As you can imagine, I’ve been busy planning how my jewellery workshops and private 1-1 tuition might work when I reopen. Back in early March, I was excited, busily moving to a larger studio so I could expand my workshop sessions. Only a week later I was forced to put all of my plans on hold, as well as everyone who had booked places on my wax carving workshops. I thank everyone who has been patiently waiting.
I have adapted how we work in the workshop to try and make our learning environment as safe and enjoyable as possible during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Below I outline some of the key measures to help prevent the spread of the virus while observing government guidelines, please read through them all. If you have any questions or concerns please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Classes have currently been limited to 3 people based on current government guidelines. If guidelines change I may increase class numbers.
- 1+ Metre distancing is to be observed between students at all times.
- Two people will sit side by side on the larger bench rather than 4 people sharing the one table. There will be a perspex screen between each pair of students, although if 2 people are from the same household that screen can be removed. There will be a separate bench for a 3rd person.
- My bench will be placed with an acrylic screen across the back so you can watch demonstrations without worrying about distancing. There will also be a screen to separate 2 people watching demonstrations at one time.
- Face masks must be worn when students are away from their benches. I will wear a face shield rather than a face mask to make it easier for people to understand me when I am teaching.
- There are gloves which you are able to use if you wish. You will be asked to remove any PPE deemed to be dangerous while using some equipment in the workshop (for example wearing gloves on the polishing motor), you must remove it or I cannot let you continue on that task due to safety risks.
- I have disposable aprons available to use rather than the usual cotton aprons.
- Please use the hand sanitiser on entering the workshop and throughout the session, this will be provided. There is also a sink with hand wash to wash your hands thoroughly. Hand washing will be very much enforced in the workshop.
- The windows and doors will be open to allow for maximum ventilation.
- Please bring your own drinks and snacks during this time to reduce any germs spreading.
- All benches will have their own toolboxes, however, if you have your own tools I would appreciate it if you brought them with you. Tools will be cleaned before and after each workshop.
- Studio worksurfaces, door handles, light switches will be cleaned before and after each class.
- There will be tools that we have to share, all these must be wiped down after you use them so they are ready for the next student – there will be wipes, disinfectant and paper towel stationed all around the workshop to clean shared tools.
- Try to stay at your bench as much as possible. If you need to move around the workshop to use a tool, let your fellow students know to help us all social distance.
- Record keeping: As is required, I will be keeping a record of workshop attendees in case that information is needed for COVID-19 track and tracing. Of course, my records will be kept confidential and safe as always.
- Should you feel unwell with Coronavirus symptoms please do not attend your booked class, I will book you in for an alternative workshop date. I don’t want anybody to come along who is suffering symptoms of Coronavirus, but I ask that you also respect this doesn’t mean you should cancel a class for another reason. I am trying to accommodate everybody in very difficult times, keep everybody safe, and keep the business afloat.
- If another lockdown comes into force, I will close immediately and deal with classes and refunds for classes if and when it happens.
- I’ll do my best to follow safety guidelines to minimise any risk to any visitors, however, this isn’t a guarantee, the virus is very much a risk to some more than others, I have invested in more tools and rearranged the workshop to the best of my ability.
- Ultimately I still want my workshops to be fun, relaxed and as social as possible. We all need some time out!
Come and visit Hillside Studios Open Weekend on the 29-30th September 18
I would love to show you all my workshop space and explain what I do. I have been making myself at home at Hillside Studios since January and it has been the best decision I’ve made.
A lot has changed. Mostly it has allowed me to start teaching jewellery making but it has also been a huge motivation to be around like-minded people whilst also getting away from the dishes and other household chores you think I’ll just get that out of the way quick. Working from home can be hard.
If you would like to come and visit over this weekend to support all of us at Hillside Studios it would be great to see you.
I will have jewellery making experience gift vouchers to sell, perfect for Christmas (I can’t believe I’ve used the C word in September! sorry) as well as a selection of silver jewellery at discounted prices!!.
Make Your Own Jewellery Weekend Special
During the weekend I am offering a special price to make your very own jewellery during your visit.
For up to date info on these mini-workshops please look on the Facebook Event
Will I see you there? RSVP on my Facebook event
Liz Vidal Ceramics will also be offering small workshops throughout the weekend.
There will be lots of original artwork for sale from these established local artists.
Come and book your workshops for the winter for pottery, jewellery and printmaking.
Rosie Musgrave -Stone,
Linen Prints Jacqui Watkins – Printmaking,
Liz Vidal Ceramics – Ceramics,
Aimee Winstone Jewellery – Jewellery
Ruth Molloy – Steel and Painting
Bridget Birse – Garden Design
Jo Whiteland – Batik
Amy Spencer – Writer
Find Hillside Studios, 10 mins from Cribbs Causeway
I hope to see you there.
How to choose an unusual gemstone for your engagement ring
I love unusual colourful engagement rings!
Being a little bit unconventional, alternative and individual I think often shows you have thought more about the design of the ring, has more meaning, romance and sentimentality. Plus, everyone will notice your ring with its glamorous, sparkly, striking gem!
After all, we all think of the typical diamond engagement ring due to De Beer’s “Diamonds are forever” marketing campaign in 1948. Designed to boost diamond sales after the Great Depression, the modern day diamond engagement ring was created. I think we can all think a little outside of box these days, don’t you?
