REVIEW: Jewellery Moves Ring Workshop
Shiny shiny! We crafted and created some beautiful silver rings under the expert guidance of Fiona Dowling from Jewellery Moves.
Following a prestigious career that includes a BA from the Edinburgh College of Art and an MA from the Royal College of Art, Fiona Dowling started teaching other people how to make jewellery on a beach in Cyprus. It was from here that Jewellery Moves was born.
A quick hop, skip and jump into a new home in Hampshire, Fiona now runs a huge range of jewellery workshops – both as pop-ups and in people’s home – allowing budding crafters the chance to create something totally unique and one of a kind.
I headed along to one of her workshops, held at Loam Studios in Petersfield, to create my very own pieces of Muddy Stilettos bling.
As I stepped into the studio Fiona was setting up the workspace, ready for some creating. There were lots of pliers and hammers, plus a couple of kitchen blowtorches ready for some soldering. On first glance, it was a little bit intimidating but Fiona assured me it was all quite straightforward and we would be walked through every step.
I was joined by five other women and there was a lovely buzzy vibe in the studio. We tucked into some chocolate croissants (very important for the creative process) before we donned our (rather fabulous) pink Jewellery Moves aprons to get started.
We were making two different rings. One was a thicker silver band which we could add personalisation to and a smaller wire-style ring perfect for stacking. Using ring sizers and bits of wire, we were shown how to measure our fingers and then use the wire to create a perfectly sized template.
Then out came the saws and the rather chic safety goggles. It was a tricky state of affairs cutting through the silver but as a group, we all managed it and without snapping a single saw blade. Woohoo!
It was then time for personalisation. There were lots of stamps to choose from – letters, numbers, paw prints and more. I opted for a spot of branding and tapped Muddy Stilettos into mine.
We then bent our silver into a ring shape, ready to take on the challenge of soldering.
Fiona walked us through how to do it and it really was quite easy. Voilà! I had created something that actually resembled a real-life piece of jewellery. In it went to the rather amusingly named ‘jewellery pickle’ for a soak, while we cracked onto the second project.
After the rings had finished their soak, we scrubbed them up and used emery paper to buff them up. Then we tapped them into shape and gave them a dimpled finish using a hammer. Have to say it was EXTREMELY therapeutic to bash things with a hammer, all the while creating something beautiful.
Following a couple of hours effort and some excellent guidance from Fiona, I was the proud owner of two very cool looking silver rings. The sense of pride of having created them was immense and the whole experience from start to finish was brilliant – something I will definitely be doing again.
One thing that I thought was particularly lovely was that Fiona then gave us all a small bag to store the rings in which also contained a card. This card allows you to write when it was made and who by plus the meaning behind the engraving. Jewellery gets passed down through the ages and the stories often get lost, this is a chance for your future generations to know exactly how it came to be. A really lovely and thoughtful reminder of the power of jewellery.
GOOD FOR: A bit of ‘me’ time or with some of your friends or family. This social setting is excellent for blocking out the outside world and just being in the moment for a bit. If you don’t feel like a particularly creative person these workshops will put an end to that. I would definitely suggest this as an alternative idea for a birthday or hen-party.
NOT FOR: Personally, I think everybody would enjoy and benefit from this. I guess if you’re not the type of person to wear jewellery it may seem a bit redundant but you could still create something beautifully personal for a loved one instead of yourself.
THE DAMAGE: £ – With a three-hour workshop ranging from £55 – £70 you would be hard pressed to get a similar quality of item for that price. That and the fact it’s completely to your own specifications makes these workshops absolute bargain and a fantastic way to spend a few hours.
Check out the Jewellery Moves website to see current classes in Wickham, Winchester, Andover and more.