Jewellery Making: Learning The Tricks of The Trade
A new activity for this term, Mr MacDonnell’s Metalwork and Jewellery-Making Activity has seen Bede’s pupils from the First Year to the Upper Sixth learning all of the same techniques used by jewellers up and down the country.
After starting the term-long course by simple brass rings, the students moved onto working on twisted rings, engraving and creating a selection of settings.
Examples of work by Charleston House’s Ambra Fuller.
With this practise work complete in bronze, next came working with silver and semi-precious stones.
“The way I have structured the course is similar to the jewellery degree I took as a younger man,” explains Mr MacDonnell, who worked for many years as a professional jeweller.
“When you look at anything available on the high street, you will see that all of it is made using the same techniques the children now know. The only distinction on price-point really comes down to materials.”
“It’s been an amazing opportunity to try something new,” he said.
“It’s really satisfying when you make something you’re proud of. It’s not something I ever thought I would be able to do, let alone at school.”
“For me,” explains Tom Angelo from Deis House, “it’s something really different to how I spend the rest of my week. I'm in the Lower Sixth and study History, Politics, Business BTEC and Media, so this is the only really hands-on thing I do. It’s relaxing, and although it can be a bit fiddly it’s a good challenge.”
With Mr MacDonnell’s singular hope for the activity being that the students ‘create something precious – to them or anyone else’ it’s superb to see the likes of high achieving Upper Sixth Design and Technology student Leo Mayer beavering away in the corner.
“The bit about this that’s special to me is that I’ve never worked in metal before,” he says.
“I’m so used to working with wood, and am looking ahead to taking a Foundation Course in Spatial Design. Just having the opportunity to do this and acquire these skills though, that’s what’s precious to me.”