Silver Panic policy announcement
Following an important statement issued 30/10/2018 by the WWF, a donation of £2 will go to the World Wildlife Fund for each one of our animal pendants sold. A receipt of the amounts sent to the fund will be published on this page at regular intervals.
Scroll down to go back in time
Silverpanic has closed the store for a while as I am considering some changes and additions . It will reopen soon . I will keep the blog going in the meantime, so please bookmark this page if you wish to follow it.
13/2/2019 THE KRAYS
Those who read this blog should count themselves lucky because this is the first time that I have ever told this story to anyone other than my two sons. I am not sure if they believe me but they have the inside knowledge of knowing me for a lifetime so they do know it’s true.
I have lived in the East End of London all my life and and never once came across the Krays. Although I was at school in Bethnal Green and had heard a few stories about them, I was living in Stoke Newington just around the corner at the time they murdered Jack “The hat” Mcvitie . but never knew anything about it until it was in the papers. However there was one time that our paths very nearly crossed. I mentioned below that in my past life I was a member of the Young Socialists. It must have been around 1967 or 68 just before I left . I was not happy with the internal bullying, abuse, violence and also the sectarian politics of the group . I was still at school and belonging to it, took up a lot of my time. I used to sell the paper outside factory gates at 6 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the morning and then go on to school . It probably affected my studies. although I make no claims to have been an academic. I was at a grammar school so it needed a higher level of application to my homework and lessons . I did not achieve very good results in my exams . I left school at around the same time I left the Young Socialists and its parent organisation the SLL . Believe me it took a lot of courage to make that break because all my friends were of that group. I knew that once I broke with them, not one of my “friends” would speak to me again. I guess I have always been my own person.
So back to the Krays. I was a”Keep Left” organiser for the Tottenham branch and I was given a piece of paper by the branch secretary. It was one of those little cut out forms that need to be filled in if you require more information about joining. She said to me “Paul, we recieived this in the post. It is a funny one and suspect there is something false about it because we have had a couple previously sent in from the same address but with different names. Could you go round and investigate and see what they want so we can clear it up.” This is what I did . I went round to speak to those who wrote in and would talk to them about our policies and activities etc. We had a lot going on , sports , football teams, discos, live music, dances. Anything that attracted young people .
I walked around to the address . It was not far from where I then lived in Cazenove road . I remember it was after school in the evening . It was already dark , The address was Cedra Court a block of flats at the Clapton end of Cazenove. The flat was situated right at the end of the row. I looked at the door and could see some glass panels were broken and others were cracked and a wooden board was blocking the window from the inside. I immediately thought that the flat was now vacant an not occupied and looked inside the kitchen window but could see some utensils still there . So I thought I would give it a try and knocked loudly a few times . Nobody answered . I was about to go when the next door neighbour came out. It was a man and he was abrupt. He said “What do you want. Why are you knocking at that door at this time?”. I did not say precisely why but I said I was asked to call by an organisation as someone was making some enquiries from this address. He replied in a sharp tone. “Do you know who lives there ? Its the Krays . If they see someone like you knocking at their door and you go inside you wont get out again.” Tell whoever sent you never to send you round here again . I was a bit taken aback. When he said this it dawned on me there were emerging stories of a trial in the press and perhaps they were already being held by the police. I went away. When I next saw the secretary I told her who it was and that the Krays lived there and what the neighbour had said . She replied ” Oh we didnt have any idea !, You had better not go round again.
I have always wondered what was going on and why someone had sent in these persistent enquiries from that address. Could it been one of the Krays or someone else. What did gangsters want with this Young Socialist group ? Someone from that address had obviously wanted to talk to us from there. I could never really answer that but I think it a possibility that at that time the police were closing in on them. They were getting desperate and knew it was their end and faced long term jail. They were smart enough to know that perhaps their only defence was the class issue. “The ruling class was out to get us and put us away for good”. They were also smart enough to know the only paper likely to take up their cause was the YS parent orgaisation SLL Newsline or Workers press. I can’t recall exactly what the paper was called because they changed the name around that time. My theory is more of a probability than a possibility. They were locked up and desperate. Perhaps if they had given their right name their personal history might have changed and the paper would have taken up their defence but I may not have been around to see it: 🙂
This is Whisky he looks sweet enough but I am currently involved in a bitter conflict with him over ownership of the chair that I sit on to access my computer. It is by far the most comfortable chair in the house with a high back that reclines and is a pleasure to relax late evening, and drift into a twighlight zone of sweet dreams . It was handmade by a local craftsman over twenty years ago but still looks like new and shows not a hint of wear. That is quality ! Whisky is no fool and knows it . In the evening hours I come to take my rightful place but now find him curled up sleeping . in the place that everybody in the house knows is mine! He has his place with a comfortable blanket to keep him warm on the cold winter nights . I brush it down daily but he has decided, as cats do , to make his move . It’s a battle . I can’t say I am winning because you are dealing with ruthless single minded determination beyond the realms of human comprehension. I close the door of the room but find he has already hidden himself in place that I havent thought of looking and once I have gone he is on the seat. I have been previously advised by my brother in law in two words to “shoot him” . He is a blunt Yorkshireman and is wont to give curt advice when asked. I know he doesnt mean it . Its Yorkshire humour 🙂 .
