Silversmithing – create vessels and sculptural jewellery with Abigail Brown


Ref: SSS10558

Suitable for all

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About this course

Suitable for jewellers and silversmiths, learn methods for creating three dimensional forms from sheets of metal using the exciting techniques of fold forming, raising, planishing and soldering.

Course Description

On this exciting, ideas-led course, express your creativity working on individual projects ranging from a small bowl or vase to large, experimental jewellery. If you are a beginner, learn basic techniques. For the more experienced, develop your skills creating and finishing forms in sheet metal using techniques such as raising, planishing, soldering and press forming.

Learn methods for creating three-dimensional forms from sheets of metal using the exciting techniques of fold forming, raising, planishing, soldering and press forming. Beginners will be introduced to basic techniques including forming, soldering, annealing and texturing and more complex techniques such as raising. The more experienced can continue to develop their skills according to their needs.

Your design ideas are discussed on a one-to-one basis and demonstrations and individual practical assistance enable the individual projects to progress successfully. The level of experience and complexity of ideas affects what you can achieve in the time but you can make a small bowl or vase, a simple box, or you can experiment with the techniques to create large jewellery items, depending on the individual’s requirements. The course approach is strongly ideas led and you are encouraged to make simple drawings or paper models of your ideas to communicate what you wish to make.

You can explore your ideas and a range of silversmithing techniques on this course and will receive instruction and support in a friendly and creative atmosphere. The techniques are taught through practical demonstrations with the emphasis on encouraging you to have a go and to develop your own ideas.

A feature of the Summer School is an immersive learning experience with more time to develop your creativity and embrace further opportunities for creative development beyond your chosen course.

Several early evening creative sessions (5.10pm - 7pm) are planned throughout the week. Extra activities will differ this year in response to social distancing. A detailed timetable for your Summer School week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• Sign up early evening tutor-led drawing sessions in the garden

• Time to relax or explore in the tranquil West Dean Gardens

• Take a break from your course with some free time on Tuesday afternoon, from 3.30-5pm

• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios


Timetable for Summer Schools

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival Day

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).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, 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 should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • You will need to purchase silver or copper to complete your project, this can be purchased from the College Shop or in advance from a supplier.
  • Sketchbook and/or technical notebook
  • A digital camera (if you have one)
  • Inspirational books, images and source materials, for your design ideas
  • Texturing materials for roll printing (lace, feathers, dry leaves, fabric)
  • Practical clothing/apron/footwear for use in the workshop at all times. For example: no long loose sleeves or dangly jewellery and long hair must be tied back; sensible footwear (leather and covering the full foot, shoes should not have high heels or open toes.)
  • You may wish to bring 1mm sheet silver depending on your design idea
  • Suggested sizes are:
  • Napkin ring – 40 x 150 x 1mm sterling silver
  • Bangle – 40 x 240 x 1mm sterling silver
  • Bowl - 150mm diameter circle x1.0mm Britannia silver
  • Bowl – 130mm diameter circle x 1.0mm Britannia silver
  • Small bowl – 100mm diameter circle x 0.9mm Britannia silver
  • Please contact the tutor care of the prior to the start of the course to discuss the ideas you have for a project and advice about materials.
  • Please note: If you wish to purchase silver before the course, these suppliers are recommended:
  • Argex Precious Metals, Birmingham
  • Cookson Precious Metals, London

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Silver in a variety of forms, sheet, wire and tubing. Please contact the shop in advance for current costs and availabilty.
  • Pens, pencils and drawing materials
  • There are basic tool kits for hire from the College Shop, who also stock a range of tools and consumables such as saw blades, drills and abrasive materials. If you have any tools of your own, please bring them with you (and ensure they are marked with your name).
You make like to read some of these texts suggested by the tutor: Technical: ‘The Complete Metalsmith: Illustrated Handbook’ Tim McCreight ‘The Jeweller's Directory of Decorative Finishes’ Jinks McGrath ‘Silversmithing’ Rupert Finegold & William Seitz ‘The Workbench Guide to Jewelry Techniques’ Anastasia Young ‘Silversmithing’ Rupert Finegold & William Seitz ‘The Thames & Hudson Manual of Silversmithing’ Frances Loyen ‘Form Emphasis for Metalsmiths’ Heikki Seppa ‘Metalsmithing for the Artist Craftsman’ Richard Thomas ‘Boxes & Lockets: Metalsmithing Techniques’ Tim McCreight Design ideas: ‘Unclasped: Contemporary British Jewellery’ Derren Gilhooley & Simon Costin ‘The Art of Jewellery Design: From Idea to Reality’ Elizabeth Olver ‘New Directions in Jewellery’ Jivan Astfalck ‘1000 Rings: Inspiring Adornments for the Hand’ Marthe le Van ‘500 Brooches: Inspiring Adornments for the Body’ Marthe le Van Silver supplier: Argex Limited Birmingham Tools, Precious Metal: Cookson Precious Metals London


Abigail Brown

Abigail Brown has been producing contemporary designs in silverware since graduating from Loughborough University School of Art & Design in 2001. Her work has been exhibited internationally and is widely collected.


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

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