Tag Archives: soldering

Introducing our latest silver jewellery classes

As you may have noticed, our tutors have been working on some exciting new additions to the courses we offer at LJS for both beginners and more advanced practitioners and we’d love to invite you to book a place!

Here are our newest silver jewellery classes (click on the links for more detailed information)

One day classes

Silver stacked bangles

Intermediate level – learn how to shape, texture and solder silver wire into stacking bangles. Students usually make 2-3 bangles

silver-stacking-bangles-one-day-class-london-jewellery-school

Make your own silver findings

Advanced level – Learning to craft your own findings such as ear wires, clasps, and brooch pins allows you to customise your designs and add a truly handcrafted and bespoke element to your work. (We recommend that all students complete the soldering masterclass before taking this class or that you are confident working with the torch. As this is an advanced silver class and we recommend that students are familiar with silver jewellery making and are comfortable using hand tools in a workshop environment)

silver-findings-one-day-class-london-jewellery-school

Granulation and fusing

Granulation is the technique of creating numerous tiny spheres of metal with which to decorate your jewellery. They are not soldered into place, but are instead “fused” with the surface and to each other. Learn this technique in our one day class.

granulation-fusing-one-day-silver-jewellery-class-london-jewellery-school

Channel setting in silver

Advanced level – Learn to set stones in a ‘channel setting’ – a setting commonly used to set multiple stones along a strip of material, either across a pendant or around a ring (to do this course you must have completed our two day stone setting course and soldering masterclass or equivalent elsewhere)

channel-setting-one-day-class-london-jewellery-school

Collet setting in silver

Advanced level – Develop your stone setting abilities in this class and learn how to create a collet setting (to do this course you must have completed our two day stone setting course and soldering masterclass or equivalent elsewhere)

collet-setting-silver-one-day-class-london-jewellery-school

Grain setting in silver

Advanced level – Learn to set faceted stones using the ‘Grain’ setting technique. The class will really bring on your stone setting ability and add a new setting technique to your repertoire (to do this course you must have completed our two day stone setting course and soldering masterclass or equivalent elsewhere)

grain-setting-one-day-class-london-jewellery-school

 

Evening and taster classes

For those of you that are working in London during the day, check out our new silver evening and taster classes

Stacked silver rings taster (1 evening)

Learn to make four individual silver rings in just one evening!

silver-stacking-rings-taster-class-london-jewellery-school

Soldering and stone setting in silver (6 weeks)

This 6-week evening class (run once a week) is perfect if you’ve attended beginners silver jewellery and you want to move onto the next step. Learn more advanced soldering alongside stone setting techniques including bezel setting, tube setting and gypsy(flush) setting

soldering-stone-setting-evening-class-london-jewellery-schoolClick on the links to find more and to book a place.

We love ideas for new classes so what would you like to learn? Let us know in the comments below

New ways to try silversmithing for the first time

We know that some of you would like to learn about making silver jewellery but aren’t ready to commit to a full-day workshop. And others of you have asked about soldering in our silver taster classes.

So we have added to our range of silver jewellery tasters to provide more options with the introduction of a session on making stacked soldered silver rings and one on making a pair of silver earrings.

silver jewellery class

In the Stacked Silver Ring Taster students will make a set of five soldered rings using silver wire. This will include making the rings to size and shaping rings. This is a good choice for someone who has taken one of our other silver tasters and who would now like to learn a little about soldering.

In Make a Pair of Silver Earrings students will learn to texture silver and cut the metal to shape using a template to ensure both earring match as well as drilling the holes and using polishing and finishing techniques.

These classes join the Make a Silver Ring (making a textured wrap around ring), Handstamped Silver, Silver Charm and Silver Cufflinks taster classes to give you lots of opportunities to try out silver techniques and make different pieces in short classes. And if you sign up for our taster package, you can take four taster classes for the bargain price of £150 for the lot – for example both rings classes, handstamping and the earring class would teach you a variety of techniques with four finished projects to take home.

Soldering on metal clay in action

Tutor Anna Campbell writes about her experience teaching the new soldering metal clay class.

This week I taught the first of a new class, ‘soldering in metal clay‘. I originally pitched the class idea to Sunita, the manager at London  Jewellery School, because I feel there are a significant number of metal clay jewellery makers that don’t have a traditional silversmithing background or who lack the confidence with soldering. This class helps to fill that gap in their experience.

During this one day class you make silver clay stud earrings, cufflinks and a brooch.

soldering silver metal clay

 

 

You then torch fire the cufflinks and learn how to sweat solder cufflink backs onto them. You will also learn how to sweat solder stud posts onto the back of your silver studs. Finally, you learn how to solder on wire to make a brooch pin. You practice first on copper so you can get a feel for the process before soldering silver wire onto your brooch.

Although you will be provided with clay, cufflink backs etc in this case I would recommend you bring anything you have at home that you would like to solder. I can’t guarantee that you’ll have the time to do everything but the more you have to practice with the better.

 

soldering metal clay

Student comments on the class

‘Fantastic course. One of the best I’ve done in ages. Have learnt a lot. Feel confident about taking my PMC (precious metal clay) creations to the next level. Thank you’

‘great attention and hand-holding!’

‘I came away with a thorough understanding of how to affix findings to metal clay and can’t wait to put into practice what I have learnt’

As the tutor I really enjoyed the class too! The student comments are gratifying, they clearly felt that the day was worthwhile.

