Séamus Gill enjoys passing on the silversmithing skills he has learned over the years and has thought at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and at the Crafts Council of Irelands Jewellery Skills course in Kilkenny.
He teaches a number of weekend workshops at the Irish School of Jewellery in Dublin. All the classes are finished this year but we will be announcing dates for spring 2020 soon.
All the workshops are based on silversmithing techniques of forming metal directly with a hammer and anvil. In each two-day workshop, Séamus will lead you through a series of exercises designed to develop your skill and understanding of the technique. Starting at the basics, he will demonstrate each step and give you the chance to practice it yourself before guiding you through to more advanced techniques.
Because you will be learning competence in a skill, each class is limited to six students which ensures you will get plenty of supervised attention from an experienced master. All the tools and material you need will be supplied. During the class, you will be using copper and bronze and you will have some finished pieces made by the end of the workshop. You have the chance to buy silver if you would like to make some finished pieces in silver.
For further information see; www.theschoolofjewellery.ie
Forging is one of the most basic of the silversmithing skills and is probably the first way metal was shaped by early man. It is an immensely satisfying way of working directly with metal in a similar way that a blacksmith works with iron. Using a hammer and anvil you will learn to move metal by compressing or stretching, changing the cross section without loosing material. You can move metal effectively into contrasting thick and thin sections with graceful fluid lines and by observing and understanding the process it can lead to development of new designs through the process of making.
This two day course will introduce to you many of the forms that can be made by forging and used on a jewellery scale. Over the weekend you will have the opportunity be brought through some of the most basic forged forms and develop these into links for a chain, earrings and bangles and finally to make a forged spoon.
Foldforming is the technique of transforming a flat sheet of metal into a three dimensional form that was developed by Charles Lewton Brain. This is achieved by folding, compressing and then opening a flat sheet of metal with just the use of a hammer and anvil.
Foldforming takes advantage of the ductility and malleability of metal and exploits how the metal “flows” under the force of the hammer. Because the process exploits the natural way metal will move, it results in very beautiful organic forms.
In this two day workshop, you will learn the principles and techniques of this wonderful process. This will give you the knowledge to practice and develop the technique yourself, and opens up the possibility of designing using the natural working characteristics of metal.
Because this is such a rapid forming process, you will have an opportunity to make lots of trial pieces and there may be time on the second day to develop and make some of your own pieces.
Anticlastic forming (also called “Anticlastic raising”) is a technique of moving a flat sheet of metal into two opposing curves similar to a saddle shape. It was developed by the Finnish silversmith Hekki Seppa and the American goldsmith Michael Good.
During the two day workshop, Séamus will explain the concepts, tools, and techniques of Anticlastic forming by showing you how to make three bangles, each one building on the skills you have learned in making the previous one.
Sinking and Raising a bowl
Hammering a bowl from a flat disc is one of the fundamental processes for making functional pieces of silversmithing. In this two day workshop you will learn the two main techniques, sinking and raising. You will have the opportunity to sink a bowl on the first day and raise a bowl on the second day.
Sinking is the process of hammering a disc on the inside to stretch it into the shape of a bowl, and raising is the process of hammering a disc on the outside to compress it into the shape of a bowl. Both bowls will be made in sheet bronze.