Solder on! Muddy turns silver smith for the day
Ever wanted to make your own statement necklace or earrings? Muddy writer Ashley joins The Mobile Jewellery School for a riveting afternoon at the workbench.
Two talented jewellers, Melanie Bowler and Juliette McElligott, owners of The Mobile Jewellery School have come up with a brilliant way to teach silversmithing in short sessions, and all conveniently close to home.
Melanie and Juliette met at Plymouth College of Art and Design and are now firm friends, each with their own successful jewellery businesses in Chudleigh and Seaton. While they both enjoy silversmithing, working in their respective studios can get a little solitary, so the pair relish the opportunity to get out, meet people and share their love of jewellery-making – hence The Mobile Jewellery School.
The joy of being mobile means the school pops up in numerous locations all over Devon, mostly village halls (upcoming events here). Next year the pair plan to run classes from even further afield, including in Bristol to North Cornwall.
You’re made to feel really welcome from the off and you’re given a named apron (a nice touch as it protects your clothes but also allows Melanie and Juliette to remember names).
It’s all highly professional as everyone has a full set of their own specialist tools and each jewellery teacher has only two or three students to look after in any session so there’s always plenty of hands-on help. No one runs the risk of leaving with anything less than delightful.
First, you choose to make a piece of jewellery from a wide range of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings designed by the pair. People tend to choose differently from each other which helps as clearly a great deal of one-to-one tuition is necessary for you to reproduce these polished pieces without doing yourself a mischief.
I chose a pair of earrings thinking (wrongly) it might be the easiest option. (I think it’s fair to say that my effort – above – deviated somewhat from the original design.) Apparently, I was a little too enthusiastic with my hammer – oops! However I greatly enjoyed learning about how to heat and shape metal, solder, drench, pickle and polish.
Oh, and I finally found out what being in a ‘state of flux’ refers to! Most importantly, I’m the proud owner of a pair of sterling silver earrings made by yours truly.
It’s open to all ages and experience, but as you learn to use blow torches, solder, wire cutters and so on, so this course isn’t suitable for young children, but I do fancy bringing my teenage daughter along next time.
Covid-wise, rules are strictly adhered to and each person has a workbench and a full set of tools so there’s no hanging about whilst you wait for a hammer.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
A fun, educational, entertaining bling-tastic way to spend a morning.
Good for: the class I attended had a mother and daughter, a couple of friends and a number of solo students and every single one is already planning a return session to make something else. High praise indeed.
Not for: if you have a design of your own you’re itching to make you may be happier with a one-to-one class or commissioning a piece.
The damage: The two-and-a-half hour session, including all materials, is £70. And you leave with your piece of sterling silver jewellery in a protective pouch with a polishing cloth. Vouchers are available if you feel like spoiling someone (even if that someone is you).
The Mobile Jewellery School, email@example.com (07920 095 748)/firstname.lastname@example.org (07979 644 658).
Words by Ashley Tremlett.
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