It was a hardy bunch who turned up to last week’s Make a Ring workshop at Kiln in Bristol. With snow forecast to start during the course of the evening, and Bristol being one of the hilliest places I know, this was not a trip out for the faint hearted.
Luckily our venue was cosy and welcoming and with warming tea and biscuits to hand people soon thawed out. If you don’t know Kiln Workshop, it’s a lovely laid back venue which runs pottery painting during the day and a host of classes and workshops at night. The perfect place for an evening of creative fun.
I started the session by talking a bit about the history of the lost wax process. People are often surprised to learn that it’s a technique that has been around for thousands of years! Once we’d looked through some images for inspiration (some people had made their own Pinterest boards which is a great idea), everyone set to work sketching their ideas and transferring them onto the wax ring blanks. Then the fun began!
If you’ve never made a piece of jewellery by wax carving, it can seem a daunting prospect, but my ring making workshops are designed to be fun and informal and no prior experience of jewellery making is needed. One of the things I really love about hosting these sessions is the warm and friendly atmosphere. There’s always plenty of chat and laughter…the perfect antidote to a busy, stressful day.
Everyone took a slightly different approach to the process. Some people chose to go with the flow and just let the material decide where to take them. Others planned out their designs in more detail, thinking about how the ring would look from the top, side and overhead views. There’s something wonderfully meditative about cutting and filing the wax and gradually seeing the shape come to life.
Although the classes are intended for people with little or no experience of making jewellery, I’m continually amazed that the participants always produce such beautiful pieces. Despite the fact that they’re using the same raw materials and the same tools, people come up with such an incredibly varied range of finished rings. This evening was no exception. We had everything from bold, chunky pieces to delicate textured designs, each one truly unique.
After a quick break for some fizz and nibbles, we looked some sample rings so that people could decide which finish they wanted. Once the rings have been cast I clean them up and finish them according to the participants’ specifications. Some people decide to combine finishes and go for a contrast between matte and polished on different areas. What a great idea!
I can't wait to see how these rings turn out and I'll look forward to sharing some images of the finished designs soon. There’s something so rewarding about making jewellery for yourself. You get an enormous sense of achievement as well as a special and unique piece that you can treasure forever.
If you’d like to give it a go, there events happening throughout the year. Check out my workshops page for more information and details on how to book. Alternatively, if you can’t make it to any of dates, how about hosting an event in the comfort of your own home? It’s a great option for a low key, classy hen do or birthday celebration. Get in touch to find out more.
Elin Horgan is a British jewellery designer & maker of beautifully simple handmade pieces crafted from sustainable materials in her Bristol studio. You can read more about her work and the ethos behind her understated jewellery brand HERE. If you’d like to enquire about a specific product or discuss a bespoke commission please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org