Silver Designed Personally
Nestled in the heart of Kent countryside is a garden based studio owned by Sara. With a flair for design at the age of 55 Sara has just embarked on a new journey into running her own business.
Sara is a silversmith who hand crafts silverware and Jewellery items to order. Based in Hadlow, Kent Sara’s workshop is in a lovely countryside setting “an amazing place to call my new office”
How does crafting Silverware work? To make a piece I saw specific shapes from silver, gold, copper or brass sheet metal and then if raising an item, use hammers to form the metal over anvils and stakes. As the metal is hammered, bent, and worked, it hardens and a technique called annealing (heating up the metal) is used to make the metal soft again and this is repeated until the desired shape has been achieved. After raising or forming, the pieces are joined by soldering or sometimes riveting. Other items that don’t require raising will be cut from silver, gold, copper or brass sheet metal, soldered and created.
So is all your work made to order? My work is mostly hand crafted to order and I will work with each customer to create their idea. My speciality for commissions are small hinged boxes. Depending on the complexity, these can take weeks to make as every single part is hand made, right down to every hinge knuckle. You can see the journey of my current silver hexagon box with hinged triangle lid sections on the blog on my website. I also make, bowls, cups, jewellery, and most other items to commission. The most unique item that I make to order is the Silver Mortarboard Graduation Cap.
Do you offer workshops? Yes, so many people ask me how I make items and the process, that I decided to create private workshop experiences so customers can come along and learn some basic techniques, with the aim that at the end of the day or half day they come away with a piece of jewellery made entirely by them. My workshop days or half-day experiences are 1:1 so customers have my undivided attention.
Whilst I am more than happy to run a bespoke workshop day for a customer to make any item that is achievable by a beginner, I run 2 main workshops regularly at the moment: A one day make your own silver leaf pendant or earrings and half day make your own silver cuff bracelet’
All the workshop days make an ideal birthday, anniversary, Mothers Day, Fathers Day or Christmas gift, so why not treat someone special with a gift voucher? They’ll get a wonderful opportunity to learn a new skill while making a personally designed and handmade item of jewellery.
Make your own wedding ring workshops for couples are to be added later this year.
Can you tell us about the graduation caps photographed to the right? I came up with the idea with my brothers as they were searching for a unique graduation gift for my nieces and nephews. The Silver Mortarboard Graduation Cap, is hand crafted to order and presented with a silk tassel to match the university or college colour. There is the option to laser engrave with your loved one’s name, university, degree and date of graduation. I also make them for universities or colleges looking for a unique prize or award for students. I am currently working on making different size versions and also in copper and brass.
How long have you been doing this and what made you want to start? My father, who was an engineer took up silversmithing over 30 years ago when he retired and that’s when I started to get interested and over time took it up as a hobby and went to study on courses. When he was no longer able to silversmith, he gave me his tools.
Then an opportunity presented itself to me that I could not resists – I was made redundant from a career in financial services that I had followed for 30 years and decided to follow my dreams and make my passion for silversmithing my business.
So here I am at 55 setting off on my new life venture! I have had a wide variety of adventures in my career life having also served in the armed forces as a reserve for 10 years and in the police as a special police constable for 5 years …. Now once again onto pastures new!
www.silverdesignedpersonally.com | 07185 773483