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Jewellery Making Storage Tour With Scruffy Dog Silver

Creating space and having the right storage solutions can be a tricky task for any jewellery maker!

In this post, Steph from Scruffy Dog Silver shares with us how she created a space for herself to pursue her passion for jewellery making and how she organises her small space within her beautiful shed...

Meet Steph From Scruffy Dog Silver

I’m Steph - designer, maker and chief biscuit muncher here at Scruffy Dog Silver.

I’m just a one-woman band so also responsible for all packing and posting and everything admin from those dreaded accounts to website design.

I launched my little business back in 2011 and over the years have managed to go part-time at the ‘day job’.

Mainly a self-taught smithy, often each bespoke request will present a challenge and that’s how I learn and develop new techniques…it’s fun.

I simply love being creative and making things for folks.

"It was never going to work long-term. I needed somewhere that I could call my own..."

Creating My Space

Early on I realised the need for a dedicated space to create my metal mischief… I have a corner of the garage set aside for all my soldering work, the pickle pot and for the polisher but it has no natural light to work the finer aspects of jewellery making.

I used to work from the kitchen table. I remember eating meals with the rolling mill perched at the head of the table, and all sorts of tools and paraphernalia being scattered everywhere.

It was never going to work long-term…I needed somewhere that I could call my own - where I could shut the door, walk away and then go back and pick up exactly where I left everything.

So...I bought a shed for the bottom of my garden

It’s just a simple run of the mill potting shed. Nothing flash! 7ft square.

I rotated the roof by 90° so it gave me as much headroom as possible and because I thought it could perhaps look a bit like a beach hut and painted it in my favourite colours so it became a feature in the garden.

It has a part glass roof and wrap around windows for maximum natural light to stream in and a stable door.

Most of the time this works so very perfectly…unless it’s the height of summer, and on those rare but beautiful scorching hot summer days it’s just impossible to work in - so instead I set up a workbench outside, perched myself under the plum tree and work barefoot on the grass!

I have some very clever and generous chums and they pitched in with their expertise and it was quickly given power and was insulated and some awesome rainbow striped flooring was found and laid.

"I fished out a load of handheld scanner boxes out of the skip at work, made from lovely thick cardboard, I punched through a couple of holes and knotted on a seagrass handle..."

My Workbenches

I have 2 jewellers workbenches built inside, at very different heights.

I prefer to sit at the peg when chopping out silver or setting gemstones but have to stand to work when stamping and I’m a tall girl!

Much of my work is personalised so I do spend the majority of my time stood in the corner where I have my little stamping station situated.

All my lovely jeweller hammers live in a handmade wooden toolbox. As it’s not a giant area I have learnt to be quite creative with the workspace I have, often making use for the most unlikely of things!

Everything has its place…

DIY Storage

You can’t beat IKEA and Hobbycraft for storage solutions and I have a mix of both. They add a spot of colour to The Shed and match the floor!

I think I am proudest of my storage ‘drawers’ that sit under the bench. I fished out a load of handheld scanner boxes out of the skip at work, made from lovely thick cardboard, I punched through a couple of holes and knotted on a seagrass handle.

These house all my chainsfindingsgemstones, rolls eco-suede, lengths of liberty ribbon, labels, stickers, twine… all quietly organised!

Very out of character for me really…I’m not nearly this organised in real life! It makes me chuckle!

"I use a fabulous chunk of driftwood found at the beach to house all those tiny Dremel accessories and drill bits..."

jewellery making storage tips

Finding Multiple Uses

Many things I use have a dual purpose. So for example, wooden champagne crates, picked up from a local wine merchants double up as bookshelves and storage boxes in The Shed and are also used to display my silver at fairs and craft markets. 

The old vegetable crate I use to store my tumbler and shot belonged to my pap and is almost a family heirloom - it’s years old! I keep all my silver wire in a wonderful teeny tiny vintage leather suitcase.

All my jewellery punches are kept safe inside an old WW2 ammo box. Things were beginning to rust up being left out on the workbench, so my punches are regularly cleaned and lubricated and tucked away when not in use.

I use a fabulous chunk of driftwood found at the beach to house all those tiny Dremel accessories and drill bits. I simply drilled a hole to suit each one and boom…they don’t get lost so easily then!

"I have a map pinned to the ceiling so I can mark where on the planet I have sent my work to. I have a blackboard to help remember sizes and measurements of popular pieces..."

Furry Assistant & Creating A Happy Place  

The Shed has become very important to me. It’s MY space. It’s a happy place. Yes, it has a life sized cardboard cut-out of David Tennant inside…and yes it has become crammed with little keepsakes and talismans - things that remind me of special times…messages and thank you notes from customers, things that help lift me up when perhaps the creative mojo has vanished.

I have a map pinned to the ceiling so I can mark where on the planet I have sent my work to.

I have a blackboard to help remember sizes and measurements of popular pieces. I always have my favourite tunes on courtesy of Planet Rock Radio…and it’s not usual to find me… “just popping down the Shed for a mo” at noon on a Sunday for The Blues Power Sunday Brunch show - I love to hear the blues!

I have a secret stash of biscuits…its warm and comfy…what more does a girl need!

I’m often joined by one of the Dogs whilst working. Muffin especially loves to curl up and snore the day away. Often getting covered in a fine sprinkling of silver dust.

Lolly seems to only visit when she hears the biscuit tin opening!

"Everything is to hand, but disguised to fit in and around my home..."

Disguised Within My Home

Other aspects of running a small business from home have just quietly blended in and around daily life.

I have a little space where I take all my photographs inside the dining room, this too has a glass roof and once the sun sneaks around out of direct sight its perfect for taking snaps.

Read Kernowcraft's photography guide here for top tips!

I don’t use anything more than an iPhone with a Nimbus Cloud Dome, preferring to use natural light than any electric light.

I bought a lovely tall vintage cabinet that my beloved record player sits on when I’m not busy using it to take photos. The backgrounds that I use are simply wooden placements from the kitchen table and my props are often bits and bobs I have perched on the mantelpiece!

All my admin is kept in the spare room, utilising more upcycled wine crates for storage, which then become awesome bangle displays at shows.

All my gift wrap… the stacks of jewellery boxes, cotton bags, tissue, stickers, tape and twine are stored inside wicker picnic hampers or vintage suitcases picked up from the charity shop.

Everything is to hand, but disguised to fit in and around my home.

ScruffyDog has become a way of life and I am hoping that come the summer, I can take the next leap and go full time with it and see where it may take me next.

Steph x

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