Features / Better Bristol

Silversmith workshop to give back to Bristol

By hannah cornford, Thursday Nov 21, 2019

Bristol24/7 has teamed up with local silversmith specialist Kim Thomson to host a workshop at The Bristol Folk House on Monday, December 16.

The workshop is the latest in our Better Bristol workshop series which began with a partnership with photographer Colin Moody hosting street photography workshops.

A few tickets are available to buy for each workshop and the profits go towards running similar workshops and opportunities free of charge for people who are unable to access them.

Kim at her workshop and the silver rings you will learn to make and keep.

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Kim, who has been silversmithing in Bristol for more than 10 years, explains why she wanted to get involved in the project.

“While I specialise in silversmithing, I have a background in community arts and support work. I am passionate about how the arts can bring about social change from raising participants confidence, self-esteem and aspirations, to fostering a sense of belonging within communities and Cities. I strive to deliver everything I do in the most inclusive and accessible way I can, so people can feel relaxed and unpressured. Creativity is for all and it should be an enjoyable process.

“Silversmithing can be seen as an exclusive activity that requires a large investment in time, training, tools and materials. For the past couple of years, I have been setting myself challenges to demonstrate it doesn’t need to be that way. Throughout 2019 I have been doing an Instagram project that I called #12monthsofmetal. This is 12 months of free tutorials starting at the very, VERY basics.

“January started with all the things you could make with a sheet of cheap metal, a pair of tin snips, a nail and some old rusty hammers. #Makeitmonth2 took the previous months skills and showed you what you could make if you chose to buy a jewellers saw. Throughout the year we have worked up to advanced techniques such as casting, either with the professional tools or if you’d rather, you can use a potato. It’s all about choice, education and striving to make jewellery silversmithing as accessible as possible.

“Although precious metals such as silver and gold can be expensive, you don’t need to worry about waste or ‘getting it wrong’. Two years ago, I set myself a one hundred day project which I called #misilverchallenge. I took a single strip of silver and for 100 consecutive days I chopped it up or melted it down and turned it into a different piece of jewellery. 100 different designs over 100 consecutive days from a single, £6 piece of silver. I wanted to show that it’s okay if it doesn’t work out how you wanted the first time or you’re trying to learn new skills but can’t afford new materials, you can just chop it up and make something else.

“It’s an honour to work with Bristol24/7 to create small changes towards a Better Bristol. Working with tools to forge raw materials can be very satisfying. Busy hands calm busy brains. A little respite from the stresses of daily life can have a big impact on our wellbeing and whacking metal with hammers is a great stress reliver! The fact the proceeds feed into providing workshops to our local communities who may need a little extra support is wonderful bonus.”

Check out Kim on Instagram @makeitkimtoday

Kim’s first silversmithing workshop with Bristol24/7 is at Folk House Cafe on Monday, December 16 from 6-9pm.

Tickets cost £50 and include all you silver and access to all the tools you need. You get to keep what you make.

Tickets are available to buy now on Eventbrite.

Read more: Silversmithing can be seen as an exclusive activity

Pictures by Lucas Birtles

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