If you want to take your silver clay jewellery to another level I would recommend this class. It really does give you the supervised practice you need in a small group environment to get to grips with soldering. The possibilities for your jewellery making will then open up.

If you’ve never learnt to solder before or just don’t feel confident do join me for the day.

The next available class is on Saturday 25th April but check the website for all the scheduled dates for the year.

For more metal clay classes in 2015 check out our website


Anna Campbell is a tutor at the London Jewellery School and runs her own jewellery business Campbell Hall Designs. She sells online from her website and at the Things British shop in Greenwich, London. She has qualified in Art Clay and PMC (Rio Rewards) and holds the Higher Diploma in Metal Clay.

Learn to solder your metal clay creations

Tutor Anna Campbell writes about our new metal clay class – soldering on metal clay.

soldering silver metal clay

Example pieces from the soldering on metal clay class

The silver clay classes are one of my favourite to teach. It’s so exciting when someone torch fires their clay for the first time and it turns into silver.

And silver clay is one of the most popular mediums that we teach at London Jewellery School. We run ten different day long classes (from beginners to advanced), one taster class, one evening class as well as the Art Clay certification. Now we are  adding a new metal clay class to the 2015 class schedule – soldering on metal clay.

One of the things I have noticed while teaching and talking to our students is that many of our metal clayers have no silversmithing experience. It isn’t necessary for making basic metal clay pieces. However, once the metal clay is fired it can be treated in the same way as any silver including hammering, shaping and soldering, so understanding what you can do with the silver can really broaden your horizons.

Soldering is a traditional silversmithing skill that take a bit of practice and know-how but once you’ve got it you can make much more complex pieces.

In this new one day class, you will learn how to:

  • solder earring posts onto stud earrings
  • solder on cufflink backs
  • solder and shape a brooch pin

You will make the studs, cufflinks and brooch out of silver clay and then spend the rest of the class practicing your soldering skills to ensure you have the confidence to do it at home.

You will go home with a new silver brooch, pair of silver cufflinks and pair of silver stud earrings but more importantly you will have the skills to design and make far more complex pieces yourself.

This class is designed for learners with some previous metal clay experience. You should have attended our beginners silver clay class or taster class or have made and fired some silver clay pieces at home already.

We have added some dates for this class on the website and more will be added if the class is popular so please get in touch if you would like to attend but can’t make the dates (email us at info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk).

And also let us know if you have any ideas for classes you would like to take that we don’t currently offer.

 

In the jewellery workshop – making your own pickle

Anna Campbell discovers the contents of her kitchen cupboards can be useful in her workshop too.

Jewellers pickle is an acid used for getting rid of firescale on metal, particularly after soldering. Many people are wary about having it in the home, especially those of us with small children or animals. I made do without having it in my home jewellery studio for quite a while because I work in professional jewellery studios where I could easily just pickle my pieces when I was there for teaching. However, I had an urgent commission recently and found I didn’t have time to get to the studio.

So, what to do? I googled it (of course) and found that there are ways to make pickle from substances that you have in the home. And so I had a go at making it myself and found that it was very effective and had other benefits. So, this is how I went about it.

I found this blog post by jeweller Jo Hollingsworth about using vinegar and salt to make a pickle, so I had a go.

You will need
240ml of white vinegar to 1 tablespoon of salt
Microwaveable bowl
Tweezers
Jam jar

jewellery making silver

If you love fish and chips you may already have pickle ingredients in your kitchen

Making the pickle
Make up a solution of vinegar and salt in the ratio above that will cover the piece/s you want to pickle. The amount you need will obviously depend on the size of the piece or pieces. I didn’t have white vinegar at home so I used malt vinegar (I do love chips) and it worked fine. I put the solution into a microwaveable bowl and stirred the salt in for about a minute until it had mostly dissolved.

Heating the pickle
I put the bowl in the microwave on full power for two minutes. That was how long I found it needed but microwaves vary so I recommend you check your own microwave. Try for 30 seconds to a minute to start with.

Using the pickle
I found that I used it effectively when the solution was steaming. After taking the bowl carefully out of the microwave (you may need to use your oven gloves for this) I dropped the silver pieces (I have only used this with fine and sterling silver so far) into the solution and left them for 20 minutes. Remember to take the pieces out using tweezers, don’t put your hand into the hot solution.
With this method there isn’t constant heat as there is in a pickle pot so it saves on electricity because you are only heating it up while you need it.

Reheating the pickle
If you feel your pieces could do with a little more – if you can still see the firescale – take the silver out of the solution (with tweezers) and do another blast in the microwave. Do remember to take the silver out of the bowl. You can’t put metal in the microwave.

However, I found with the small pieces I have used it for such as stud earrings and cufflinks, I haven’t needed to reheat the pickle.

Finishing
When the pieces are clean of firescale run them under the tap to rinse off the acid. And voila! Done and ready for polishing.

Re-use
I pour my used pickle into a jam jar to keep it for the next time I need it. I haven’t had to dispose of it yet but I plan to dilute it in a large bucket of water before pouring it down the drain.

This is an eco friendly way of making pickle which uses inexpensive items you already have at home. It also saves on electricity compared to using a pickle pot.

Do you have a ‘ home remedy’ you can recommend to other jewellers? Please do add your advice in the comment section below.

To improve your silver jewellery skills click here for a range of courses.