How Creativity Can Improve Your Health

How Creativity Can Improve Your Health

Did you know that engaging in creative activities, even just colouring in, improves brain function, mental health and your physical health? At this time of year, many of us are ready to hunker down and hibernate with the dark nights and cold temperatures calling us to cosy up and embrace the creative, wholesome afternoons spent indoors. 

Well actually, we improvised on the latter part but we’re firm believers in there being no time like the present to embrace creativity. And now there are studies to back us up. The theory of cognition tells us about the principle of being creative as a basis of human life.  So how does doodling or learning new creative skills like jewellery making, make you healthy? Let’s break it down…

Boosts your immune system

Time to work on your penmanship and whip out that journal. Although experts aren’t totally clear on how, writing increases your CD4+ lymphocyte count, the key to your immune system. Sceptical? It sounds a bit mad but the studies are there to back it up. The studies show that people who write about their experiences daily, actually have stronger immune systems.

Improves mental health

Perhaps the most relatable health benefit of creativity is its ability to calm our minds. The average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Taking time to do something creative like knitting, sewing, making jewellery helps to focus the mind with its calming effects even  being compared to meditation when doing activities like those, we experience a release of dopamine, a natural antidepressant. 

To take the mental health benefits  step further, creativity has also been shown to help process trauma. While writing can be used to manage negative emotions, painting and drawing can help people to process experiences or trauma that they struggle to articulate with words. 

Reduces dementia

The results of the theory of cognition study, specifically explores how creativity and art stimulates dementia patients. The study shows that

“creative activity can reduce depression and isolation, offering the power of choice and decisions. Towards the end of life, art and creativity offer a path of opening up the windows to people’s emotional interiors.”

It’s amazing that getting into the creative flow is actually proven to be good for us in more ways than providing entertainment for an afternoon. 

If you’re feeling inspired to start getting more creative, grab a pal or plan a solo date for yourself at one of our jewellery making classes or courses. Find out more about available classes here.

What is a Metal Clay Charm Class

What is a Metal Clay Charm Class

On Saturday 22nd October, back by popular demand, we’re kicking off round two of our newest workshop at Silver Works Dublin, the Metal Clay Charm Class. We spoke to our resident Metal Clay expert, Jane to fill you in on everything you need to know about the Metal Charm Class. 

Get ready to have some fun and let your playful side shine in this workshop. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Saturday 22nd October. We guarantee you won’t want to miss this and we know how many of you had FOMO last time.

 

First up, what is metal clay?

  • Metal clay is a really magical medium to work with. Through heat, it turns from clay that can be shaped and stamped into solid silver.
  • You will start the class playing with a practice clay so you’ll have plenty of time to play and practice for your final design.
  • Then we move on to the metal clay itself and you will begin working on your two charms. 
  • At each step along the way, we will explain the process of turning your design into a final product you get to take home with you.
  • You get to pick what textures and stamps to add to your charms. Then, when the clay is dry, you will sand the pieces ready for the teacher to fire. You can watch the firing process and learn how to do this crucial part of the process. Once the piece has cooled down you will be handed back your final design that has now transformed into metal.
  • After that, we work on filing and polishing your charms, so they are ready to wear.

 

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What do you love most about working with metal clay? 

Metal clay is truly magical. It starts life as a soft clay and then you can turn it into fine silver metal before your very eyes. I never get tired of that process. The possibilities of working with metal clay are endless – you can shape by hand, cut out shapes using templates and cutters, add textures from so many things including natural things such as leaves, you can set stones directly in the clay, you can carve out a design in the dried clay – honestly, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There is always something new to learn.

I love the fact that there is no waste and every piece of dry clay even the clay dust can be recycled and made into fresh clay. It is relatively easy to do at home too and doesn’t require any large expensive equipment.

Even though the medium is playful and exciting the final product is a fine silver (999) piece that is hallmark quality.

 

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Who is the class best suited to?

The class is suitable for beginners who have an interest in learning the basic steps of working with metal clay. It just takes an open mind to be playful and a bit of patience to finesse your piece. It’s a great class to do with friends too or as a group as you can personalise your piece and it is something you will all remember doing together.

 

What are you most excited about teaching the class? 

I am most excited about spreading the word for metal clay and introducing new people to this craft. Whether you are a complete beginner who wants to make the charms for yourself or are already a jeweller who is intrigued to learn a new skill I can’t wait to meet everyone.

There aren’t many places in Ireland that teach metal clay so it’s exciting to add this class to Silverworks already packed programme of classes.

 

What advice would you give to someone on the fence about booking a class?

Give it a go you won’t be disappointed. The class is a 3-hour experience so not a massive investment time wise or financial. 

Plus, at the end of the class, you will have two charms that will be ready to wear that you make yourself from scratch and who wouldn’t want that?

If you’d like to find out more or secure your place at the Metal Clay Workshop (happening Saturday 22nd October), you can find out more here.

 

Gemstone Setting: Here’s what you need to know

Gemstone Setting: Here’s what you need to know

The Beginners Guide to Jewellery Making

Today we wanted to explain a little more about the term ‘stone setting’.

This is something we teach in several of our classes, including our One Day Gemstone Setting Class, Introduction to Jewellery Making Class and our Improvers Jewellery Making class.

Stone setting is simply the process of a gemstone being securely attached into the jewellery setting – usually the last part of the process. While there are many different variations of gem setting, we focus on flush setting and bezel setting within our classes.

