Handle with care – combining metal and wood with Grant McCaig


Ref: S3D12038

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About this course

This course is aimed at those with some experience of small-working or silversmithing. An introduction to the fabrication technique of seaming. You will also learn cold connections for attaching handles.

Course Description

This course will allow you to make a functional metal vessel incorporating your own handle. Handles can be made of driftwood, old paintbrushes, even pebbles. You will learn how to consider and connect your own found objects to a metal vessel.

The vessel you will work with will be created using the silversmithing technique of seaming. Seaming is taking a flat sheet and quickly forming up into a cylinder, which we then solder. It is a fundamental process that provides a great many outcomes and possibilities for future projects. From this simple cylindrical form, you will be shown a range of ways to develop the shape to your own design; these can be as complex as time allows or as simple as you like. The handles will be cold connected to the vessel using a bezel and rivets (and maybe a little glue).


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply most of the materials: a range of silver solders 15cm each and 400 x 300mm 0.9 copper or gilding metal square.

What students need to bring

  • Suitable materials for a possible handle – driftwood, found wood, pebble, old paintbrush, etc.
  • Sketchbook
  • Apron
  • Rag or old towel for drying

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Silver can be purchased from the College Shop which stocks a range of sheet, wire, rod, tube and findings. These will be available in set sizes and lengths suitable for a wide range of projects.
The course fee includes the cost of providing the copper/gilding metal required for the specific project set by the tutor. Please note that if there is a dramatic change in the price of metal, there may be an extra charge (or refund if the price goes down!). Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Grant McCaig

Subject Leader

Grant McCaig is an internationally recognised Silversmith and educator. His work is in several major collections including National Museums of Scotland, the Goldsmiths' Company, Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery and Aberdeen Art Gallery. He has taught in Japan and Colombia, is a selector for Cockpit Arts and mentor for the Crafts Council.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Interested in a career in metalwork?

Our Foundation Degree in Metalwork will enhance your employment prospects, give you the skills to set up as a self-employed craftsperson or allow you to continue to higher education. Encompassing both silversmithing and blacksmithing, you will learn practical skills, material properties, placing your work in a broader context and historic metalworking techniques. Find out more

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