So which gemstone would you choose for your engagement ring? We can be so creative with this.
Maybe you or your partner has a favourite gemstone, favourite colour or flower. Anything that sparks some meaning, fond memories and emotion. Hunting for stones, it’s comparable to sweet and shoe shopping! I love it.
I’m currently designing an engagement ring with an amazing blue sapphire with black roses as her favourite colour is blue and black.
Last year I made a stunning diamond and ruby ring. This year they named their little baby girl Ruby!
I’ve also chosen to have a peach coloured padparadscha sapphire myself. You can read all about it ; designed around the Sri Lankan lotus flower and our travels together around Cambodia.
Are you beginning to see just how personal a ring can be? Amazingly thoughtful, individual, emotional, romantic and will be adored and loved for many years. I could get so carried here.
There are some practical reasons that will help you make your decision.
Each stone has its own hardness which we refer to the Mohs Scale of Hardness and may determine your choice on how to choose an unusual gemstone for your engagement ring.
Diamond is the hardest followed by Corundum (Sapphire and Ruby). If you intend to wear your engagement ring daily, especially if you have a hands-on job you would be wise to choose a harder gemstone. Softer stones such as opal or pearl make beautiful rings but they do have different care needs and certainly do not appreciate washing the dishes or gardening!
Gemstones over the hardness scale of 7 are considered hardwearing. These would include sapphire, ruby, alexandrite, chrysoberyl, topaz and spinel to name a few.
There’s a world of colourful vibrant gemstones to choose from
Stones you see in shop windows show a limited selection of the beautiful rare colours available. Did you know that sapphires are available in a rainbow of colours and tanzanites, garnets and amethysts can be green? There are so many lesser known gorgeous gemstones to choose from. You only need to inquire about so that I can source the perfect stone just for you.
So many options and eye-catching rings to design and make. I’m looking forward to hearing about the next engagement story I get to bring to life.
Alternatively, If you would like to design your ring together with your partner you can always propose with your stone in a temporary ring. Read my blog So you want to choose the perfect surprise engagement ring? for more information.
If you have any questions on how to choose an unusual gemstone for your engagement ring or would like to discuss your colourful ideas it only takes a quick chat with me.
In the meantime take a look at some of my previous commissions or join me on Facebook or Instagram
Speaking of engagements…I get to design my own ring
Now I was going to send this little blog out yesterday but who am I to try to steal the limelight from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 😉 Congratulations to them, another royal wedding! What I was pleased to see was just how much thought he had gone to, to design an engagement ring that had a lot of meaning to them both; sourcing a diamond from Botswana where they both had happy memories of.
So yesterday I was going to announce that several weeks ago I got engaged!
What most people were really surprised about was that I had no idea what I would choose for my engagement ring. I look at engagement rings all day! I have favourites I have made for other people, but I would always want something no one else has, obviously!
I thought I would share with you my design process of designing my own engagement ring
I decided to think of the design first, I love flowers and would love to add some travelling element to the design as we do love to travel.
I’ve always wanted a floral setting and lotus flowers have been a prevalent flower in so many of the countries we have visited with many sacred meanings.
This plant is known to be associated with rebirth. This is a consequence of it supposedly retracting into the water at the night, and emerging a fresh in the Sun the next day
The Egyptians, therefore, associated the lotus flower with the sun which also disappeared in the night, only to re-emerge in the morning. Therefore the lotus came to symbolize the Sun and the creation.
Hinduism: In this religion, the lotus flower meaning is associated with beauty, fertility, prosperity, spirituality, and eternity. Goddess Lakshmi, the patron of wealth and good fortune, sits on a fully bloomed pink lotus as Her divine seat and holds a lotus in Her right hand. It is also mentioned in the Mahabharata that Lakshmi emerged from a lotus which grew from the forehead of Lord Vishnu, and a garland of 108 lotus seeds is today used for the worship of Lakshmi.
The Cambodian lotus is symbolic of wisdom and spirituality, a symbol of purity, fidelity, creativity, and enlightenment.
In China, It symbolizes the holy seat of Buddha. Because the flower rises from the mud and blooms in exquisite beauty it symbolizes perfection and purity of both the heart and mind. It also represents long life and honor.
So off I went to start sketching some ideas for both the engagement and the wedding rings.
Now I have an initial idea of the rings I’m going to make I had to find the stone. Of course, I had to choose a stone that was pretty hard to find and I’m so pleased that I have.
My chosen gemstone
Two and a half years ago I fell in love with a particular sapphire at a trade show I visited and I have been looking for it since. A lovely peachy colour and quite unusual. I had been thinking of this stone ever since I saw it.
Its called a Padparadscha Sapphire from Sri Lanka. A orangey and pinky coloured gem stone which unbeknown to me is the Sinhalese word for lotus blossom!!!
How perfect is that, I really had no idea.
The sapphire is a very similar colour to the Lotus flower found on this island called Gem Island or “Ratna Dweepa”.
Here’s the sapphire I have found, it’s beautiful and I can’t wait to show everyone the final rings.
I hope this may inspire some of you on your unusual engagement ring designs and if you would like to discuss ideas with me please send me a message via email or Facebook.
You can always look at my previous engagement ring commissions here to.