On Saturday, I took myself off to Nottingham for the Three Rings in a Day Workshop run by Alys Power at the Focus Art Gallery in Nottingham.
After an early start to get the bus into Nottingham, and a little bit of retail therapy first, I made my way up to the gallery. As you approach, the window display catches your eye with the beautiful creations they have on offer to tempt you with! As you enter, the delights continue, with many different styles of jewellery, homeware, art, glassware, and ceramics. There really is something for everyone, and I imagine it to be the absolute perfect place to find a special gift.
The workshop is actually held at the Nottingham Jewellery School, which resides underneath the main gallery. As you make you way down the stairs, there are more displays of artworks, and the first section you enter is where refreshments are laid out. Teas in every flavour, coffees, and the most delicious of cakes are plentiful, and are fully available throughout the day.
While we were enjoying a very welcome cuppa (and maybe a sneaky little bit of cake), our tutor, the lovely Alys of Alys Power Jewellery joined us, and started things off with a welcome, brief introduction, the obligatory safety information, and an overview of the day, then off we went into the workshop to get started!
The focus of the mornings session was to have a look at designs, talk about possibilities, and to get started on making our first ring. Alys gave a very clear, and easy to understand explanation of how to size a ring, and the types of silver we would be using. After we all worked out what size we needed, and decided which silver wire we would be using (which felt like the most important decision ever to be made) we got started. I’m not going to go into every detail of how to make a ring (get yourself booked onto one of Alys’s courses!) but needless to say we cut, and we shaped using professional jewellers tools, and then the scary fun bit – we soldered!
After a short break for lunch, it was back into it, and Alys explained the tools and methods to shape, texture, finish and polish our rings. At the end of which we had our first ring! The sense of achievement cannot be put into words! We had made our very own, completely individual and unique, sterling silver ring! After basking in our achievement, it was off to start our second and third!
I choe to make a set of rings with a hammered texture, that I could wear all together, and chose three different depths and styles of silver to work with. Following the procedures Alys had taught, I cut and shaped the rings, soldered again, the beat them into shape and size with a hammer (very therapeutic!) and then used a ball peen hammer to add the texture. A bit of filing, and polishing to finish, and the results were a set of three rings that I was incredibly proud of!
I had a little time left before the end of the class, so I actually set to, and made a fourth ring! Using the same methods, but using a different shaped silver wire, I ended up with a complete set of four rings, that can be worn together, individually, or in any combination!
After spending a little time admiring each others achievements, it was sadly time to go home. I cannot remember a day going by so quickly before! But what we achieved with Alys’s tuition and guidance was incredible. If you ever find yourself in the Nottingham area, I would highly recommend booking yourself on one of Alys’s courses, and make sure you have a good tour of the Gallery too – I can guarantee you will find something to tempt yourself with!
Both the Gallery, and Alys Power Jewellery do mail order! You can find them here;-