Silver Pebble Workshop Wins Gold

That’s a sweet charm bracelet, Karen. Where did you buy it?

I didn’t. I MADE IT!!!!

Through one of those twists of blogging fate – or more specifically, via our mutual blogging friend Teen Granny – Emma of Silver Pebble and I found each other. The moment I visited her blog, my brain exploded. Such exquisite jewellery and, what was that, workshops? I booked one as soon as I could.

If you want to see classic rural England, go visit Emma’s village, just outside Cambridge. A mere hour out of London by train, and you’ll be passing windmills, crop fields and hedgerows. It’s so pretty it’s ridiculous. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Mole, Ratty and Mr Toad had passed me, idling on the river.

Emma works with silver clay to make jewellery, and holds regular workshops in her home. That would be the home that’s a cottage. With a beach hut shed in the garden. The garden that makes me think of Virginia Woolf or Daphne du Maurier, both of whom I imagine to have been organic, carefree gardeners – just like Emma. I know enough about gardening to understand that no garden is just thrown together, which gives me even more respect for gardeners who make it all look so easy and casual.

When I grow up I would quite like to be Emma, please, if you can just arrange it, thank you very much, I’d be awfully grateful. In the meantime, I settled for spending a morning with her.

So! The workshop. I was studying with three other people only. Julia, Emma, Hannah and I tried hard not to make too much of a fuss of Graham, but I’m not sure we didn’t stupendously fail.

Graham and Julia

Graham paints, and his artistic talents really shone in the clay design. All my fellow students were super-lovely and we just talked and talked. My favourite quote of the day came from Julia: ‘Do you need this knitting needle, Graham?’

As we worked, Emma gave us a run down of silver clay. It’s made from all the scraps of silver that are left over from the modern world ie computer circuit boards. They’re recycled into a clay, mixed with a binder such as paper pulp. It dries out fairly quickly, so you can’t mess about – get creative, and get stuck in!

The work space was so inspiring. I could have sat at this little table all day, gazing out over the village green.

But I couldn’t hang about, there was crafting to be done! Sadly, I’m not the most artistic person in the world and it quickly showed…

Toddler art? No, Karen art.

I kept going, though. I didn’t actually feel too worried about my ineptitude. The atmosphere was so relaxed; I knew no one was there to judge me. Soon, I had five charms to be baked in the oven and then fired on the hob.

After this stage, the pieces were cooled in water and then the really exciting part began. I took a wire brush to my charms and slowly, slowly, magic happened…

The final charms are made of 99% silver, which is a more pure content than sterling silver. This makes the objects slightly softer – sterling silver will have some tin content to harden them up – but I love the tactile feel of these charms. I could have polished them to a higher sheen, but I like the brushed effect.

One of my favourite charms is one that I made by imprinting with a sewing thimble that I took along. I wanted this bracelet to remind me of my sewing.

Special mention must go to Emma’s dog, who kept us fine company during the day. I was particularly impressed by how she handled herself as we ate cake. Too sophisticated for obvious begging, she just turned her face to us. How could you resist slipping me a morsel  when I’m this beautiful?

I can’t recommend a workshop with Emma enough. She’s clearly a real people-person, unbelievably talented and generous with her time and skills. She made us all feel as though we’d really achieved something, as evidenced by Julia’s squeals of delight! Now, I own a bracelet imbued with memories of windmills, dogs, cake, thimbles, tea, cake and smiles. You can’t put a price on that.

Thank you, Emma!

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14 Responses to Silver Pebble Workshop Wins Gold

  1. Roobeedoo says:

    Oh how lovely! She made Attic 24’s recent necklace didn’t she? I love her stuff and a had no idea she ran workshops. I would love to make some jewellery. :)

  2. MrsC says:

    Serious English Countryside envy going on here… :)

    • with you there, MrsC. I happen to love with the countryside I grew up in (when Dr B and I lived interstate we frequently described ourselves as incurable South Aussies) , but, yeah, there’s something about those soft, soft colours and the long twilight evenings that are a fair exchange now and then. And serious workshop envy, too!

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post, great description of what sounds like a fab day – I like the cut of Graham’s jib! The picture of your toddler art made me absolutely guffaw, but my favourite was definitely the rolled thimble charm. Beautiful. x

  4. sew2pro says:

    What a fascinating day out that must have been! I’ve not heard of silver clay and it’s nice to know that all those silvery bits of near waste get resurrected into something as pretty as your bracelet.

    And hasn’t that hound got some serious dignity!? Casting agents apply now.

  5. gingermakes says:

    How beautiful! I’ve never heard of silver clay, but it really looks lovely!

  6. linda says:

    ooh I want to do this, now if I just need to work out the cost of the flight from australia!!!
    linda x

  7. Helen Made says:

    Lovely bracelet! I’ve been reading Emma’s blog for a while and I keep meaning to take myself down to Cambridgeshire to do a course! I think you’ve just inspired me to kick myself in to gear!

  8. Emma says:

    Saturday’s workshop was an absolute joy. The hugest thanks for coming along and making it so wonderful Karen. My favourite aspect of my workshop sessions is that five like-minded people are suddenly in a room together. There is serious fun to be had.

    Oh though, I’ll tell you a small secret. That hound, who looks as though butter wouldn’t melt, stole the entire lemon cake whilst I was taking you back to the station. As I said, she is in denial about her twelve dog years and is up to puppy mischief.

  9. LinB says:

    Oooooh, pretty. Shiny.

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