I had hoped to avoid that word above ,but for me it is impossible. We sometimes visit Bruges in Belgium to take part in the Tzand market & festival which occurs three times a year . We stumbled across this huge market on a days visit to Bruges in the 1980’s and decided that we would like to take part in it . Although we had to drive from London it was an exciting adventure to sell directly in the heart of Europe . Perhaps it is the language and cultural differences that makes it so. I can’t put my finger on it, but I love the experience of selling and listening to the stories of people who are so similar, yet so different . Actually I must confess the possible reason why . I was a schoolboy in the 60’s and I was then a member of the Young Socialists. They sent a contingent to take part in an international march in Liege in Belgium It was my first visit abroad . I sold papers on the march. I remember all the different youth groups from various countries , some in uniform.and well organised .There was a tremendous interest and reaction from the residents of Liege which was a very industrial place . it was a special event . People were stopping me and asking questions which I tried my best to explain . It was personally overwhelming for a 15 year old , My pockets were full to the brim with the money collected from selling the English papers , we had sold out competely. I was weighted down with coins and can recall labouring and sweating on a hot day with my pockets filled to the brim with the the pre Euro Franc, whilst walking along the cobbled streets. Afterwards we went to a meeting to hear some well known speakers on Europe . The main speaker was Ernest Mandel. It was followed by an organised lunch and disco with a live band . I remember , well how could I forget ? seeing girls from all different nations and poitical youth groups at the dance . Franciose Hardy, was an English schoolboy’s fantasy at around that time , not that they were all like Francoise Hardy but they all seemed very glamorous and sophisticated in a certain radical activist 60’s style . Perhaps a bit too sophisticated for a 15 year old English schoolboy, who was too shy to say a word anyway.
The march had to do with the foundation of EEC and the role of a socialist democracy in Europe. it was about seven years before the UK was even considering joining the “six” as it was then . I have googled to try and find something mentioned of this event which took place around 1966/7 but could not find anything. Now years later after joining the EEC we are at the point of “leaving Europe” . We have turned a full circle .
British people paid a high price to liberate Europe from Nazi rule . In1944 my father marched in a military parade of British troops in Brussels of to celebrate the liberation in front of hundreds of thousands of Belgians . You can see a photo of him if you scroll down. There were incredible scenes of celebration. Could we really just walk away from our history ? Has the state of politicaI debate dropped to a level that experienced politicians are incapable of arguing their case and winning over people? I know that from my own experience that Europeans respect and listen to British opinion. The missing choice did not include to stay and put Britain’s case whatever the circumstance . To have fought a war within living memory, which brought death and destruction to our own shores shows just how important Europe is to the UK .
When we go to the Bruges market we have to learn the local rules and regulations of having to trade at the market as they are not printed in English. So either Flemish or French is a requirement . Although some Belgians prefer to speak in English rather than French but that is another matter. Last August my sister in law and her boyfriend, who live in Brussels, came down to help us so we had a really good time . Scroll down and you will see a brief account and some photos of last years visit. We first visited back in the 1980’s when the market began in the Brugges Tzand . I loved it even more then, as there was a really international atmosphere with collectors and vistitors from all over Europe and even further afield . The Belgians are great collectors of all sort of weird and wonderful things and they take pleasure in telling you about it . We had not been for a while but the memory of the really interesting conversations with the visitors to our stall . We set up in the early hours and the professional traders turn up before sunrise with their torches. Like the early birds they search for something in the dark that interests them . We found it was still the same, although the market had moved from the square to the nearby park. Last year I was in conversation with a jewellery teacher from Brussels. She told me about her classes and what she makes and designs . We spent a while talking and she bought one of my silver hedgehogs . She was a master jeweller and designer and her beautiful work quite frankly, puts me to shame .
We had so many conversations we even met the father on one of the UK Brexit negotiators who was there visiting his son, and we talked for a long time about what we think will happen.
Now with Brexit from Europe on March 29th I just dont know what will be the outcome for this years market . Will we allowed to take part ? I just dont know yet. It’s a sad situation .
SAVE THE WHITECHAPEL BELL FOUNDRY UPDATE
I had the following reply from Tower Hamlets Council this morning
“Thank you for your recent letter/email commenting on the above proposed application. We
will consider your views before we make a decision. If the application is to be decided by
one of our Development Committees, we will let you know by letter*. We will inform you, by
letter*, of the final decision, but please note that this can take a few months with some
So they are taking notice . Let us hope against hope that the outcome is favourable .
I today sent the following email to Tower Hamlets Council
I understand the council is considering an application to change the use of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry to one of a Boutique hotel. As a life long East London resident I would like you to consider my objections to the change of use.
I am a silversmith jeweller/ designer that practices lost wax casting basically a similar process as used to manufacture the bells . It is an art and skill that is still widely used in manufacturing metal objects of all varieties All you have to do is watch a few editions of the TV program “How its Made” to see variations of how lost wax casting and open pour casting is still widely used in industry . The manufacture of bells may seem obscure and perhaps obsolete but there are still many churches with bells in use . The constant heavy contact of metal against metal causes wear and tear on brass and the replacement and repair of the bells is an ongoing issue so bells always will need replacing . I think there is no doubt that there is still a very a strong market for the manufacture of bells not only in the UK but also exporting them worldwide.
There are very few bell foundries anywhere , even in Europe its a rarity ! Tower Hamlets should take great pride that such an historic business and trade which requires a high level of artisan skills ,still exists in the borough . I believe that there is huge unexplored potential for this foundry to develop into a historic cornerstone feature of the borough, if it is properly marketed . To simply replace it with a boutique hotel with a passing reference to its former existence would be a mistake of catastrophic proportions for the council to make . If visitors come to London the foundry would be a place they would want to visit specially for those who are interested in arts and crafts, history and churches. Another site can surely be found for a hotel that wants to trade off the iconic image of the Bell Foundry . I hope The council will not allow the foundry to disappear and just become a gimmick for slick businessman . I hope Tower Hamlets will have the vision and courage to save the foundry and develop it as a historic project . I will add that with Brexit around the corner the council has a duty to expand the greatly shrinking scope and range of manufacturing and exporting of goods in the borough . It also has the duty to provide the opportunity of meaningful long term jobs and learning crafts and skills to the residents of Tower Hamlets . Now is the time to look with vision and courage .
Save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and you will not regret it .!
Very briefly I am feeling better and working on mastering a new tool. It takes some practice .
