack of three rings that they textured. Others tackled the mountain ring project as well—with limited success.

On Day Two, the students were challenged to create a pendant by piercing and sawing a design they chose from the Lucy Walker range. All looked daunted as they chose their templates and they all managed this sawing exercise beyond their wildest expectations.

The rolling mill and texture were introduced to the students on Day Three—and they were challenged to make a layered copper cuff. Both sweat soldering and riveting were used to hold the various layers together and some beautiful pieces were achieved—particularly in relation to the textured copper.

Day Four saw the students introduced to Silver Clay and again some beautiful pieces were made. For students with a pottery background, this was quite a challenging exercise, but one, in particular, made a decahedron which she supported internally with one of Bridget Deans’ sawdust and glueballs. The result was stunning. Catherine Dillimore painted layers of silver clay onto a geranium leaf over two days and her piece came out beautifully as well.

Day Five was left free from formal teaching so the students could finalise unfinished projects or try something that they hadn’t already tackled. Some made another ring, this time using silver wire, others made earring wires so they could wear the earrings they had made with silver clay and left-over copper. Another student spent her time making bails for the pendants she had made and she also tackled a brooch back.
All in all it was an exciting, challenging, fantastic Summer School with a wonderful group of students—some of who wish to take their silversmithing to the next level. 

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