Let’s shift the focus to Flush setting for now.

This is a technique of setting a gemstone into a drilled hole so that the gemstone sits inside of the jewellery and doesn’t show above the surface of the piece. Flush setting is a skill that requires accuracy and practice. This is why our 5 week courses and One Day Gemstone Setting Classes factor in plenty of time to practise before setting your gemstones into your final sterling silver piece.

 

A bezel setting is a technique used for enclosing a diamond or gemstone within a piece of jewellery, where the metal securely wraps around the stone. It’s one of the oldest types of stone setting and is often seen in antique or antique-inspired jewellery. The biggest benefit of a bezel setting is their security due to the setting fully surrounding the stone.

 

Our classes are open to all learning stages and you’ll have the help and guidance of our experienced goldsmith and tutor who will be there to guide you.

Click here for more information about our classes and current availability. 

 

 

The Beginners Guide to Jewellery Making

The Beginners Guide to Jewellery Making

The Beginners Guide to Jewellery Making

So  you fancy your hand at jewellery making? Amazing! You’re in the right place.

 

One of our most frequently asked questions is whether our classes are suitable for beginners. 

Our answer: YES! Yes, of course – come on in. 

We know that starting anything new can be a little daunting – even with our reassurance that you’re very much welcome – so we’ve put together our tips for those who want to try jewellery making for the first time, to help ease any nerves about coming along to our classes and enjoying learning a new creative skill. 

One of the many joys of making your own jewellery is that you get to create pieces totally bespoke to you and that reflects exactly what you’re looking for. There’s also the excitement of being able to make thoughtful gifts for loved ones. Imagine being able to have your own personalised jewellery for an affordable price and have fun in the process. 

 

What do you need to make jewellery?

Within our classes we primarily focus on making silver rings or pendants. We provide all tools, equipment, aprons and drills. So all you’ve got to bring is yourself and a few ideas about what you’d like to make design wise. 

Don’t panic if you’re drawing a blank in terms of design ideas, our very experienced tutors are not only bursting with knowledge but they’re also a super creative bunch and will happily chat through and help you with ideas. 

 

Choose what you’d like to make

Everything you make in our classes, you keep. On completion of our next Introduction to Jewellery Making course, you’ll have made either a pierced pendant or a beautiful ring with a bezel set gemstone, just in time for Christmas. 

It can be overwhelming when you first decide to give jewellery-making a go because there are so many possibilities. Choose one item to focus on first and remember, you can always try something else later. You’ll actually find it easier learning a new technique the next time around because of what you learned the first time around. 

If you’re stuck for inspiration on what to make, check out our Instagram here for examples of what previous clients have done. 

 

Master a few basics first

If you don’t feel ready to commit to a full jewellery making course, why not get started with our Forge a Silver Ring Taster Class? The result of this 2.5 hour class is a stunning handmade gift for yourself or a loved one AND you get to learn the basics of an incredible, ancient craft. 

Many of our Forge a Silver Ring class goers have discovered a new hobby and love of the craft and have signed up to our longer part-time courses to deepen their knowledge.

 

Don’t get discouraged

Just like with learning any other skill from scratch, there’s a learning curve to making your own jewellery. The first few tries may not go exactly as you’d like but that’s ok because your next attempt will look better and by the fourth, fifth, sixth go, you’ll feel more and more like a pro. Be patient with yourself, keep practicing, remember that all skills take time to develop and don’t forget our tutors are on hand throughout the entirety of the course to offer hands-on guidance and support. 

 

Click here to find out more about our class schedule for 2021. 

Our Introduction to Jewellery Making Course takes place over the course of 5 weeks. Classes are currently capped at 6 participants to ensure social distancing and COVID-19 measures are adhered to. We ask that all teachers and students attending wear visors/masks during our class. Workshop students have been fitted with perspex dividers and sanitisation stations to be used when entering and exiting our premises. 

How To Start Your Jeweller’s Bench at Home

How To Start Your Jeweller’s Bench at Home

Silver Works tutor, Steph shares her advice for starting your jeweller’s bench at home.

I feel like no matter where you start you end up becoming a collector of jewellery tools. You get a bit obsessed with each one and it never ends. 

There are so many different bits and bobs you can get for your bench. You generally become a bit of a maverick when you don’t have something you need. I never thought wire hangers would come in handy for so many things, Soldering picks or a makeshift hanging rail for my pliers. 

So where to start then? Let’s start with the basics 

The most important tools for your Jeweller’s Bench are your piercing saw and your bench peg.

You can keep these pretty simple to start and upgrade as you go.  With your saw frame, there are some absolutely beautiful hand saws out there to pick from, like the ones from Greenlion Jewellers.

I started with a pretty basic saw frame and it has done me so well for the past few years. 

Make your own

Saw Blade 2/0 are a great start for beginners. I don’t know how many I broke when I first started piercing so don’t get disheartened. It’s extremely annoying but you get used to the strength and how far you can push a blade before it breaks.

Make your own

When I was choosing a bench peg I didn’t have a full scale bench so I really needed something I could put anywhere I needed to work. I went through a few at first as they would end up moving around a lot ( absolutely nightmare) , you do end up putting a lot of pressure on your bench peg so ideally you want something that won’t budge. 

I found this one great to work with and the cast iron anvil is such a plus.

Make your own

We hope this introduction to the basic tools needed to start your own work bench at home has sparked an interest in creating your own. 

Thanks,

The Silver Works Team (1)