October is Another Make & Show Month !

Way back in May I challenged myself to making something everyday and posting about it. I obviously didn’t learn my lesson as I’m going to repeat the exercise again this month. Why don’t you join me, email me photos of something you make each day with a little bit of information about it and see if you can keep going for the whole month.

Day Minus 1
Here are the Christmas Tree Earring I made yesterday and tomorrow I’ll show you the easy to wear almost hoop design they led to.

Christmas earrings you can wear all year round !
Each pair is made by fusing sterling silver and due to the making process each pair is unique – they come ready to give in their own little La Vidalerie tin – perfect for Secret Santa.  You can order any of these by sending me a message via my contact page.

handmade silver christmas earrings

Christmas Tree 1 – £20 including postage

handmade silver christmas tree earrings

Christmas Tree 2 Silver & Swarovski – £20 including postage

classy christmas earrigns

Christmas Tree 3 – £18 plus £1.50 postage or free for orders over £20

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A Quick Competition !

Quick Competition – What are these going to become ?


I’m making an order for one of our lovely customers at the moment and these are part way through being made – send me an email with what they are going to be when they are finished and shiny and you’ll be in the draw for a mini earring kit (pair of ear wires, head pins and beads in a cute La Vidalerie gift bag).

Draw ends midnight tonight !  Hint – you’ll find these on our website – http://www.lavidalerie.com and I want their name :-)

September GiveAway Draw
Review a product to be in the draw for one of two sterling silver & Swavoski earring kits – the kits come in our cute stamped La Vidalerie muslin bags and are great for giving of keeping and of course make a pair of beautiful earrings.

BaliPrincess BaliSwirlEarringKit

Just email me a review of a product you have bought on our website before the end of September and you’re in the draw, you get an entry for each review and you must have ordered/received the product you are reviewing – we’ll put the reviews on our website with your first name and the initial of your surname

Students Work & A Lampshade Dog

Students Work
We’ve been super busy with workshops recently and as always I am so impressed with the beautiful jewellery our students produce.   Here are some of the group photos with links to the FaceBook album where you can see the photos individually.

Shona – Introduction to Silversmithing – July 2014
silversmithing workshop in france la vidalerie
It was Shona’s first visit to La Vidalerie, she chose a one to one workshop incorporating a silversmithing taster, wire work and stringing.  She made some gorgeous silver studs & stacker rings as well as learning how to make wire wrapped loops and stringing.

Handmade earring - jewellery making class La Vidalerie
And these lovely earrings Shona made with lampwork beads by Trudi at Glitteringprize (click on the image for Trudi’s Etsy shop).

Laura – Riveting, Chainmail and Wirework – July 2014
We were so pleased to have Laura back for her 3rd visit,  she felt that she needed a creative break and chose a one to one workshop having the cottage to herself -

one to one jewellery making tuition holiday in france

We had great fun with riveting, byzantine weave earrings, fold forming and sawing and a whole set of dangle rings.Handmade crocodile silver pendant la vidalerie jewellery making workshops students work
And this is Laura’s fabulous crocodile pendant – drawn then sawn from silver sheet, textured and riveted.

Carolyn & Vicki – Mother & Daughter Break – July 2014
This was Carolyn & Vicky’s 2nd mother & daughter visit to La Vidalerie. Vicky has been silversmithing for about 3 years and Carolyn is a relative beginner. This time they wanted to explore more silversmithing, glass fusing, etching and rivetingmother & daughter craft holiday jewellery making in france la vidalerieNight Market St Geniez d'Olt

It’s amazing how many techniques we used and the number of pieces they made – and we even had time to visit the night market at our local village St Geniez d’Olt and enjoy the fireworks (the night markets are run every other week in the season and the fireworks once or twice a year – both great fun and very French !

Jean & Joan – Wonderful Week of Jewellery – July 2014
It was Jean’s 2nd visit to La Vidalerie and she had booked a 3 day workshop but by Friday decided that 3 days just wasn’t enough and extended her stay – we were really pleased to see her again and glad to have the extra time.  Joan wanted to expand her jewellery making to include stone setting and we all spent the week  silversmithing, stone setting, fold forming, riveting, glass fusing and etching.wonderful week of jewellery
AB -  (11)
The music school was performing at the night market making the evening perfect.

