handmade jewelry

Silver Challenge & Zilverdag Schoonhoven

how it's madeKarolien Severins
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Monday June 10th my husband and I went to visit Schoonhoven (the Netherlands) for the 35th “Nederlandse Nationale Zilverdag” (=Dutch national silverday).

Schoonhoven is known for it’s silver and therefore carries the nickname: “Zilverstad “(=Silver City). Since the 17th century, and still today, silver and gold smiths have been working here, you can find a lot of studio’s in this small city. Schoonhoven is also home to the Dutch Silver Museum and an International School for jewelry technique. Besides jewelry, Schoonhoven is also known for is its production of clocks and for clock makers.

It was a lovely day and I would really recommend visiting Schoonhoven if you’re in the area and love silversmitthing/goldsmitthing. We will visit this small, cosy Dutch city again for sure! But why did we visit this year?

Silver Challenge

As you might have seen in one of my youtube video’s or on instagram, I went to some workshops earlier this year. Two workshops about enameling and 1 about brooch pin mechanismes. All these workshop were at the Jewelbox, Annika’s cosy studio.

After 31 years of being me, I know that to practice what I’ve learned, I have to challenge myself. So when I read about the “Silver Challenge” online, I was intriged.

The Silver Challenge is a competition organised by the people who organize the “Zilverdag”. People who visit the exposition of pieces selected for this competition can vote for their favorite piece during the Zilverdag. I wrote them an e-mail to find out if I could participate, since I’m not Dutch and that was ok!

So than I had a few weeks to come up with an idea and make the piece. The theme of this years Silver Challenge was “Feest” (=party). My kids are totally into balloons, and blowing a party horn and all of that kids-party-stuff since their second Birthday in January. So inspiration wasn’t hard to find ;) But making the piece would become quiet a challenge indeed, since I didn’t had a lot of time - most of the time I spent during these months is dedicated to finish wedding rings that people ordered - AND I really wanted to incorporate several techniques in which I don’t feel comfortable or well-skilled at.

I first started by making some quick sketches of the ideas and than translated those shapes into a wax model. As soon as I was finished with that part, the wax model was casted in Sterling Silver. After that, it was time for the enamels. But that was hard, since I didn’t had my own kiln yet, I had to go to Annika (who was my teacher for the basics of this technique in the first workshop) and I only had 1 day scheduled for this part of the project. And as a beginner in this technique I had some difficulties of course. Than I also wanted the pin to be a part of the design, in my opinion that worked out pretty well and I’m eager to make more brooches in the future.

As I wrote earlier, this is a competition, everyone who visited the exhibition during the Zilverdag could vote for their favorite piece in the exhibition. The winners of this years’ edition:

First place Femke Toele, second place Janneke de Bruijn, third place Marjon Kappers, fourth place Laura van der Kleijn, you can see photo’s of their work here.

In this video I show you the process of how the brooch was made and show you a little bit more about our visit at the Zilverdag, Schoonhoven.

Thank you very much for reading this blogpost, feel free to contact me if you have questions about my work or if you want to collaborate!

Have a great day!