A blog post from Harriet Peck
The Silver Jewellery Boat
One thing that Alec and I like about one another is our creativity. Being crafty people (in more ways that one!), we’ve decided to go on a creative journey together involving all manner of activities beginning with silver jewellery making…
Through various local grapevines we’d heard about a local narrowboat upon which you could make jewellery. Having both agreed that this sounded pleasant and fun I booked us in on the Silver Jewellery Boat website for a day of ring making (back off – it’s not what you think!). It cost about £150 for the two of us. I thought this was pretty reasonable for a five hour course including tutoring, materials and tea and cake.
On a drizzly grey October day we made our way to nearby Droitwich, following the thorough instructions provided by Johnathan Kettle via email, and found ourselves outside a pretty house on the outskirts of town. Here and there were little signposts guiding us towards the canal where we eventually came upon the moored up Silver Jewellery Boat.
Jonathan greeted us and another lovely couple, took our wet coats and welcomed us into the cosy boat interior wherein there was a nice kitchen area, a cosy log burner and four work tops. Here and there were little examples of metal workings providing inspiration for the day ahead.
The course began with Jonathan showing us how to do some wire bending using copper to practice with, with which I made a little bracelet, adding some texture and numbers to it using stamps and a little hammer.
We were then shown how to polish the metal on the polisher based in the bow of the boat.
During this time we all sat relatively quietly as we focused on perfecting our craft, with a cup of tea made by Jonathan, and accompanied by the pleasant sound of the rain on the roof. It was quite idyllic!
After the chain making, we were shown various examples of ring designs by Jonathan to muse over whilst we had a break with tea and cake.
We were then shown how to gauge a ring size, and use various utensils to shape and make a ring, followed by how to butane torch it to solder the joins. Using copper we had a little practice before moving on to working with silver.
We could choose to make our rings from variety of silver material – flat, round, oval or “D” section types. I chose round and decided to make a sort of infinity symbol (I stole the idea from a ring we had been shown). Alec chose to make a “D” section ring, which he gave a bit of texture to by adding a few indentations to it.
The four of us set about making our rings in relative relaxed yet excited quiet as we all concentrated on the task at hand.
I think my favourite part was the soldering as I was surprisingly OK at it and didn’t set the place on fire as Alec and I both feared I would! I also enjoyed using the tiny electronic polisher, controlled by a foot pedal, to polish clean the really fiddly bits.
At the end of the course we were given a certificate of attendance, and as well as the pieces of jewellery we made, this was a nice little keepsake from a pleasant and insightful day.
Overall we had a lovely experience and plan to go back again in the near future to create some larger pieces.
I can highly recommend this course and encourage people to get their silver craft on!