Silversmithing 101

October 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Recently I’ve been happily distracted by silversmithing classes at Derek T Gallery. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages and ages. I remember watching with fascination as my granddad in Tapah Road went about his goldsmith work. Mysterious saucers of yellow liquid and milky white stuff, some bubbling under the flame of a candle. Tables strewn with iron instruments, calipers and tweezers. Drawers filled with forms and worn-out pieces of wood. An old bellows with a burner. He had these handsome weighing scales stored in a box, with various sized weights to balance the scales. And he’d always be in his white Pagoda-brand shirt, and black dress pants, working at something small and glittery. Granddad also had a golden tooth… I often wondered whether he shaped it himself, but never did ask him!

Anyway, you can see that my interest in the craft goes way back, but only recently did I really feel the urge to learn it properly. I guess the serial hobbyist in me wanted something new to learn, and banging away and forging metal seemed like a good counterpart to coaxing soft clay.

At first, I thought the nearest school was in Singapore, which would have been really expensive and quite a pain, commuting once a week for a day-long class for five weeks. Serendipitously, I ran into one of scientist sis’s friends around the same time, and she mentioned there was a place for classes in the neighbourhood. After doing some searching around, I found Derek T Gallery, a jewellery and hobby shop run by (of course) Derek Tan.

Here are the fruits of the classes so far:

A hammered ring, an etched leaf pendant, a bezel-set square pendant, a bezel-set chunky ring, and a lotus pendant with a hole in the middle. I’m enjoying many of the processes… hammering (cathartic!), etching, soldering, cutting, filing things even. The only thing I don’t like is polishing! I’m thinking there should be an alternate way of finishing the pieces… like matte white, that won’t require polishing. Something to explore once I finish the course.

I’m so looking forward to combining metal with clay… but don’t talk so much, do first 😉

For those who are interested in the course, you can find more information here.


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