Tools of the trade

Over the years jewellers have invented new tools to ‘do the job’. Many items remain the same as they simply can’t be improved upon, and are still similar in design to those that were used in mediaeval times. Some are redesigned and just don’t work as well as the original. Other redesigns were a huge success.

medieval jewellery workshop

I have a mixture of second hand and ‘new to me’ tools. My Father’s studio was left fully stocked when he immigrated to America, so I was very lucky to inherit several wonderful bits of kit.

ring pliers

These are my favourite pliers designed for bending rings; I assume were second hand when my dad bought them as I believe they were manufactured in the 1940/50s. I also like using a big chunky pair of Maun parallels. (www.maunindustries.com)

maun pliers

I have two rolling mills, one is a Durston (www.durston.co.uk) and the other older set is probably as old as my pliers, not sure of the manufacturer. I assume they are both made in the UK. They made things to last back then. I use the bigger one for doing all my roller texturing work. Its survived being miss treated by students, and having sweets crushed in the cogs by me kids when they were small. The kids are now older enough to know better, but they were banned from entering for a few years.

I have several saw frames, but my two favourites are:

saw

One which I bought new when I was at college, can you believe that’s over twenty years ago? And the other lovely rose wood handled frame which is great for slightly bigger work, which I bought at a car boot sale.

My polishing machine has seen better days, but is still going strong. This was purchased new from Hatton Garden back in the 1070s when my mum was pregnant with me. I’d love to update it, but there’s really no need whilst it hangs in there.

My newest piece of equipment was a birthday gift from my dad. It’s an amazing all singing and dancing setting clamp. Which makes setting a lot easier. It comes off the bench and then is replaced by my peg when not in use so is multifunctional too. (www.grs.com)

Lastly, but not least, is my ‘can never be replaced’ setting tool. Made from a jewellery tool handle and a screw! I can’t use anything else, as it just doesn’t work. This little mushroom sits in the palm of my hand and is just right.

setting tool

Tools are like old friends, you pick up from where you left off, and they support you no matter what!

If you fancy learning how to use some of these wonderful tools or just come to visit my studio and showroom over the summer all my details are available on my website:

Jewellery Workshops or simply message me via Contact

 

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How us it ‘that time if year’ again already?

Wow, it’s December 2017 on Friday. I simply don’t know where this year has vanished. My life seems to be steered by work and life, and trying to keep both on an even keel. 

  
Thankfully, the boys are very good at looking after themselves, and Big G, aka Granny keeps an eye out and helps with lifts when I simply can’t be in two places at once. 

Chaos reins at this time of year in my studio, it’s never orderly, but it really does get in to one big mess as I try to keep on top of all the orders and commissions.

  
This time of year the exhibitions and sales seem to be all or nothing, next week I’m taking part in three different events, all helping to celebrate buying local, supporting small businesses, and opting to buy hand made unique gifts for Christmas. 

   
    
   
We don’t need to buy oodles of plastic, electronic or designer gear. Why not give your loved one a gift that no one else in the whole wide world has. All the while know that you are supporting a local business. That business is probably run buy someone who loves what they do, they love to create, it’s what they do best. However, the only way they can make that lifestyle choice work is if they actually sell their work. Artists and makers are very privileged to be able to earn a crust creating, but it’s tough. You have to be a Jack of all trades, and on a steep learning curve. Being a sales person, a business manager, a procurement officer and a creator all at once.

Just think though you are purchasing a one off gift, quite often for a very small price. You are saving resources, buying original designs and getting something really special.

  
  
  
I do hope to see you at one of my last events of this year. 

On reflection it’s been great for me, with so many new designs and potential new clients. I’m really looking forward to next year, and seeing where it takes me!

www.klawriejewellery.co.uk
https://folksy.com/shops/katherinelawriejewellery