I am down with a bad chill and will be back working in a few days . Probably trying to work in a very cold workshop brought in on . Hopefully the cold spell would have passed in more ways than one ! I have decided to continue with the blog, as it is. That means no password will be needed to access this page . We cant let social media rule our lives . I enjoy writing and I will have some new jewellery to display . It takes time and is not done overight ,so the new photos will be uploaded to the shop and blog during February 2019
A RANDOM EVENT ON A SPECIAL DAY
It was my wife’s birthday on Wednesday . She wanted to see a special performance of Notre Dame de Paris at the London Coliseum in St Martins Lane . I bought tickets for us both. It’s a French company and the show was in French . French is Nicky’s mother tongue it was ok for her but she was concerned that I would not be able to follow it all and enjoy it. I have read Victor Hugo’s book , the show was loosely based on the story .
Briefly it was a tale of 18c Paris , passion and poverty .
I only noticed the subtitles above the stage about 30 minutes into the performance. When I quietly leaned over and told her that I just noticed the translation screen , she turned her head to give me a look of utter derision . I was using opera glasses, so my view was restricted but according to her I am blissfully unaware of anything that happens 🙂
We are not great theatre goers or even lovers of opera but this was only available to see in London for a week. It was something special. I certainly was able to follow every moment even with my schoolboy French and also the belated help of the subtitles . The dancing, singing and acrobatics were truly sensational. As the company are on tour , you may have a chance to see this show wherever you are. I would recommend it as a “must see “ to anyone.
Afterwards we had to meet our 3 children for a meal, so we went to pub for a drink as a stopgap between having to meet them at a restaurant. We found a nice pub in St Martins Lane . It was also a special occasion as we were to meet the girlfriends of our two sons for the first time. To tell you the truth we were a bit shocked at the pub’s prices , £10 for a G& T and one half of lager. But a birthday is a birthday!
We sat down at an empty table to enjoy our drink .No surprises there were empty tables at those prices! After a few minutes a man and woman came in . The woman went to the bar and the man looked around for a table . He saw us and came over and asked us if we minded if they sat down . I could see the man was a gifted talker . Very at ease , which makes you feel the same way when you speak to strangers for the first time. His lady companion came over with their drinks and sat down. He talked to us about this and that . They were both friendly and charming. I asked him if he was from London , he said he was. Apparently he was an artist as was his companion and they were both on the way to her studio for her to paint his portrait. Then my wife said to him where about? He said Tooting . My wife gasped . It’s her home patch where her family still live , although we now live in East London and have done so for many years. So knowing Tooting quite well I said “ Do you know a little shop near the station that does doors” . We went there to get a door for Nicky’s mother last year. He immediately replied “ Ah yes Andrew , I do some work for him sometimes”.
My Wife and I got to know Andrew quite well last year, in the course of him doing the door job for my late mother in law . Andrew himself is a gifted conversationist , well versed in the arts, he is in his seventies , as is his wife who still works as a gilder. She does the most extraordinary work and travels all over the world restoring works of art. Andrew showed me some photos of the beautiful work that his wife did for an Italian film producer in Venice .The face on the hand carved table was posed for by a real 17th century native American Indian. It took Andrew’s wife months if not years of working in Venice to complete it. Once or twice we had to phone him and we found him there . I was particularly interested in the table as some years ago I took a course in frame gilding myself at the Working Mens College in Camden . I found it very absorbing but a bit too messy for me to take up, having to boil the smelly pots of rabbit glue and Jesso . The stranger at the table, that we had just met , knew all about Andrew’s wife and told us about her work before I had the chance to tell him.
Now I ask you what are the chances of this random meeting happening on our one special day out ? The population is around 10 million so it must be 10 million to one on any day but on the one special day? I think you can treble the odds. So It was really a special day that we will not forget ! Above is a picture of the table base with the face of the real life 17thc native American Indian. I beleive he was a tribal chief and that Andrew said the table base originally belonged to Visconti . When he died it was bought from his estate by a Venetian art lover and he left it until it had badly deteriorated before deciding to have it regilded. I think it is an incredible hand carving and the face carved on it makes it a truly historic and unique work of art.
Yesterday I went to a an introduction tutorial at the Goldsmiths Center in Clerkenwell regarding the printing of Jewellery . Shown here is a rather poor example of what can be printed in plastic. Unfortunately the ring was rather fragile and got damaged in transit on the way home but you can see the idea of what can be done in producing very intricate designs that would take ages by hand wax modelling . The tutor was brilliant and he had a wealth of experience and knowledge for a young man. I am very impressed with this technology. You may think it is easy to grasp and can just print out what you like on the machine . Unfortunately that is not the case . It is just as complex as hand made jewellery. That is all I will say for the moment but I will come back to this subject later . There are a lot of issues to discuss .
Another very cold day in London. Even with the heater at full blast my fingers are just too numb to work . It’s a bit frustrating but far better to do some reading up . I have just received my copy of this newly published book Polishing and Finishing for Jewellers and Goldsmiths by Stephen Goldsmith and I have opened it . I read the safety warning on page 8, never to wear latex gloves whilst polishing . Ufortunately it came a bit too late for me , I did once, a few years ago and the ovelapping loose bits at the end my fingers got caught up in the spindle. I know I am attached to my tools but this was going a bit too far. It happened in a flash . I could say it nearly polished me off, with the buffing wheel whirring at full speed. I was trapped and drawn into a tight embrace with the polisher body . It could have been quite embarrassing had my wife walked in . The smell of burning rubber and my cries of anguish could have also been mistaken for some kind of compromising erotic adventure between a worker and his tools. Fortunately my one free hand was able to eventually reach between my body trapped up against the machine and the switch and turn it off and thats how it ended . Luckily no serious injury, except one shredded latex glove. Let this be a warning to those who think wearing a glove will protect their hand whilst polishing . Indeed it is very dangerous.
A BETRAYAL OF PRINCIPLE ?
Today I just tried to get rid of some of the flashing (the excess residue from the cast) that was on the Storks. It was tricky as the storks are tiny, just 5mm, and the gaps are too small for my files to get in the space. I think i did as best as I could . Please read my description in the shop . Just a bit of fun, really but how true it is that animals and wildlife enter into our world even as symbols and we show such small gratitude and awareness of them being there and allowing them to share this world with us.
