Monthly Archives: March 2014

Latest Silversmithing Workshop & Goodbye to Dark Seas

Most of our students are women on their own but occasionally we take bookings from couples and these are always interesting and fun workshops.  Rob booked a 2 day Introduction to Silversmithing as a birthday present for his wife Liz and managed to keep it a complete secret until she arrived and saw all the jewellery making books and magazines that fill the students cottage accommodation.  They were both new to jewellery making and here are just some of the wonderful things they made…

March 2014 Silversmithing Workshop


We started with a set of stacker rings and fabulous interchangeable earrings, then had a play with embossing copper and silver.  The decided to commit their second day to a major project each, Liz an apple pendant complete with copper pips, texture and doming and Rob managed to sum up the spring weather – sun, clouds and rain in a mixed metal necklace – it was a mad rush to get them finished as they had to rush off that night but well worth the effort .  Well Done to both of them !

Good Bye to Dark Seas
I enjoy making most of my pieces and I’m happy to see them go off to new homes but I must admit that I was quite sad to say good bye to this Dark Seas ring – It was a challenge to make and we had a few tussles on the way.

Silver sea glass artisan ring

Dark Sea Ring

It started with a piece of sea glass found by a beachcomber at Seaham in England complete with scars from it’s travels (glass found at Seaham is almost all over 90 years old).  I made the bezel and added a few silver “pebbles” and a tube set faceted peridot.  I wasn’t happy with it in it’s polished state so I oxidized it to bring out the detail and give it a more moody feel.

It’s now happily on it’s way to a lady in Pittsburg USA to begin it’s new life on her hand.


PS – Here’s the back  – I like to add a little interest to the back of most things I make – this one has an offset band and stamped dandylion clock seeds.

artisan silver and sea glass ring

Dark Sea Ring Back



New Handmade Toggle Clasps & Chickens Nests in the Road

New Toggle Clasps

I really prefer using handmade clasps rather than commercially mass produced ones, I know sometimes you can’t avoid but I like to come up with designs for clasps that go with handmade jewellery.handmade copper toggle clasps



These are my new clasps, they have all been texture using a rolling mill, two with texure plates (I’m calling them Wild Garden & Blossom) and the leaf with a natural leaf skeleton.After texturing I cut them to shape then punch the toggle hole and then dome them.  The toggle bar is simply made from wire and hammered and sanded smooth.

You’ll find them in the New Items section on my website – or by clicking on the photo above and I can make them in silver too!

I made some connectors to match – just add ear wires and beads if you want extra dangle



Chickens Nests in the Road

Each year after the snow leaves us a strange sign appears on our road warning of  “Nids de Poule!” or chickens nests !  The first year we saw the sign we drove ever so carefully to avoid the nests only to find it’s just the French sign for pot holes !  It still makes us laugh each year when the signs are put up 😉


Treasures from our First Jewellery Making Workshop of the Year & A Pair of Ginges

A couple of weeks ago Caroline arrived for our 1st workshop in 2014, we had decided to run the workshop on a one to one basis and we were both looking forward to a week of riveting, fold forming, stone setting and silversmithing techniques.

Riveted copper earrings

Copper earrings with silver rivets and handmade ear wires by Caroline

It was Caroline’s 2nd visit to La Vidalerie and since her last workshop with us she had been busy exhibiting at shows and galleries and running Sea Breeze Designs with her partner Ric. Their website has a wonderful mix of her handmade artisan jewellery and his driftwood art –

Here are just some of the beautiful pieces she made whilst with us –

one to one jeweller making workshop

One to one jewellery making workshop

You can see more on our Facebook page –

A Pair of Ginges

I just had to share this photo of our two youngest lads – A Ginger Heart !

Ginger Heart

My Ginger Heart

Ginger Kittens Cuddle

Or the right way up 😉



A Gift From The 1st Workshop Of The Year

We’ve just finished running our first workshop for 2014, it’s always a slight shock to the system after the winter break but it was Caroline’s 2nd visit to La Vidalerie and we were looking forward to seeing her again. I’ll post photos of some of her creations in my next post.

Before leaving Caroline gave me a couple of pieces of beautiful fluorite, I’ve made the first piece into a pendant.

Artisan Silver & Fluorite Pendant

Artisan silver & fluorite pendant oxidised to bring out the detail.

I was in two minds about oxidising it but it really was crying out for a more sombre (the bright silver really didn’t suit the stone).  Thanks so much Caroline for the lovely stone – I hope you like what I did with it 😉