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Silver Jewellery Making is both Janet Richardson's and Machi de Waard's first book with Search Press. We caught up with Janet and Machi to find out a bit more about their new book, their inspiration, and their Search Press journey!

How are you both?

Machi – Keeping busy! I'm making lots of new designs and of course trying to get the word out about the book.

Janet – I’m doing well considering the situation we are all dealing with. I’ve been able to exercise more regularly and finally get to grips a bit more with technology. Machi helped me with both and she set me a goal to run 100 miles in five weeks. Without Machi realizing it, it was just right to push me to do this as it’s an attainable target which I’ve just carried on with. We’ve been quite a team over this time with writing and editing the book and keeping each other on track by setting goals.

For those that don’t know you, tell us a bit about yourselves – How did you both meet?

Machi – I've made jewellery since I was young with beads and started making silver jewellery around 2003. That opened up many more possibilities because I could make all the parts of a piece, rather than using a lot of store-bought components. I met Janet when I started taking private lessons with her – which was amazing because she knows so much. Over the years, Janet has been a guiding force for me and has helped me gain experience in many areas of the jewellery world. Janet even helped me become an official British citizen (dual nationality with the Netherlands!) last year in March 2020.

Machi and Janet at the citizenship ceremony

Janet – Machi used to come to me for lessons, she was really keen to learn and start her own business. It became clear to me after a while that we were helping each other. At that point I said let’s stop having lessons and call it networking. We’ve been helping each other ever since and it has been such a bonus for me not to work in isolation.

How did Search Press discover you both? What was the process like of writing the book?

Machi – Actually Search Press approached a jeweller friend of ours first at a craft fair and she wasn't interested but knew that we had been talking about doing a book. She then gave us contact details for Search Press and Janet and I wrote a book proposal. After that, we had a few meetings with Beth and Katie at Search Press to work out the outline of the book. Janet and I worked together on every single sentence of this book!!! We are mostly impressed we're still friends – it was quite an intense process. At first we did everything sitting next to each other, but of course with the pandemic we had to move to Facetime! Our phones ran out of battery quite a few times!! We worked really hard to make the book full of useful tips and try to be as close to being with us in the classroom as possible.

Janet – It was Machi’s idea to write a book and she came up with the idea that the course of projects I teach in class, building on your techniques as you progress through them, are far as we are aware is not available in other books.  It was not until Search Press made it a reality that we got on with it.  We heard Search Press was looking for a book of this sort through another jeweller friend so we approached them with our idea and the rest is history, as they say.

What are your favourite projects from the book?

Machi – I really love the first project, two simple rings, because it shows you can make pieces that look good and are immediately wearable when you start making jewellery! I also love the brooch project because I think it really stretches your skills and your design horizons when you make your own findings.

Janet – I really like the brooch project as it teaches the technique I use often with carving. I also enjoy the last project where you learn to fuse scrap silver and shows you the possibilities open to you. It is not often things can be spontaneous in jewellery making but this technique can be while using your scrap up too, double bonus.

   

Where does your inspiration come from? 

Machi – I like the perfection and simplicity of a circle. A circle is a minimal shape – it encloses the maximum amount of space with the minimum circumference – which makes it a very neat, efficient shape with infinite possibilities that I like to explore. Often in my designs, a gold detail provides a sense of tension or playfulness by balancing on the curve or peeking out from behind the silver. My jewellery reflects a modern aesthetic with clean lines. All my pieces are handmade by me using traditional metalworking techniques with sterling silver, argentium silver and/or 18ct yellow gold. In terms of artists and styles I admire, I like a lot of early modern art and particularly sculpture.

  

Janet – My inspiration comes from everywhere. I set myself a problem, worry away at it, can get nowhere then maybe when I’m at the shops or out running I see something that clicks in and  the solution comes without me really thinking about it. The brain carries on trying to solve something without you even knowing; it is then you see something that triggers the solution. The problem I am setting myself at the moment is using the beauty of silver. The old Georg Jensen designs show this beautifully.  The designs flow and the beauty and properties of silver are enhanced. I’m working on that quality, also incorporating carving, at the moment.

Do you have any tips for people who are starting off in their silver jewellery making journeys?

Machi – Well, depending on your learning style, I would recommend either group classes or private lessons. Since I teach private lessons, I noticed that some people prefer to have a private lesson to either give them confidence or make sure they like the process and then move on to group lessons, or it's the other way around and I get people who want to work on particular skills after (or while) they are taking group classes. Although a class is best, there are books (like ours, I hope!) that are essential guides for referencing, learning new skills and troubleshooting. Of course there are quite a few online resources as well, including videos and websites and social media with a constant stream of useful hints and tips.

Janet – You need to learn the technical skills used to make jewellery. Joining a class that has a structure to teach you the techniques is good, your designs will follow. This is what our book does. It is designed so you follow a series of projects each teaching you different techniques and building on the one before with great pictures and in depth understand of these techniques that you can keep coming back to. It then shows you how to move forwards designing your own pieces. It is like a friend you keep coming back to for reassurance and understanding as you keep making jewellery. The deeper understanding of the techniques will help you solve problems yourself when things go wrong and you will know how to put them right.

What are you both working on at the moment?

Machi – I'm mostly making new jewellery designs. I've got grand plans for new earrings, pendants and especially modern lockets. I was going to say “watch this space” but it's probably more useful to watch my website or Instagram (www.machidewaard.co.uk or @machi_jewellery).

Janet – I’m using this time to play and experiment with no thought to outcomes and see where this takes me. I’m also carving more and want to get better at carving wax. I’m so used to holding solid metal that working with wax still seems unfamiliar to me.

     

Do you have any exciting plans for 2021?

Machi – Getting a vaccine! Ha. Well, it's all rather unpredictable at the moment, so I'm trying to focus on what makes me happiest, which is designing and making jewellery. I'm also trying to put more of my jewellery available on Not on the High Street, since people can't visit their favourite galleries or craft fairs at the moment.

Janet – I love making jewellery the joy of making a piece you are pleased with is wonderful so that is always in my plan. We own a narrow boat so we are planning some longer trips on that if regulations allow. 

   

But I usually have lots of exciting plans on the go so after the above here’s what’s on my list and if I manage any I’ll be delighted:

  • Horse riding in Windsor Great Park
  • Watching a starling murmuration
  • Learning guitar
  • Understanding more about the brain
  • Building muscle and tone
  • More time with the family
  • Do more miles on my motorbike when the weather gets better
  • Long walks
  • And of course book signings!





Silver Jewellery Making is available from Search Press, RRP £17.99.

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