As for the betrayal of principle mentioned in the header . Next week at the Goldsmiths Center in Central London I have booked a place at an introductory course for 3D printing. As you know this website is dedicated to hand made jewellery . I have explained my commitment to it and it will continue but I would like to explore the possibilities of enhancing the design and creativity of the jewellery that I make. I have said that we should not regard machines as our enemy. 3d printing in itself is complex and takes time to master as does any skill . I am interested in the possibility of combining both skills to see what can be achieved.
I shall be making some more rings and pendants with stones in the next few weeks to see their effect and would very much appreciate your comments . One recalls the moment Bob Dylan went electric . I hope I don’t get the same reception 🙂 .
14/1/2019 BACK TO WORK
It’s not easy after a long break 🙂 .
I know many makers say “We only make handmade jewellery” and they are telling you the truth. However there are differing opinions as to what constitutes “Handmade”. The “purists” say that if any machine is involved in the creation of the piece, apart from hand tools, then it is not handmade. Fortunately the “purists” are quite rare nowadays because otherwise the jewellery would take too long to make and if you make it to sell , a business would not be comercially viable. If you look at the picture of my workshop you will see I do use machinery of all sorts. The fact is, that handmade jewellery is usually made of pre constructed parts such as sheet and wire that are directly purchased from a specialist supplier . Other bits and pieces such as tube are also purchased and the jewellery is made up and soldered together by the jeweller.
When I say handmade, I mean that I make up the building blocks such as rolling the sheet, and hand drawing the wire and tube by myself . I do not buy it from the supplier Everything is made from the grain you see in my hand in the above picture. Its easy enough to go and buy it already made up from the suppliers . I try to make everything from as near the basic state as possible . Its just my own preference. some people may say it’s extreme and a waste of time. For me its question of enjoyment in seeing the metal in a liquid state and then drawing or rolling it into as near a perfect piece of wire or sheet as you can get. Of course it is an extra skill and craftwork that goes into making the piece and it does take that bit longer to make. Also being a lone worker I have had to learn and adapt techniques for one pair of hands that usually take two pairs One advantage is, by making it yourself you can save the time it takes to either go out to the shop to buy it or wait for it to arrive in the post.
I am just saying there are degrees of “handmade”. I am certainly not claiming my jewellery is any better than someone who buys the parts ready made. In fact, sometimes you do see minute flaws in handmade silver sheet resulting from tiny bubbles under the surface which come to the fore when the item is finally polished and sanded, that can be noticed in the finished article under the magnifier. Whereas machine or production line made sheet and wire, is usually flawless and uniform throughout. This can be a bugbear in the photography of the jewellery. The finished and polished article looks good to the eye but when magnified by the camera lens sometimes the surface appears with a small pit or two. It is the makers decision either to leave it as it is or continue working on it with the understanding that as another surface is removed by polishing or filing another pit may suddenly appear
If you are a lover of handmade jewellery then it will be the flaws and originality of the piece as well a the hand work as I described that makes you want to wear it ,as opposed to wearing a machine made item.
Machines are not the enemy of man ,then again they are not our arbiters of taste . Conformity is the value of the machine . Non conformity is the value of the human .
6/1/2019 SOME INFORMATION
I do this work all by myself in my workshop, design, silversmithing etc . I also build this site in WordPress on my own . Both the handcraft work and IT work takes time and requires some skill and learning . At the moment, I am a one man band
5/1/2019 JOG CONTINUES
Now is a quiiet time so I have been out running for 3 days continiously. As I mentioned previously I had a very bad problem with sciatica which left me unable to walk let alone run . I was told by my doctor to give up jogging which I did for nearly two years. Fool that I am I wanted to give it another try . When you stop vigorous excercise for a long period its almost impossible to get back to the level of fitness you once were. Specially if you are (a bit ) over 50 . There is no doubt about that. I have found out three things. Firstly my heart starts to feel stress if I go over a very slow pace. Secondly my back shows signs of stiffness and my left leg, where the sciatica previously occured shows a slight reccurance of the early symptoms. The third thing is that you have to die of something eventually 🙂 . I have been a runner ,footballer, cricketer, weightlifter, boxer, gym goer at different stages of my life so unless I am completely unable to do anything I will continue with what I can physically do. I think I need to keep to a timetable of jogging every other day just to see if the sciatica symptoms are kept at bay . I also need to keep to a very slow pace for a while and see if I can eventually build up a bit of speed. I will keep to weights and rowing machine for the days that I do not jog.
Please take a look at my shop where you will see some of the incredible silver runner pendants which I designed and made by myself. They are totally unique you will not find them anywhere else and they are for sale only in my silverpanic store. The quanity available are as stated. Each piece takes me time to make.
Also please do scroll down and read the rest of my blog, it’s varied and I hope, interesting.
5/1/2019 BLOG CONTINUES!
I have changed my mind about closing the blog as I have changes planned for Silverpanic and there will be some exiting new jewellery lines and original designs that you havent seen before that will be coming this spring. So please be patient 🙂
I would also very much appreciate your continued support in this quiet period by following silverpanic on the above linked accounts, Twitter and Instagram. I do not “buy”followers or likes . I started this website in July 2018 so my followers may not be huge in number but they are not purchased . All my followers are genuine . The likes are from their own free will. I think buying likes and followers is a deception . I try to do everything in an honest and straight forward way so I value all my followers , to the extent that I will be offering them a special discount on purchases in the coming spring. Keep on following silverpanic and visiting this site for a statement of the date when the special offers and discounts will begin.
I value my real friends and I hope they place that same value in my friendship. That is very important to me. likewise I value those who follow me. Part of that value is knowing that your followers are aware of the work and effort that you put into what you do and create. This is a not a website that has come about by copying others or following trends , cutting corners or ripping off. One genuine follower to me is worth one thousand bought fake followers.
