When you sit in an artist’s studio, surrounded by banana palm fronds swinging in the breeze and a hint of frangipani in the air you get inspiration. The workspace at Sanur Jewellery Studio is set in a sprawling tropical garden. The studio is all-white, reflecting a blank canvass, a subtle design feature. A wooden desk, a pile of art books and a working lamp – that’s all you need to get creative.
I attended a full-day workshop at Nini and Ness’s studio and got to play with silver, brass and copper and create my own piece of jewellery — all in a day. I do not consider myself crafty or artistic, but in the right setting with a positive, bubbly artist who motivates and makes you believe in your own inner artist, hey presto, just like a genie in a bottle.
I went along with a group of five women. We started with an artist’s blank sketchpad and soon enough, were busy scrawling away. I needed a reference point and the beautiful art books sitting on the table helped me create something on paper first, and then Nini, who was so patient and kind, nudged me along with motivation and inspiration.
Nini is a silversmith and learnt her trade in Kathmandu and eventually did her formal training at silversmith school in Portugal in 1998. Nini teamed up with Ness three years ago. Ness is a designer by trade with 17 years’ experience in the fashion and jewellery industry, so being in the presence of these two talented women gave me the attitude of “sky’s the limit” to what you can create.
I just listened, reflected and soaked in their positivity and passion for silver and jewellery making and somehow the inner artist appeared. We learnt to soften pure silver, use hand tools and a little foot pump, which fired up a blowtorch/soldering iron.
We also flattened, filed, softened and bent the metals. We twisted, soldered and learned how to make perfectly round silver balls.
Everything was hands-on and very tactile. The rolling mill, which you turn by hand, was my favourite.
This machine flattens the silver — ideal when creating a pendant or bracelet. This ancient-looking machine came from China and, as Nini explained, is very practical and does not need modernising.
Lunch is the only break time, and honestly, I don’t know where the time went. A fresh juice appeared at some point before lunch but we seemed to be in another time zone in that little studio and really lost track of time.
The last stage was polishing, which turned our creations into shiny, sparkly pieces of art to wear and all five of us were extremely happy at the end of the day. One set of earrings, two pendants, one ring and a very funky looking key ring. Wondering what to do in Bali? Be sure to include a one- or two-day silver workshop in your plans. Suitable for all ages (children are treated as an adult).
Visit the Sanur Jewellery Studio website for more information.