Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Silver Clay Workshop

One of my goals for 2014 is to make sure I keep on learning.  With this in mind, at the end of December I decided to book a half day silver clay workshop with Emma Mitchell of Silver Pebble. I've seen silver clay jewellery before at craft fairs and demonstrated on television.  I'd always wanted to try it myself, so when I found Emma's blog through a jewellery magazine, I didn't hesitate to find out more and book myself on one of her workshops. 
Emma creates beautiful silver clay jewellery from her home in a pretty Fenland village.  Her pieces are all handcrafted and take inspiration from the rich landscape she calls home. 

A selection of beautiful Silver Pebble jewellery

So last month, after a relaxing drive through the Fens, I found the picturesque village of Reach and stumbled into Emma's warm and welcoming cottage.  Emma only has a few people at each workshop which meant it was a lovely, intimate gathering.   We had a pot of tea and a 'get to know you' chat before we settled down to work.

To begin with, Emma talked us through the origins of silver clay.  It is a wonderful medium, created using particles of fine silver.  Once fired it becomes so pure it can be hallmarked.  I have a little bit of silver smithing experience, but silver clay is an entirely different kettle of fish and is so much easier to get started with.  The workshop aim was for us to create a selection of charms that could be used for necklaces or earrings.  We had access to all the materials we needed and were supported every step of the way. 

The small number meant that we had lots of 1 to 1 time.  Emma was a great teacher, very informative but also lively, and chatty, making everyone feel relaxed and at home.  We were invited to browse Emma's garden for inspiration and the chocolate cookie break was a perfect opportunity to get to know each other better and reflect on our creations.

At the end of the day I went home with a delightful selection of charms.  I've not decided what I'm going to do with all of them yet, but some have already been given a purpose.  I still can't believe that I started the day with a little bag of what looked like grey Plasticine and in just a few hours it had transformed into these gorgeous pieces! 

Leaf and flower earrings, completed with a little help!

Bee charm necklace, with added Swarovski crystals

I'm not yet sure if I will be using silver clay in my jewellery ranges.  However, I will be purchasing some of my own materials for some personal projects and special gifts.  I'll be sure to blog about them when I do!

For anyone who'd like to find out more about making their own silver clay jewellery, I can't recommend one of Emma's workshops enough.  I had a fabulous day learning a new skill and chatting to like-minded people.  It's always so much more fun going out and learning from real people than trying to teach yourself from a book or video!   

Find out more about Emma's workshops here: Silver Pebble Workshops

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