Its just a blog on this page and it doesnt cost anything . Your info will not be shown unless you want it to be ! Nobody will contact you for any sales or anything else. The blog is here for you to give your thoughts and opinions so as we can have some fun and discussion and also make the site more interesting in the process. This site covers many issues, serious and not so serious. It includes a shop but its purpose not purely business as you can see. I like a bit of humour ( if its good) and the friendship that can be achieved from open discussion. So in the stone cold sober words of Delia Smith “Come on lets be havin you !” 🙂
HAPPY NEW YEAR ! 1/1/2019
They are trying to remove the hand and brain
And replace it with a machine for gain
A hand, a brain, there is no need
For those who worship corporate greed
My workshop new years eve 2018. Right now cold, forlorn & needs a tidy but I am still proud to show it in all its carefree , bustling beauty.
The year is almost at it’s end. Now its a quiet time for me . It’s very cold in my workshop and you have to balance the cost of burning gas and electric and buying materials against sales. For me it isn’t worth it so I take a break . However I don’t stop completly and its a chance to make my blog a bit more interesting and varied. It gives me an opportunity to widen my scope and talk about other issues that interest me as well as introducing some exiting new designs . Its a quiet period in my workshop but not in the workshop of my mind. This maybe a unique blog, one of its kind . I said in my introduction on twitter ” Makes by hand and designs with thought” I hope to live up to this concept which dates back to the original idea of the 19 century Arts and Crafts movement championed by William Morris . The concept although modified by myself , was adopted into clause 4 of the 1918 constitution of the Labour Party .
Its not a political statement but an expansion of an idea that has not yet achieved full friution. We, by that I mean all of us as human beings, are reaching the crossroads in which we have to choose a path to follow. Should that path result in our own extinction and replacement by the machine? Or should we take the path where the machine remains our servant . I know the road that I want to take . Do you?
JAPAN’S WITHDRAWAL FROM THE IWC
You may have seen on my about page that I once worked for a Japanese company and also worked alongside Japanese colleagues whom I got to know and respect. I found them kind and decent employers and got along with my co workers very well.
I would just like to state that I think it is a mistake to have withdrawn from this agreement that does protect whales to some extent . I hope that they will reconsider and rejoin the IWC. Please make your feelings known to the Japanese people by contacting the Japanese embassy. Whale populations are being depleted .
I shall be making some anti- whaling pieces to remind people how lucky we are to have these wonderful creatures with us on this Earth.
Dont eat whale meat there is enough meat already available.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO THOSE WHO CELEBRATE IT . TO THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE A GOOD TIME OVER THE HOLIDAY.
FOOTBALL , PASSION & BATTLE OF THE BULGE
Well OK Yes this is a site about jewellery because as I explained in my “About” page, making things and metal handcrafts has become a passion in life that I have had for more or less 35 years . This is my blog and as you may a have gathered I do things in my own way . My purpose is to show you that Jewellery is not always about glitter or illusion. It can be a down to earth statement. The avertising media has turned it into sparkly mass produced glitter , simply a piece of decoration with no vision or memory.
I do have another passion for more years than I care to remember and that is The Wolves.
I have to explain this because some of you may have seen my Black and Gold Sterling Silver ring and wonder why a born and bred Londoner loves Wolverhampton Wanderers . It goes back a long way and its quite amusing. My dad served 6 years both in the Dortsetshires and Royal Signals during WW2 and he told me they had PTI ( Physical Training Instructor) who was a West Brom player, I can’t remember his name but all the lads took exception to his harsh fitness regime and just to get back at him they all became Wolves supporters. To those readers who are unaware of the rivalry between the two clubs, its safe to say they are not the best of pals. I can’t remember my dad as a fanatical fan of any team but this interest must have stuck with him after the war ,because as a child whenever the Wolves came to play in London he would always take me to see the game. During the 50’s Wolves had an individual style of play that attracted a full house wherever they went. Their football was fast direct and exiting. That’s how I became a Wolves supporter and now my two sons have followed me down this path and also love the Wolves. We will be at Fulham on Boxing day , I was fortunate enough to get some tickets.
Here is the only photo I have of my father in the Ardennes in December 1944 with his signals unit. He is in the front row second from the left. It was taken just before the Battle of the Bulge where Hitler amassed his tanks in a last ditch attempt to break through the Allied lines in the Ardennes forrest. It was a place that they last expected that an attack by tanks would occur. it so happens that today is the 74th anniversary of the day it began. It was bitterly cold and the soldiers had to dig in the frozen ground and sleep in the trenches . Whenever I have to do work in my workshop and its cold and I have to put on the heater, I think what it would have been like to sleep in a dark hole in the ground in a frozen forest. But my excuse is you can’t do jewellery work with numb fingers 😉
Its just an old photo, but for me it says a lot about the confidence and solidarity of the entire generation that were involved in a life and death struggle.
Anyway If someone could have told these highly trained British Soldiers that 74 years on they would be featuring in a jewellery blog , you would have heard some loud laughter and perhaps seen some puzzled expressions.
It’s a funny old world !
Birthdays , Jogging & Pendants
It’s my birthday! It happens to us all coming into the world. I did this once an long time ago I am not saying when because I think it reveals that bit too much for your own good after you get to certain age . I usually celebrate my birthday with a jog but today I was very apprehensive if I should, because I have had a problem with my back and I have had to stop it . I used to jog daily, so I thought I would give it a try to see if it was still possible . I went very slowly and completed the usual run that I used to do. I feel ok all round, so it has given me the impetus to try and start again. In the hope of avoiding the recurrance of my back problem I aim to run perhaps two or three times a week. No more. I will see how it goes and let you know.
I was a small child when Dr Roger Banister was the first human being to officially break the record for running a mile in four minutes. It was an event that somehow remained in my memory despite my pre school age . It certainly acheived a lot of publicity at the time . I remember seeing on the old black and white Pathe newsreels, the two runners , exhausted, closely crossing the finishing line. It was scene that was shown time and time again in all the media.
I made the silver pendants a few months ago and then researched for a name for it. As soon as I saw the photos it was like viewing the event through my young eyes all over again. Yes It could well be a commemeration of this historic four minute mile event. On the other hand it could be yourself in a race in some other place or time. Its entirely up to you.
However it is beautiful regardless of how it is viewed.
