The week... we attended the 'Scotland's Early Silver' opening

Welcome back everyone! This week, we spent a little bit of time away from The Smiddy, from attending a meeting discussing our involvement in the Meet Your Maker programme, to visiting a silversmiths workshop in the Borders to gain some valuable insight into a workshop set up.

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On Thursday our silversmith Megan met with the Historic Environment Scotland team, who, along with Craft Scotland, selected us for their new project which will see young people from Banff Academy learn new skills. As part of the project, the students will make work inspired by Duff House and the current ‘Scotland’s Early Silver’ exhibition, using The Smiddy as a space to develop and create their designs. This project is a collaboration which will allow Art & Design students to learn a variety of new skills and be imersed in new processes by three professional makers - Megan Falconer, Naomi McIntosh and David Powell. As part of this project, our silversmith Megan has also been commissioned to create her own piece of work inspired by Duff House and the silver exhibition. We can’t wait to welcome the students to The Smiddy and share how they get on learning a range of traditional and contemporary jewellery and silversmtihing skills. Alison and myself also had the opportunity to attend then opening evening of ‘Scotland’s Early Silver’ exhibtion at Duff House which was the final destination for this show, and what a stunning display of silver it was.

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On Friday this week, Megan and the Founding Director of Vanilla Ink Studios - Kate Pickering, visited Adrian Hope, a silversmith based in the Scottish Borders. Thanks to Adrian’s knowledge about the industry and profession, he very generously shared with us some great helpful information and tips to set up our workshop, tool making and much more. We spent most of the time in awe of his range of silversmithing tools and talent for making beutiful pieces of silverware.

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A quiet week on the classes front, as we prepared our course schedule up until Christmas, which are all now available to book in the classes section of our website. We are also almost fully booked in both of our jewellery 8 week blocks with only one spot left in each, so if you have are interested in learning a range of new skills for a 3 hour session every week for eight weeks then don’t forget to book now to avoid dissapointment.

See you next week!

The Smiddy Silversmith

The week... we made our first Banff spoons

Hello everyone and welcome to The Smiddy’s shiny new blog! We hope to share the happenings in our workshop of the week each Sunday to keep you in the loop and share some behind the scenes from The Smiddy, Banff. So here we go…

What a great second week we have had, from starting off the weeks workshops with casting silver into a pasta to finishing off the week by teaching our first ‘Make a Silver Spoon’ class, which saw the first set of silver spoons made in over 200 years in Banff. I know, you are probably thinking – how on earth do you cast silver with pasta (see image below)

Ready to pour!

Ready to pour!

Our first class for the week, water casting, on Tuesday allowed our students to melt silver in a crucible and simply – pour the molten metal into a bucket of cold water. This technique actually creates the most lovely unexpected creations, which are all completely unique. Once cast, our participants combined pieces they had cast in order to create a pendant, which involved learning some basic soldering techniques to attach pieces together and add a jump ring. This turned into an experiment where we ended up pouring the molten silver into a bundle of dried spaghetti (inside a cup of water).

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Next up, on Thursday we hosted our first Scrap – Recycle – Reuse class, which showed students how to bring in their old scrap back to life by creating something beautiful from old offcuts and silver filings. This included learning how to open cast on a charcoal block and creating your own sheet, to using delft clay to make a new creation with their scrap silver, learning wax carving in the process to form a design to be cast. We loved seeing how our students used their new casting skills to come up with a range of samples and finished pieces from unused scrap.

Examples of sand casting, water casting and pasta casting.

Examples of sand casting, water casting and pasta casting.

 Up last for the week, this Saturday, The Smiddy ran its first ‘Make a Silver Spoon’ class where five students learned how to create their own designed silver spoon from scratch starting off with a piece of sheet silver and a square wire. I think it was safe to say everyone had a fantastic day learning some traditional and contemporary spoon making techniques that were used to construct 5 stunning new pieces of Banff silver.

One of our participants said “It does not matter if you are a complete beginner, you will soon get stuck in. I could tell that everyone in my class had a great day out”.

Our first Banff spoons made at The Smiddy

Our first Banff spoons made at The Smiddy

Thank you to everyone who has come along to our workshops so far, showed their support and welcomed us into the community!

See you next week!

The Smiddy Silversmith :)