Student blog

Summer time

Throughout the last few months of the degree the thought of finally being able to rest and relax once New Designers was out of the way kept me going. But it hasn’t quite worked out that way. I had always planned to work one day a week for a silversmith in Suffolk, Miriam Hanid, so I knew my Mondays would be taken but I thought I would then have a few weeks to doss about and catch up with my friends, and generally make the most of the last few weeks of being a student while I was looking for a summer job.

However, I’ve worked at the University of East Anglia in the past, so every summer since starting the degree I have been lucky enough to get a temp position there, so that is what I am doing again this summer (just a lot sooner than anticipated). I am working in the Marketing department and the job is interesting and the people are lovely, but I find it difficult during the day not to let my mind wander to ideas for new designs and I’m itching to get back to full time making. Until I save a bit more money to pay for the last few pieces of equipment I need, my days are spent working for other people.

Summer time abroad

A peak at the start of the designing process for my latest commission – based on the Havana Cathedral

I’m trying hard to give this period of ‘enforced making limbo’ a positive spin - I’m focussing purely on sketchbook work and design development so in a way it’s good that I don’t currently have larger making facilities to hand, it has reinforced something I already knew – I need to stop rushing the design part of the process. The better the design, the better the making, the better the final piece.

At the moment I seem to be working too much to have enough time to dedicate to creating new designs, but it will all be worth it in the end. Although I have managed to find time to make an exciting ring commission, which I’ve almost finished and to be honest I really like it and wish I could keep it. The client has already said he doesn’t mind if I would like to make myself a version, one of the perks of being a silversmith.

Desk in garage

My current set up, in my parents’ garage.

Silversmithing is an experience career choice. I have enough equipment to make jewellery, which is fine, but I need a few larger (expensive) items to fully set up my studio in order to be able to make new larger silversmithing designs. Working full time is allowing me to purchase bits of equipment as and when I can. I’m very lucky to have a part time job with a silversmith so I don’t have to go completely cold turkey on making the larger items, and my workshop is slowly taking place so it won’t be long before I’m able to get back to it properly.

Technical equipment

I finally managed to find a brazing hearth to buy, the most important piece of equipment for making larger items, as it has torches powerful enough to cope with the prolonged periods of heating needed for bigger bits of metal.

For now I just need to find somewhere to put it, which is why I plan to buy a shed so I can have my own studio to put everything in, and let my parents have their garage back. I will have saved enough by November to buy a big shed to put everything in, so until then the hearth remains unused in the garden – but at least the end is in sight now.