Here are the runner pendants that are available
Here I am pounding the streets again ! I never thought I could do it. MInd you I do feel a bit of stress around the old ticker but I am hoping it will clear up with a bit more running
Don’t take a book by its cover
During my absence from this blog and also my workshop I picked up an old book. I believe it is no longer in print. The title is “Jewellery Manufacture and Repair “ by Charles Jarvis. It was one of the best-selling jewellery tuition books ever published and when I was at college our tutor recommended as an essential purchase for all the students in the class. The reason becomes apparent when you open the first pages of the book as it goes into great detail for the student jeweller. In those days there was no YouTube to go to for reference so a book like this was of particular importance as was clear that Mr Jarvis had put all the experience of his years of working as a top manufacturer/ jeweller in the West End of London into writing it.
However my reason for mentioning the book in this blog is not just because of the book but the small biography that is written inside the cover. Charles Jarvis started out from school as an apprentice in the jewellery trade but like myself, his life had taken him on a long and winding road. It states he left the trade to become a policeman and then on the outbreak of war became an RAF pilot. After the war he returned to the jewellery trade as a bench jeweller and worked his way up to be a managing director of a jewellery business. He then became a writer by writing this book. Every one of these trades requires a high degree of dedication and professionalism and I think it is quite exptional for one person to fit all this in one lifetime.
Like a jewel a person can also be multi-facetted.
My apologies to those of you who follow my blog. I have been unable to update it for the last few days due to a family bereavement. I hope to be back here as soon as I can. Thank you for your patience
It is getting very cold. Even with the heater on in my workshop today my fingers were numb so I wasn’t going to spend a long time fumbling with freezing hands. Nevertheless I have something new in the pipeline. Its a surprise! and I promise it will be at a very low price. So come back tomorrow and you will see. If its not up here tomorrow it will be because “snow has cancelled play”.
Sterling Silver Horses Brooch
My apologies to anyone who has been waiting for the update on this brooch. My wife is away caring for her very sick mother and I have had to deal with some things at home that take up a lot of time. It is a sad time for our family I hope you understand. However we still have to continue with the things we usually do even if its just to keep us occupied. So here are the details.
The brooch is 925 sterling silver including the pin and clasp. I have not yet had it hallmarked by Goldsmiths Hall although I will take it down there to be assayed and hallmarked with my own makers mark next week. It weighs 10.75 gms. Its length is 28mm from nose to ear and height from nose to neck is 25mm.
It is a beautiful brooch with clearly defined details and has a dappled textured back that you do not usually see nowadays. It will make a fantastic gift to the horse lovers or anyone who can appreciate the hand craft that has gone into making it. I only have made one of these but I can make them to order with a delivery period of 21 days. So if you would like one for Christmas 2018 you must order by the 25th November. Go to my shop to purchase this handmade item at the bargain price of £80. As with all our animal purchases this will include a donation of £2.00 which we will make to the World Wildlife Fund.
A good read : The Life & Times of Mr Pussy
Animals of all varieties play a large part of this blog and website. This recently published book by the Gentle Author is a moving tribute to a favourite cat. I have two in my home who are my best friends and keep me going at times when there is nobody around. This book is highly recommended to all animal lovers and those who have some empathy for any living creature. You do not even have to love animals to realise what an important part they play in our lives. It is available from the Gentle Author at http://spitalfieldslife.com/
Sterling Silver Horsehoe & Thistle
I made this from an old unmarked mould I had stored away as I was curious as to what it actually was. It turned out to be a horseshoe with thistle which is undoubtably a symbol that is supposed to bestow good luck on the wearer. But my curiosity was not satisfied with just knowing what it was. I know a horse shoe is a symbol for good luck but on further research I discovered that it was more than likely a thistle, that is meant to be depicted on the inner part of the shoe.
The horseshoe has an ancient Irish legend attached to it which recounts a blacksmith fooling the devil to wear a scalding hot horseshoe on his cloven hoof that he had just brought out of the furnace. The devil was in such agony that he promised never to go near one again.
As for the thistle, I assumed it was Scottish and further research possibly proved me right. Legend has it that in the 13th century the army of king Haaakon of Norway landed at Largs in Scotland at night in a surprise attack upon the Scots. Strict silence in the dark was of the essence for the success for the invading force but one of their number did unfortunately tread up a prickly thistle and screamed out in pain. The Scots were immediately alerted and were able to repel them. So from then on the humble thistle has been extolled as a symbol of good fortune by the Scots.
I can’t promise that this will bring you good luck but there is certainly a good story behind the symbol.
If anyone knows any more or has a diiferent version, I would very much like to know so please add your comments below.
I have one ready available for sale at £10 plus postage. I can also make them to order, for delivery within 21 days.
Our latest addition : Flying Silver Goose Brooch
Christmas is coming. A time for turkeys and geese. Would you not prefer to see this beautiful creature portrayed in its full glory as a piece of solid silver jewellery that can last forever and be kept as a family heirloom rather than a dish served as your Christmas dinner? Take a look in my shop for a beautiful Christmas present at only £45. There is the added bonus that for all animal purchases we will donate £2.00 for every one sold to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF).
925 Sterling silver mother and baby deer pendant
This has to be my smallest creation, yet it is amongst my favorites. It measures 1.5 cm W x 1.5 cm H and weighs just 1.75 gms. The reason why, is simply the symbolism. The doe is depicted with what is her whole world, her fawn. It’s a simple message of unspoken love, care, trust and pride.
Language has separated us from animals and perhaps inhibits our instincts and feelings. We tend to regard language as a gift and no doubt it is, but every gift carries a price. The price of the separation is that we will never know the intensity of the bond that exists between the mother and the baby deer or come to that any animal. For example, could you imagine for a moment, yourself as a kitten huddled in a litter amongst your brothers and sisters, being licked clean by your mothers tongue. The animal has no words to express its love, nothing comes between its gestures and its pride. Words are not present as a barrier to its feelings. The message of the mother deer and its offspring is simply that.
