The Silversmith’s Art.
If you have a love of precious metals and a creative streak there’s a chance you will want to become a silversmith. Historically, the trade has been a source of inspiration for many craftsmen and women. This is because to create beautiful objects from silver, gold, brass and bronze you have to be able to combine your artistic talent with your skills as a craftsman or woman. These two aspects must overlap, which means that the job needs artistic creativeness as well as craftsmanship skills.
The difference between a goldsmith and a silversmith is not the material they work with. A goldsmith can do his job in silver and a silversmith his job in gold.
The difference is in the size of the objects they work in rather than the material. A silversmith creates big objects (mostly in silver) and a goldsmith small objects like jewellery (mostly gold).
To become a great silversmith, it’s really quite simple. You need imagination and creativity to turn a piece of silver from a lump of metal into a real working object.
The silver industry is filled with exciting opportunities. You can become an apprentice silversmith, go into training to receive a degree, or attend classes at a community college near you.
It is this philosophy of creative fulfilment through technical expertise that runs through the apprenticeship programme at the Goldsmiths Centre in London.
As you can see, the instructor demonstrates how the Swindens bench vice securely holds a whole range of materials thanks to its pipe jaw and soft jaw options.
When you start out in silver smithing, focus on learning one or two techniques, for example, raising, sinking or chasing. That way you can distinguish yourself from the competition.
One of the most interesting and satisfying areas that a silversmith can explore is in church art. These are often large pieces and require specialised handling equipment. This is where a Swindens vice truly excels. Its unique rotational capability allows the smith to securely hold large sections of devotional art that may need chasing or hammering.
In England we are very fortunate that educational institutes such as the goldsmiths centre exist to train a new generation of craftsmen and women in one of the oldest forms of artistic creativity.
This is a podcast interview with an expert at the Goldsmiths Centre.
We will be visiting other work environments in the coming months to see how Swindens vices are used in real world situations.