Toral – Wonderful Week of Jewellery – August 2014
Toral came all the way from Jamaica via Canada for a week of jewellery making. She wanted to explore ways of using sea glass and to learn new jewellery making techniques. We had a great time with silversmithing, riveting, stringing and drilling glass and here are some of her wonderful creations. jewellery making holiday in France la Vidalerie

Toral came for the jewellery making but took some wonderful photos whilst she was here – La Vidalerie and the beautiful countryside around us  – please click on the photo to see the rest of this album.
Beautiful aveyron
she reminded us why we came to the Aveyron – Thank you Toral !

A Lampshade Dog !
Poor Choo Choo, he’s walking around bumping into things at the moment due to the lampshade he’s having to wear following his little operation to stop him making more little Choo Choos – The good news is the lampshade comes off soon and in the meantime he isn’t letting it stop him running around the garden and enjoying his walks.
Lhasa Apso

We’re trying to convince him that all the best dogs are wearing them but I think the cats are making fun of him – darn ginges !





Lots of Jewellery Making Workshops & A New Puppy !

June was wonderfully busy with lots of workshops and a new puppy (more of him later ;-)

Glass Fusing & Jewellery Making – 30th May to 2nd June 2014

Glass Fusing Workshop

Chris & Annie

It was Chris & Annie’s 3rd visit to La Vidalerie and we had 2 wonderful days of fusing dichroic glass in the mornings and making it into jewellery in the afternoons – the photo shows some of the lovely things they made using riveting and traditional silversmithing stone setting techniques.  We made bails from silver sheet and glued some of the pendants and earrings.

Fold Forming & Riveting – 3rd to 7th June
We keep our class sizes very small to make sure everyone gets lots of 1 to 1 attention.  Iseult and Paula had visited La Vidalerie before but Anne was a new student fitting in some jewellery making whilst on holiday from Australia.

Fold Forming is a fascinating technique for adding texture and creating 3D forms from delicate to chunky (everyone made lovely delicate fold formed silver earrings and a chunky copper cuff).  And as I’m sure you know – I love riveting – it’s great for joining metals (and things) together without worrying about solder bleeding and can be used purely decoratively.  We of course managed to fit in some general jewellery making and some silversmithing.

Fold Forming Riveting and silversmithing workshop jewellery making

Iseult – Riveted Bangles & glass, sea glass & silver pendant, handmade silver toggle & lovely silver & copper flower pendants

Riveted glass pendants workshop class

Paula – Wonderful Fold Formed cuff with silver rivets, riveted dichroic pendant bangles and silver stacker rings

Riveting jewellery workshop

Anne – Lovely silver fold formed earrings & copper cuff, drawn then etched copper key rings & lovely riveted double wrapped bangle.

Oh – and everyone drew then etched a copper keyring – really great fun project.

Special Workshop – 15th to 19th June
Carol & Pat booked a workshop holiday together with the aim of making a ring, bangle & earrings – as you can see they made much much more.

beginners silversmithing workshop holiday

Carol & Pat

We started with a simple soldering project making soldered rings for dangly earrings and moved onto silver studs, a pair of leaf shaped studs (to go with an existing bracelet), bangles, a ring with a domed and textured disk and more (the lovely stripey light blue lampwork beads are by Trudi at Glitteringprize).

Stone Setting Workshop – 23rd to 27th June
It was Jane & Wendy’s 2nd visit, they met by chance at a La Vidalerie Introduction to Silversmithing workshop last year and got on so well that they decided to book again this year and extend their skills into stone setting.

stone setting, bezel setting, class, workshop, holiday

Jane & Wendy

We had a relaxing 3 days and Jane & Wendy managed to make and set a ring and pendant each, make lots of earrings and even a silver spinner ring each !  Making a spinner ring is a great project but lots of work and you have to be very disciplined in annealing the silver – Spinner rings are basically an anticlastic ring with 1 or more rings that are trapped but spin freely (I think the photos make more sense ;-)

You can see individual photos of each piece on our FaceBook page under albums – June Students Work –  or click here -
The most recent workshop photos are at the bottom of the page

We’ve been planning to get a puppy for ages and finally Tim saw (and fell in love with) a little Lhassa Apso.  He took me to see it and we couldn’t walk away. He’s called Choo Choo (long story) and is just so full of fun, inexhaustible, loves water and makes us laugh just looking at him.