Yesterday the WWF issued a statement that due to the explosion of humanity and lack of space, wildlife is disappearing at a rate never previously seen in the history of life on this Earth. A tragedy is unfolding before our eyes.
925 Sterling Silver Henrietta Hedgehog
I live in London and I believe Londoners value their wildlife. We do have quite a few beautiful creatures in our back gardens and parks despite some of them having a struggle against the odds to survive. One of these beautiful creatures, the hedgehog is becoming very scarce. About ten years ago, I put out my rubbish for the next mornings weekly bin collection. Taking the black plastic bag to collection point at the front of my house, I noticed some movement in the bag. Mystified I put the bag down on the floor and looked again. The bag was definitely moving, with bumps appearing and disappearing on one side and then the other. I could hear a grunting noise comingfrom inside. What could it be? I took a scissors and cut the tie of the bag open and I jumped back as a pointed snout popped out of the opening I had made. I opened the bag and there was a fully grown hedgehog. I looked at it closely to see that it was not injured and found a pair of gardening gloves and lifted it out and returned it to the garden. What a lovely creature with a finely chiseled face! To handle its spines, even with thick gloves and see it so close up was quite special.
Hegdehogs were a then perhaps not a common sight in our garden but you did occaisonally see them scurrying about and it was a pleasure to see one. A lot of the time, sadly, you would see them lying in the road as victims of speeding cars. Now I have not seen one in my garden for years and neither have I seen any as road traffic cassualties. What has happened to them and why have they disappeared. Surely they have not all been killed by cars? Tell me in the comments below if you know anything about that.
I miss the hedgehogs and hope one day they will return to my part of London.
I have made the perfect tiny silver hedgehog to wear as a pendant or a pair of earrings as a reminder to Londoners as to what they are missing.
925 sterling twin shank silver ring size N with amazing amethyst stone
This ring has an amazing history. I had worked for days in its making and in the final stage of polishing, it dropped from my fingers. I tried to catch it with my other hand and felt it clip the tip of my little finger and heard a small tinkle as it bounced. I thought it was an easy job to find and looked on my hands and knees around the spot I thought it had fell. It was not that small an object, I have dropped tiny things and found them. A few hours of searching proved otherwise. The mystery deepened. I brought in my two sons, with eyes much sharper than mine to help in the search. Despite their much valued help, we could not find it having looked in every corner for hours. It causes some anguish if you spend days working on something then at the last moment it disappears. Every day for a month on, entering my workshop I tidied up in different places, in the hope of coming accross it.
After six weeks had passed it was almost forgotten. Yes, you must forget about such mishaps otherwise it can be very disheartening! This morning something made me put my hand inside an old jacket pocket that I keep hanging on a hook for when it gets cold. I felt something inside my hand and smiled. I immediately knew what it was without looking further. I had looked there before and patted both pockets carefully, as I know the first rule of lost objects : It can bounce anywhere. But to end up inside a closed pocket that has no space for it to go in? It did not seem possible. Before you say, ” The old fool must have put it there himself “. Well you have to take my word that I didn’t . It can be described as an amazing amethyst in its true sense. The paranormal has no place in my workshop amongst the down to earth tool environment that is part of me although I will always wonder how it got there. Look in my shop to purchase this ring at £40 there is only one UK Size N available.
Please note. This ring was made before our policy update in line with our sustainiblity policy published on October 1st 2018 to the weight in silver of the item so we are only able to include the stone in the given weight of 4.06 gms.
C. R. Ashbee 4th Memorial Lecture 2018 by the Gentle Author
Humble as it may seem in the scheme of things, the “Gentle Author” has created a daily blog of the history and everyday life of London’s East End with the utmost devotion and singleness of purpose. Being myself an East Londoner born and bred and thoroughly steeped in its history, “Spitalfields Life” is a tiny spec in the internet’s vast expanse that for me gives it all a meaning.
Last night I attended the fourth CR Ashbee Memorial Lecture given by the Gentle Author.
Here is a link that tells you about CR Ashbee’s very interesting life. Among other things he was a founding member of the Arts and Crafts movement inspired by William Morris.
As someone whose jewellery and silversmithing is derived from a passion rather than “earning a living”, I found the lecture given by The Gentle Author an inspiration and a revelation.
CR Ashbee’s life at this point was devoted to practical help for the working classes of Whitechapel whose living conditions at the time were abysmal. I know a bit about this myself as I have personal memories of visiting my grandmother’s tiny house where my father grew up In Raven Row behind the site of the old London Hospital. Despite the terrible poverty prevalent in the area at that time, the East End of London is so rich in history. I can remember my father taking me to the very spot where the “Siege of Sydney Street” took place and showing me some bullet holes in the wall that were still there fifty years on. Perhaps they were from the gun fired by Peter the Painter!
The inspiration I derived from the lecture cannot resurrect the same aims as the original founders of the Arts and Crafts movement because life has moved on, conditions have changed and so has the area. However looking at the incredible Art Nouveau designs of CR Ashbee and seeing his work on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum made me realise just how gifted and unselfish this man was in using his talents to help others.
Nowadays we have a choice. We have jewellery made by hand and we have jewellery made by machine and computer. If we choose machine made perfection as many will, then you ignore the history of the hand and the personal. If you choose handmade then perhaps you ignore the history of the machine. It comes down to an individual’s choice. I for one hope you choose the handmade and personal, because that is what I am about.
It has been quiet around here because I have been away for a week. I am back now and preparing a new page for publication regarding our sustainablity. Although we are just a small business we want people to be aware of the impact or lack of it that Silver Panic will have on the environment. So keep a look out for our statement. It should be ready in a few days and I promise you it will be interesting to read. In the meantime here is a photo to enjoy that I took whilst having a cold beer in a bar on the beach.
Following George the cat must come a beautiful dog and few come more beautiful than a Cocker Spaniel. Here we have a Sterling Silver brooch with pin, back and front.
Due to expected very bad weather in Bruges on Sunday 23rd September we will not be attending the Tzsand market. I will keep you posted as to when and where we will next be .
