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!