Category Archives: Silversmithing Workshop

Student Etching & I Must Make Myself a Pair of These ! Day 19

Yesterday was Day 2 of Fran & Sue’s Wonderful Week of Jewellery and here are just some of the things they made.

Copper etching - salt water etching workshop

Etched designs ready to be used tomorrow

The previous nights homework was to produce some designs to etch.  Fran & Sue used stamps to create their designs and these were scanned in and printed onto PNP paper.  This was then ironed onto copper sheet and etched using the salt water etching method – as you can see the etch was very successful visit my blog over the next few days to see what they made out of these pieces.

We explored other ways of creating a resist for etching including using nail art plates and nail varnish – Here are the earrings Fran made, they will be oxidized later but also look great bright.

etched copper earrings jewellery making workshop

Copper & silver etched earrings

Sue had taken a fancy to a riveted prototype pendant I had made and came up with this lovely design in silver.

Riveted Silver Pendant

The two rings are held between two long pieces of silver which have been textured in the rolling mill then riveted together – the chain just slips between giving the pendant lots of movement.

Today was a rest day but Fran & Sue decided to keep on working on their own, drop by tomorrow to see what they made.

I Must Make Myself a Pair of These !
I have been busy with orders recently and making theses earrings for Louise reminded me how much I like them – I really must make myself a pair – I’m sure I deserve them 😉

Handmade silver dandylion earrings

Blown Away – Handmade in silver – £18 and they arrive in a cute aluminium tin.

Gorgeous dandylion heads are stamped onto handmade silver discs and given a slightly sanded finish then hung on handmade silver ear wires.

Blown Away dandy lion clock silver earrings

Just me tomorrow to see what we all make !

October Make & Show Challenge – This month I have set myself the challenge to make something and post about it everyday – follow my blog for automatic updates.  Some of the jewellery featured is available for sale here  –


Winter Walks & Holly Earrings – Day 9

Walking Choo Choo every morning has made me much more aware of the changes in the countryside around me.  Although the leaves are still on the trees there is a definite hint of the winter to come and I wanted to make a pair of earrings about winter walks when all the trees are just branches and twigs.

Handmade silver earrings winter walks

Winter Walks Sterling Silver OOAK – £19

Straight out of the rolling mill - I used wires to make the design and to make sure they matched

Straight out of the rolling mill – I used wires to make the design and to make sure they matched

artisan winter silver earrings

Oxidized until black then sanded to give them a sanded finish whilst keeping the darker detail then hung on handmade silver ear wires.  I will make these again but due to the making process each pair will be OOAK and different

Yesterday I also made some new Holly Leaf earrings

Christmas Holly Earrings silver handmade

Holly Hooks – £9 Handmade in Sterling Silver – They arrive in a cute aluminium tin

If you’d like to make some similar earrings have a look at my holly leaf findings – just add ear wires –

handmade silver holly leaves artisan silver holly leaf findings

Something for Tomorrow

This is the ring I started making yesterday

Straight after soldering

Here it is all pickled and polished

Here it is all pickled and polishedToday I’m going to oxidize it and set a rose cut peridot into the tube in the middle

Today I’m going to oxidize it and set a rose cut peridot into the tube in the middle – Join me tomorrow and see how it turns out.

Texturing using a rolling mill can be included in our Silversmithing Workshops and tube setting stones in our Bezel Setting Workshop – just contact me if you’d like a brochure

October Make & Show Challenge – This month I have set myself the challenge to make something and post about it everyday – follow my blog for automatic updates.  Some of the jewellery featured is available for sale here  –

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 😉

Latest Workshops and the Hares are Back !

As you may have noticed blogging doesn’t come naturally to me, I have great plans of posting photos of the processes of making jewellery but get too excited whilst making things to remember to take the photos and find myself half way down to the village before I remember my camera.  Thank heavens for Tim and his workshop photos !

Silversmithing, Stone Setting and Findings
Lesley had been collecting semi-precious stones on her travels for years and was looking for ways to use the larger pieces and those without holes.

silversmithing workshopWe started off with silversmithing basics and she made a lovely pair of simple silver earrings – 3 soldered rings, hammered and hanging together from handmade ear wires, this was followed by wire wrapped hematite earrings, more ear wire, a variety of handmade findings, a very striking copper bail for a large semi-precious pendant, lovely long flower earrings and a bezel set rose quartz cab in a handmade silver pendant and lots more – not a bad haul for 4 days ?

You can see the pieces in more detail by clicking on the photo above.

3 Day Introduction to Silversmithing
Kit had 3 days with us and due to her busy life wanted to investigate techniques that could expand her jewellery making skills but without taking too much time to complete.  I know how frustrating it is when you can’t commit the time to a large project and you seem to be working on the same thing forever.  Here are some of the beautiful things she made.

silversmithing workshop holiday

Lovely dangly herringbone wrap silver earrings, soldered triple ring hammered earrings, lots of styles of ear wire (an important basic for making beautiful earrings) hammered domed squares, very sweet flower studs, filed from silver sheet then domed and soldered to silver posts, a lovely sawn, stamped and domed silver heart pendant and her favourites – tiny cascading cup earrings !  Please click on the photo to see more detailed images.

The Hares are Back but no Photos
I always feel blessed when I see a hare, I’d never seen one in England and when we first arrived I was amazed and first took them for rabbits until I realised how long their ears were !   Unfortunately whilst I live in hope there are just too quick for me to get a photo (and that’s when I have remembered to take my camera with me 😉

Tim’s Hare Story
Tim was up on the road one day just looking up at the power line when he though that one of our neighbours dogs had come and sat by him.  Eventually he looked down into the enormous amber eyes of a huge hare just sitting down beside him and looking up into the sky to see what Tim was looking at.  After a few minutes the hare got up and made his way down the road – Now that must be a once in a life time experience !

Coming soon – Salt Water Etching !



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