Making a last minute decision to cancel our trip to Bruges was a very hard decision to make. We had the cross channel ferry booked along with the hotel. Taking a look at the weather forecast for Sunday, the combination of high winds and persistent downpour decided it for us. We would have set up shop around 5am but the winds would have possibly caused us serious problems. We were situated on a grass verge in the park, which would have become very muddy with the rain. Once you are set up the rules are that you must be there for the day and you can’t bring in your vehicle to pack up and leave so it would have been a very long, wet and muddy day for us. Fortunately we did not lose out a great deal financially from cancelling as we were able to rearrange our ferry tickets for another date and the hotel accepted our cancellation without any problem.
All in all I think we made a wise decision with the information we had to go on.
Today is Wednesday 12th September . On Sunday 23rd September we shall be at the Bruges Tzand festival market where we sometimes have a stand to sell our Jewellery. For those of you that love antiques and visiting beautiful places why not take the weekend to visit medieval Bruges. For those of you that have not been there it’s a bit like Venice with it canals and old bridges. The Tzand market itself is spectacular and stretches for miles and of course if you do come please do take the trouble to find us at stand 121 in King Alberts Park near the train station. You can say that you saw a discount offer of 10% on our site and of course we would love a chat because we are not just there to sell but also to enjoy the day !
Meet Gorgeous George, my sterling silver cat brooch/pin. This vainglorious chap leaves you in no doubt as to who is in charge. He measures 32 mm long from ear to paw and is 10mm wide not including his tail. As soon as you put George on you will know what it feels like to command and to obtain just what you want out of life. In the history of cats there have been many Georges. I have one that inhabits my own house. His name is not George but Whisky. His name is not important, he is related to George. My other cat knows this and allows him to take his food when he pushes him aside. You can wear him as a pendant fitted with a bale or brooch fitted with a pin and clasp. Its up to you. Just state how you want to wear him when you order.
Customised ring for football lovers
Being a lifelong supporter of a football team that wears old gold and black, I wont say the name because nobody likes us. Just a little joke ! but when we sing “Is this a fire drill” as the opposing teams supporters slink away toward the exit five minutes from time, in a bad mood, they most certainly do not see the funny side of it. I had to add this to my creations. This one is not for sale, it’s mine to wear on special occasions. I put it here as a sample. It is in style of the 1950’s kit but then most clubs had a golden era in the 1950’s even if they never won anything. A lot of football supporters were not around when this kit, of long baggy shorts was worn. In fact many football kit styles have come and gone but I think this is classic. Its shirt may seems a little bright but that is because of the reflection. It really is a shade darker bringing it as near to the old gold that I could get.
If you should want to buy one please take a look at the football ring I have for sale in my shop : Ring product description. If you like it, just send me the colours you want and I will try to get as near their colours as I can and add the enamel to the ring. The colour is baked in a kiln, permanent and hard wearing. I made this one over two years ago and the colours are still as good as new. It is solid 925 hallmarked silver. The style can be of your choice. Round like this pictured above, oval or square. The player will remain the same but the price won’t. A permanent squad member in your club since 1954, worn on your finger. It makes more sense than the wedding ring on your left hand. Don’t ever tell your partner in life that I said this, unless you are sure that they have a good sense of humour !
The additional price for club colours will be an extra £10 making the price £40 for one sterling siver ring. I can make them in most sizes. It weighs aprox 7.50 gms. It’s a heavy ring built to last. Just email me with the UK ring size, shape and the team you support. And I will get back to you.
I made the rubber mould as shown in the picture for this lion. It’s a specialised skill in itself to make a mould. In the jewellery trade there are craftsmen that just concentrate on just mould making. Once you have the mould you can reproduce the model as and when you want. The craftsman depends on using a scalpel blade to cut the mould exactly in half. Sounds easy but the rubber is very tough and it must be cut in a special way so it fits together perfectly without moving. Using the scalpel to cut through the rubber can be dangerous work. One slip and the knife is in your finger, it happens to the most experienced, and the ultra sharp blade can leave a nasty wound. Cutting through the rubber must be a bit like surgeons work, carefully slicing in different directions to get to the model inside so as to remove it. The key is concentration and not letting your mind wander. It’s not just the danger of the knife slipping but also achieving a straight cut through the middle, all the way round. It takes time.
This was the first one I made a few years ago and I just now reproduced this beautiful wax lion from it. I shall design and make a pendant with this lion and post the finished item here soon, along with the story of the piece. I love lions so it will be a good story.
The Dog and Goose
It could have been a great name for a pub but the only dog and goose is in the photo . Here are two wax models that I have just made ready to be made into… you know, I don’t quite know yet. It may be a pendant or a brooch. I will have to think about it. If you have any ideas please let me know.
Silver Panic at the Bruges Tzandfest August 5th 2018
The Tzandfest takes place in Bruges 3 times a year. We travelled all the way from London to take part. Its is a huge market with an international atmosphere with sellers and visitors from all over Europe. This year it was very hot, so for us it was a long day in the blistering heat. Our jewellery put on display was hot, literally, and almost impossible to pick up, so we have to apologise to our customers who tried on our handmade rings. Visiting the beautiful city of Bruges is one of the pleasures of life but it’s quite an adventure for us taking part in the festival. Fortunately we have taken part in previous markets some years ago, so we knew more or less what to expect […] read more
Presentation of Silver Panic among other things I’d like you to know
So you are wondering where’s the silver panic ? Allow me to explain. Trying to find a suitable name for anything is not such an easy task as it may seem . Having had three children I can recall going through long lists of names and even borrowing library books before they came into the world, so as to research their deeper meaning. It’s not quite the same with websites. With children you can use a name that already exists but with websites you can use only once, perhaps with a small variation and they need to have relevance. The good ones were all taken years ago and you are pushed further into the realm of the nominally absurd or perhaps applying a pointless stream of number, like 678 after the name. I don’t like that. It would be something akin to naming my son Tom 678. So the grey matter is forced into working sideways to try and find something original and unused. Fusion could be the answer. I am Paul my wife is Nicole. I work with silver […] read more