New Horizons in the Light of the Lockdown

So, for the last few years, I’ve found it very hard to produce any of my own work. This has not been for lack of ideas or inspiration – it’s been because I’ve been flat out doing commercial work for companies such as Angels Share Glass. This is certainly nothing to complain about – that work has kept a good income coming in, and I appreciate it greatly. However, due to the current unpleasantness, the work has all but dried up for the time being, and I find myself with a little more studio time than I usually have(!). My last glass order left the studio on Friday, collected by our lovely and suitably social-distanced courier. While unwelcome, this hiatus did not come as a complete surprise, and I was expecting it – so I’ve arranged a few things to be getting on with!
Firstly, since I’ve long had an interest in silversmithing, I’ve signed up for an online apprenticeship with Jewellery Training Solutions. I chose it because it seems pretty rigorous, and starts from scratch, which I thought a good idea, even though I’ve done a wee bit before. The apprentice training program consists of a series of projects with video demonstrations and accompanying pdf documents with instructions, tips and patterns – all organised into a sequence of 10 levels to work through. There is a large proportion of self-assessment involved, but I’ll have to submit images of each project undertaken for final assessment before progressing to the next level. Peter Keep, the owner of JTS and a very experienced fabricator and educator, assesses the work in person, and awards a nice certificate of completion for each level! The image at the top of the page shows my level 1 pieces, which are all about measuring, marking out, accuracy, and the willingness to be persist until the job is good.

Training Certificate

So that’s the first thing. Now – since I finished my OU degree a couple of years ago, I’ve been craving some more sciency-learning. And, since I’m doing the silversmithing, for which I will at some point need some gemstones, about which I know nothing, I though I better learn at least a little bit about them. These two problems would be nicely solved, I would think, with a wee course in gemmology!

TBH, this is something I’ve had my eye on for quite a few years, but never really had a good excuse or the right motivation to go for it. The course is pretty much the only one of its kind in the UK, I think – it’s administered by The Gemmological Association of Great Britain, but I’ve opted to study it with the tuition and help of Kerry Gregory who runs Gemmology Rocks Ltd., since the package comes with a whole bunch of extra face-to-face tutorials, and I can do the physical laboratory elements locally rather than travelling to London. Although how we’re going to manage that while in lockdown, I don’t quite know. I have a kind of introductory week this coming week, and the course material starts proper on 6 April, so I don’t have much to tell you just now, but I think that’ll probably change…

So apart from the silversmithing and the gemmology, I have a couple of other things in mind, and I’ll still be doing some glasswork…
And I started a new blog. Or rather, restarted an old one. Posts will likely be sporadic, but you’re welcome to pop in – and let me know what you think!

2 Replies to “New Horizons in the Light of the Lockdown”

  1. Not one to rest on your laurels are you? I can’t wait to see what you come up with! 🧐

    1. Lol, me neither!

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