Hey Spookies! I was lucky enough to be invited to do a 1-to-1 silversmithing workshop to make stacking rings* with the amazing Noctua. I can honestly say, it was one of the most fun experiences I've ever had, and I truly loved every second of it, and left feeling really proud of myself! All of the very many pictures on this post are taken by the wonderful Freddie, who came along so I could really focus on the experience.
I was really nervous when I arrived, as I'm someone who doesn't have a lot of confidence in my craft ability, but Brittany immediately put me at ease and assured me that I'd be fine at it. She was also kind enough to get some almond milk in for Freddie and I, and made us a cup of tea each. The effort she puts in to making it a fun, relaxed environment is wonderful, and she has a great understanding of people feeling a little nervous.
So, what do you get up to? I'll tell you! If you'd rather not know about the process involved in making the rings, I'd scroll further to the bottom of the post to avoid 'spoilers'. So, we started with calculating the length of silver I needed to fit my fingers, and cutting it, which Brittany talked me through. It took me a while to cut it, and to do a few other bits of the process as I'm naturally quite a gentle person and I had to get used to the idea of being rough with something!
Next after cutting the silver, comes filing the ends to be completely flat, then using tongs to shape it into an oval shape. Then comes one of the most exciting bits. Soldering. With a blow torch. Yep, someone, somehow, trusted me to use a blowtorch. Fear not, all people and property present survived the experience damage-free! It was great fun, and I definitely got a kick out of it. I was even allowed to use the bigger, more powerful one. It's especially exciting because suddenly, your piece of silver is looking a lot more ring-like.
After soldering the ring, I filed it gently to smooth the solder, and then had the chance to play with a mallet. Traditionally, a rawhide mallet is used to shape the ring into a circle, but the ever thoughtful Brittany has a rubber mallet for vegans and veggies to use. After making the rings circular, they were then flattened to make sure they'll sit nicely together. Brittany did this bit for me because I was being far too light-handed with it!
To add a bezel-cup for a stone to one of the rings, a cool gadget called a 'third hand' is used, and I got to return to the soldering and blowtorch, which was quite thrilling. Who wouldn't be excited about a blowtorch, really? Brittany guided me again here as I couldn't quite get the bezel-cup to sit evenly on the ring. She's brilliant at knowing when you need a helping hand to make the best rings possible without making you feel like you're doing a poor job.
Next up, are the finishing touches! Polishing the ring using a powerful spinning brush is tricky, and a lot of fun. Following that, Brittany took me over to a sink to simply give the ring a wash with a toothbrush and some washing up liquid. Voila! The plain ring is shiny and finished, and the other ring is ready to have a stone put in the cup. I chose this gorgeous blue-green colour. Brittany spent a while finding a stone that fit the best in the bezel-cup, and after that, I used a metal rod to push the sides of the cup tighter around the stone. I am now the proud owner and creator of two wonderful rings!
I felt so unbelievably proud of myself, and I absolutely adore the rings I've made. Every time I wear them and look at them I get all smiley at the amazing memories I now have attached to them. Brittany made the whole experience absolutely perfect, and was so knowledgable and explained absolutely everything in-depth and incredibly clearly. I can not emphasise enough what a great experience this was. Getting creative, learning, and using your hands is definitely good for the soul.
These are the finished rings. I absolutely adore them, and will always cherish them. They're so delicate looking and go so well with everything, and wearing them makes me so happy. I'm definitely saving up to visit Noctua and do a workshop again, as there are so many different workshops available. You can even make your own wedding bands, which I think is the most romantic thing ever! The whole experience was just amazing from start to finish, and having the rings as a beautiful keepsake is really special.
Noctua have been kind enough to give me a code to share with you all, for £5 off a workshop. Pop the code 'SPOOKY5' in at the checkout, you get £5 off, and I'll get 10% of the sales too. Pretty groovy, right?
This blog post contains samples, experiences, and/or products gifted by brands. This has no effect on my opinion. For more information, including what happens to non-vegan/cruelty-free products gifted, see my disclaimer.