A one day course with Exmoor silver artist Cat Mills. Suitable for novice makers this is an introduction to the creative use of cuttlefish shells as moulds for silver creations. Cuttlefish casting is an ancient technique for making cast objects. Experienced silversmith and teacher Cat Mills will guide you through the process of creating s design, carving it into cuttlefish bone, and pouring moulten silver into your mould. You’ll be shown how to finish and polish your piece to make a stunning piece of jewellery – a truely unique gift for yourself or a friend.
Places are limited to 8.
Who’s it For?
No prior experience is necessary, but you’ll be working in a workshop environment with hot metal and sharp hand tools; come prepared for an environment that may be noisy and where manual dexterity is an advantage. You’ll be sent a Health and Safety form to read and sign before you come.
You will need to pay Cat direct for the materials you use. Silver is charged at £1 per gram, and most projects will use between 5 to 10 grams. We will weigh your projects as you go, so you can understand the value of the materials you’re using and plan other projects according to the depth of your pockets.
As a rough guide – as it will depend massively on how big your pieces are:
Cuttlefish cast pendants £12 – £25
Cuttlefish cast rings £6 – £10
By nature of the process cuttlefish pieces tend to be somewhat heavier than formed pieces. When making earrings you can keep costs down if you use a mixture of copper and silver. This is also a beautiful way of giving contrast to your work.
Cat has an ethically conscious approach to her work and loves to recycle scrap sterling silver and copper into new and beautiful forms (eg through cuttlefish casting). If you wish, you may bring your own sterling silver items (lion-marked, antique items are most reliably pure – this could be tableware, hand mirrors, hairbrushes, pill boxes etc, not just jewellery) to melt down and cast; please let us know if this is something you’d like to do and Cat will plan it into the week.
We are delighted to welcome Exmoor silversmith Cat Mills to Halsway to lead a number of traditional Silversmithing courses. Cat has over 10 years’ teaching experience, including day courses and regular evening classes at her workshop deep in the heart of Exmoor, as well as travelling with her mobile workshop to deliver workshops at festival street fairs and events.
In her work she is a strong advocate of recycle and re-use, mixing new with recycled metal and tapping into waste as a resource.
“Taking scrap sterling silver, I melt it down and ether cast it into my designs, or forge into organic shapes. To this I add recycled copper and brass, these base metals giving contrast and colour to my work. My handmade jewellery is made using traditional hand tools and avoiding harmful chemicals, packaged in recycled boxes.”