Just like a magpie, I am always looking for another piece of jewellery to add to my collection. A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be invited to a ring-making workshop at East Nook studio. The class promises you will leave with three rings, and a glass, or two, of prosecco in your belly, so naturally, I had to give it a try.
Finding East Nook Studios is a bit of an adventure. It is nestled in a building behind the often unfairly overlooked Con Panna on South Street. After navigating through some scaffolding, and climbing up some dubious looking stairs, we entered a beautiful space. The studio was not at all the mini metal factory I had imagined. Instead, the studio was full of light and space, framed by the ceiling beams. There was a long table in the middle, which comfortably sat our group of nine. Just as we walked in, there was a cabinet of glasses for prosecco (one bottle is provided, but you are welcome to bring as much food and drink as you like).
Before sitting down, we were shown a demonstration of how the rings were made. A tad daunted, we sat down to measure our fingers. We were then given a silver wire, and the process began. We were advised to make all three rings at once, which allowed us to get into the swing of things. First, came the sawing, then the shaping, soldering, and finally the hammering into shape. Although each process was a little overwhelming, we sat down, and in no time saws were broken and wires were flying around. However, once we had gotten over the initial jitters, and had regained control of the metal wire, the rings were easy enough to make.
My personal favourite part of the process was the soldering, which I found mesmerising. In order to do this, we had to shape the rings before applying flux and small bits of silver before using a blowtorch to bring them all together. The fascinating part of this process is that the silver tarnishes under the heat of the blowtorch. This is because the silver we were using was made of only 95% silver, and the alloys which make up the other 5% of the silver begin to come out. Thus, we were not only soldering the rings, but making the silver purer. After placing the rings in a chemical solution in a small slow-cooker to remove the tarnishing, we were able to hammer them to fit our fingers.
In order to do this, we used a variety of hammers which each gave a different effect ranging from lines, to large facets. The large facetted rings were the group’s favourite, however, through experimenting, we were all able to come out with our own designs. The ample selection of hammers and techniques meant that everyone came out with unique rings in all shapes and sizes. The rings I ended up with are light-weight and fit perfectly. And the best thing about them is, I made them.
I would definitely recommend this class, and in fact have already, as not only is it a fun experience, but you come out of it with some beautiful jewellery to show for it.
To book a class, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and to like them on Facebook click here.