I recently made my way up to Dublin’s North Circular Road on a very foggy, late November Saturday morning eagerly looking forward to spending the day in the School of jewellery. Expertly mentored by Deirdre O’Donnell I was welcomed into a cocoon of warmth and hospitality.
I admit I was a little nervous as I have (had) absolutely no experience in this art and wasn’t sure of what I would be able to accomplish in one day.
The first thing I learnt was that Goldsmiths work with all metals in designing and producing pieces and Silversmiths make silver vessels!!! New information.
There are a selection of styles and metals you pre choose from depending on what type of ring you want to produce.
There was one girl making her own wedding ring and I heard a really lovely story of how one mother had made her sons wedding ring for him, what a beautiful idea and how really really lovely. I’m sure it’s something he will treasure forever and will be preciously kept in the family, what a special family heirloom.
The studio is warm and welcoming and everyone has their own work station. There was lots of activity with those making final preparations for the Dublin Craft Fair to be held the next week in the RDS. The standard of what I was seeing being produced was amazing and there was a lovely atmosphere of comradery.
I started off by being introduced to some brass plate which I had to cut through with a little saw. There were five lines to cut through, this is to get you into practice with the equipment and gain confidence in cutting through metal.
Then it was on to the sterling silver plate. It is marked out for you and what I had learnt with the previous practice metal was how to use the tools properly and with the right degree of strength and technique. Deirdre constantly kept an eye on everyone expertly tutoring while ensuring that you are actually making your own piece.
It is an amazing experience watching your own creation coming together and one of the most enjoyable days I have had the pleasure of participating in, in a long time.
This is not an instantly easy task but one with which you do just embrace yourself into. It’s hard to explain fully the entire processes but they are all really enjoyable.
There are various different stages involved in creating your own piece including the soldering and the filing processes which I loved.. The process by where the flat silver band is softened and shaped into a ring shape and then soldered so eventually the join disappears is fascinating.
By the time lunch time arrived my piece was really coming together, I had a ring shape in beautiful silver.
Now I have to mention the lunch; (included in your package) we all sat around a long table in a terrace room and ate beautiful caprese salads, smoked salmon, hummus, and guacamole with wonderful artisan breads, cheese and crackers. It was convivial and the talk came around to weddings, venues new and old and many stories with a great bunch of really talented and interesting people.
Lunch finished and I was really keen to get back to my work station, entering the room it put me in mind of a scene from a Christmas movie with all the workers bent over their tables thoroughly engaged in what they were working on.
This time was spent hammering and paring down into shape, measuring and filing, I found it thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying.
The last stages were polishing and buffing, then it is immersed in a compound to take away any impurities left over. I was very excited and eventually I had my glistening silver sterling ring presented in a beautiful box as if I had actually just picked it up from a jewellers; if I do say so myself…
I honestly can’t think of anything more beautifully bonding and special for a couple to do as to fashion and craft their own wedding rings together and come out with a finished product of incredible quality and value in so many ways.
Some people choose to engrave their rings on the inside or outside and there’s are many styles and finishes you can opt to choose from.
I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Contact Deirdre for more information
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