Lhassa Apso Puppy going for a swim

ChooChoo discovering the River Lot

Cooling his feet after a long walk

Cooling his feet after a long walk

And for those of you who have met our cats – They are getting on remarkably well and are on their way to accepting this new, funny looking (and smelling) cat ;-)

Day 29 – More Etching !

The time between running workshops is great for catching up.

Handmade etched copper carpe diem faith hakuna matata

Etched Copper bracelet bars

Etched Copper

I had promised to make these for Trudi, a great lampwork artist (you can see her work in her Etsy store Glitteringprize).

I draw the designs free hand then photograph them and transfer the images to the computer so I can print them on to special paper (PNP paper) in reverse (this has to be done on a laser printer or photo copier using toner).  The image is transfered onto the copper using a hot iron.  I use the salt water etching method to etch the design into the copper – I like the rustic effect this etching has.  The bars are then filed, sanded, polished and liver of sulphured (to give them this lovely soft aged look).

These are bracelet bars and can be used with beads, silk (simply thread the silk through the holes and wrap around your wrist), chain etc to make a bracelet.

They are also available with a larger hole and toggle bar as a toggle clasp (this shows one made up)handmade etched copper bracelet

Etched copper toggle clasp

Or with just one hole and a jump ring (have a look at the Carpe Diem one in the front of the first photo)

At the moment the designs are:-
Carpe Diem (2 designs)
Faith (2 designs)
Hakuna Matata
No Matter

They will eventually make their way onto my website but please contact me if you would like one sooner.  Due to the making process each one will be unique.

Bracelet Bars – £7
Toggle Clasps – £8
Pendants – £7

Day 28 – Ginger Cat Glass & Living in the Clouds

Yesterday I did some glass fusing, just simple stuff in preparation to Chris and Annie’s arrival tomorrow for our next workshop.   Here are a pair of the earrings I  made.Fused Glass Earrings

White & Teal Fused Glass on Silver Ear Wires

Here they are pre-fusing along with a whole lot of friends (along with my notes on the kiln paper ;-)
Glass pre firing


I cut 3mm white glass into square and added teal coloured confetti (very thin glass that you can break with your fingers).  Once fused I drilled the glass and hung them on handmade balled sterling silver ear wires.

I’m not sure if I’m going to list my fused glass on our website so I’m starting a separate Dawanda shop – Ginger Cat Glass –  which should be up and running in a week or so – In the meantime you can buy these earrings for £15 by contacting me – they come in a cute Ginger Cat Glass tin.

Glass Fusing Workshop – Chris and Annie are coming for our Glass Fusing – Making Fused Glass Jewellery workshop.  This workshop has two parts, the mornings are spent cutting and setting up glass for fusing and the afternoons making findings in silver for the glass (techniques used range from making simple silver bails and ring blanks for gluing onto the glass to riveting and setting depending on the students ideas and their experience).    I’ll post photos of their finished jewellery after the weekend.

Living in the clouds – This morning I woke up in the clouds (more further down)!  We’re at 750m and occasionally the clouds come down and see us, there are other mornings when you can look down into the valley and see the clouds below and when we drive down to the local village we drive down through the clouds and out the other side !  I will try and get phots next time.

Day 27 – Lots of Love – Hearts !

Yesterday I managed to catch up with a back order for my fine silver hearts, I make them in PMC – here they are in their “biscuit” stage before firing
PMC hearts before firing

PMC is an amazing product – clay made out of silver – you can mold it just like regular clay and once it has dried you fire it either in a kiln or with a torch and the binding compound burns away and you are left with 99.9% pure silver (this is purer than sterling silver).

Here are the hearts fired and polished
fine silver hearts pmc

Each one is different and has a textured front and spirals on the back, they come with sterling silver jump rings and are £5 each .  Each one is different and I make they a little thicker than most people so although they are small (about 1cm) they feel nice and chunky.

The rounds at the top are destined to become my Rock Rose Handmade Silver Studs – So cute.