When we saw a peek into Jasmine's notebook over on Instagram we had to find out more! In this blog post, Jasmine takes us on a little tour of her jeweller notebook, sharing her favourite pages and top tips along the way.
Do you have a similar notebook? Tag us in yours over on Instagram for a chance to feature!
Finding a secondary school with a good art department was my mum's only criteria when I moved into year 7 and since then I've been on a long journey to find my place in the creative industry. I graduated from Falmouth university with a degree in Graphic Design and five years later I trained to be a secondary art teacher in a Bristol school.
During my stint as a teacher I could feel time for my own creative practice slipping away so I enrolled myself on a silversmithing course one evening a week for 10 weeks to encourage myself to start making again and I was hooked. Two years later and I've moved to Brighton and set up my own little studio which I work from part time. My jewellery is usually simple and minimalist but I have recently been experimenting with reticulation to add texture. I work predominantly with silver and am inspired by geometric shapes, angles and the balance of a piece.
I like to keep two notebooks; one for making notes and sketching designs when I'm in the studio, and a mini one which stays in my bag for when I have moments of creativity when I'm out and about.
When I was learning how to silversmith I wrote down EVERYTHING in this notebook so that I could refer back to it when I was practicing on my own. There's something about the whole process of writing instructions down that makes it sink in for me.
Two years later and I'm still adding to it each time I learn something new. I've even got a stash of fresh notebooks exactly the same as these ones ready for when they get full. I'd be lost without them.
A textured band ring was one of the first things I made. Call me strange but I love the fact that there is an equation to work out the band length you need. Don't forget to make your band ring two ring sizes smaller if you're hammering in texture, it always amazes me how much a bit of hammering can stretch the metal.
Filing and polishing seemed pretty obvious when I first started silversmithing, but I quickly learnt a number of useful tips which really made the difference. Make sure you alternate the direction of your sanding between each grade of abrasive and keep sanding until the marks of the grade before have vanished. And I can't stress enough how much better it is to file in long smooth strokes, any vibrations when filing your piece mean you need to change your technique, long and smooth is the way.
I like to draw little diagrams next to my instructions as a quick reminder. Your blade must ping when you flick it, if not take it out and fit it again. Leaving it will mean a broken blade and inaccurate piercing out. You should also never force the saw on the up, the blade does all of the work on the down stroke. I rarely break a blade now, I think I broke 2 the first time I ever pierced out.
This is a technique I learnt quite recently and it's something that really relies on how you draw out your template at the beginning. I love shapes, angles and a bit of maths so this really suited me. The main thing to remember is the bigger you make the circle on the top of your template the bigger the actual signet will be. It's also better to make the height of your signet a bit bigger, you can always file it down but you can't add it on once it's cut.
As most of you will know, silversmithing is something that can be practiced using a handful of basic tools. But once you get hooked, be ready to spend a good chunk of money on expanding your collection. There are endless exciting tools to be had. When I first started learning I wrote a list of basic tools to buy to set up my own studio, I add to this list each time I discover a tool I want. I keep crossing items off but the list gets longer and longer.
Most of the pages in my notebook are filled with designs and rough sketches. Any idea I have gets jotted down whether I think it has the potential to become something or not. Even if I don't use it it might spark off another idea. A lot of my ideas come from playing around with shapes found in nature, I especially like the humble circle.
We have a range of free jewellery making tutorials available, whether you're a complete beginner or expert silversmith! We cover the basics of jewellery making, beading, wire wrapping, metalsmithing to metal clay - so you can explore the techniques that interest you.
We chat to some of our customers who share their beautiful handmade jewellery! We also hear about how they got started in jewellery making, hear all about their top tips as well as how to succeed in running a business.