Saturday, May 7, 2016

Learn to make Silver Jewelry in Bali

Ever since I started designing my own jewellery, Jewellery by Coley, which you can read about here, I have always wanted to do a hands on course where you learn how to make Jewellery. I researched online and I didn't find a course that I could accommodate in my current life since I do have a day job, you know. Hahaha. 

However, I did manage to find something that caught my interest. In Bali, there are several classes you can take, where you are taught how to make your own Silver Jewellery, from design to execution, and the price of the course includes a certain amount of silver that you can use to make the piece that you design.

The only catch in my plan was that I was going to Bali for work, so with the given flight schedules and meetings, I had a very little free time. I actually checked the schedule of the different workshops and it was only WS Art Studio that had a class on Sunday afternoon. My flight was arriving in Bali at noon, so it was really cutting it close. They were really very nice though. I emailed them and told them about my predicament and they told me that I could just call them when I landed, and I could take a taxi directly to their workshop in Ubud which was roughly an hour away from the airport. Since I found out my hotel was also in Ubud, they told me to just call when I get to the hotel, and they would pick me up instead... by motorbike! 

Welcome to Bali motorbike experience!

The place was in the middle of rice fields, and they do classes for a lot of different Balinese Crafts, not just Silver Jewellery.

I was the only student for the day, so they didn't have any problem accommodating my schedule which was around an hour later than the normal class time.
Literally, inspired by nature.

The class also came with snacks, hooray, since I missed lunch.
The freshly cooked Banana and Pineapple Fritters were pretty good.

The first part of the course is to draw your design. They show you work done by other students, so you can see some pegs.
Only silver is provided, so you need to bring your own stones if you want
to use any.
I just wanted a simple open ring with two stones, so for me, Ayu just
measured out an estimated length on a sterling silver sheet.
This is Ayu. She does all the soldering while you watch.
She soldered two sheets of Sterling Silver together to make
it thick enough for the band of the ring.
Then she flattened it to make sure that it was properly
welded together.
Then the next step is filing the silver until it's straight and there are no sharp sides which can get uncomfortable for jewellery. You do a lot of filing in this class.

Then you can stamp your name or any message on your jewellery before you do the design.

I wanted the band to have a hammered texture look, so I had to keep pounding it with different blunt objects to get that effect.
Voila! Then more filing to get the band straight enough.

Then we created the holders for the stones. Using a strip of sterling silver, we had to make a circle which was just the correct size for the stones.
Borax is used as a bonding agent, which is washed off when the finished
product is ready.
We used silver wire, to hold the stone in place.
Welding the wire to the stone holders
Again more filing...
Then it was time to connect the stone holders to the band.
More filing...
Fits quite well too. I guess it really helps that the design is open.

When your design is almost ready, they clean the ring and remove all the Borax by heating it, then dipping it in acid repeatedly. Then the jewellery is dipped in soapy water and scrubbed.

If you are not using stones in  your design, the last step is the polishing and buffing.

Since we were setting stones, we had to do more filing, to make sure the holder was the correct height, then the stones were put in, with glue!, then the silver was filed again inward so help keep the stones in place.
Then more filing just to make sure it was all smooth
and pretty.
I love how it came out.

Ayu also offers other workshops, but best to check on her website.
Jewellery by Coley
Love Love Love
Thank you so much Ayu for your flexibility which allowed me to take this
class, and for your patience in teaching me and letting me take all the photos
I wanted.
The course takes around 3 hours, depending on the complexity of your design. I was very happy I was able to do this course. It was totally worth skipping lunch for.  just saying.

WS Art Studio
Lodtunduh, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia

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