Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Intermediate Silversmithing Workshop: January 23-27

Registration is now open!

Course Description:

What? Intermediate Silversmithing Intensive
When? January 23-27
Where? Twisp, WA in my personal studio.

This workshop is a 5-day intensive for intermediate silversmiths. We will work for 7 hours each day with a one-hour break for lunch.

If you already have a handle on basic techniques such as sawing, soldering, and finishing, this intensive will empower you to use these tools in a more personal and creative way. Over five concentrated days you’ll hone your existing skills, add new ones, and grow more comfortable and confident in your ability to realize your own designs. During this workshop students will learn how to hand fabricate 3 different chains to include both fusing and soldering, as well as complete one 3-D pendant of their design.

Poppy, hand fabricated sterling silver by Nicole Ringgold

Further details of the workshop:
  • The cost of the workshop will include 5 days of training and interaction, 1 3x3" sheet of 24 gauge sterling silver, one 4 ft 16 gauge sterling silver wire, another 4 ft wire of 18 gauge sterling silver, and silver solder.
  • Should you require additional materials, please be sure to bring them with you to the workshop.
  • For the 3-D pendant, you may choose to focus on bezel setting, a botanical, texturing, soldering, or other techniques. Should you choose to set a stone, please bring the stone with you as well as the bezel wire. If you choose a botanical, bring the plant or images of the plant with you. Note, I often use 22 gauge silver sheets for botanicals, so I encourage you to bring a 3x3" sheet with you (a 24 gauge sheet is included in the price).
  • You may work on more than one pendant if you have completed the first before the end of the 5-day course.
  • All tools and equipment are included.
  • My studio space is well ventilated. However, I encourage you to bring your own eye/mouth/finger protection. See below for a description of my studio.
  • Meals are not included.
Course Prerequisites include:
  • Experience working with a propane/O2 torch system.
  • For the intermediate intensive course, experience soldering with silver. This technique will be learned in Silversmithing Basics.
  • Experience working with a jeweler's hand saw.

To Register

The cost for this 5-day intensive is $400. 

To register, send an email with your intent to participate to: ringgoldnic@gmail(dot)com. I will respond with a Paypal invoice. If you prefer you may send a check (I will provide my address when I receive your email of intent). Once I have received your payment, your space will be confirmed.

This workshop is first come, first serve. Space is limited.

Cancellation Policy:
  1. 10% of fee is considered non-refundable in cases of withdrawal for all students within 30 days of the workshop.
  2. Course fee is non-refundable within 30 days of the workshop unless I am able to fill the student's spot, in which case #1 above still applies.
  3. If I cancel a class then 100% of your fee will be reimbursed.

Save the date for these upcoming workshops in 2017:
March 13-17 - Silversmithing Basics (this course is for beginners). Registration opens Nov. 1, 2016.
May 22-26 - Intermediate 5-day Intensive
June 16-18 - Intermediate 3-day Intensive
July 17-21 - Silversmithing Basics (this course is for beginners)

Lodging, directions and information about the Methow Valley

I can work with you and the others in the group to secure affordable lodging. Let me know if you would like assistance. Otherwise, following are several links to arrange lodging.
Central Reservations - A local source for lodging at Inns, Hotels, B&B's, vacation rentals, condos, cabins, and more.
Lodging within walking distance to my studio:
Twisp River Suites - river front lodging in downtown Twisp, close to shopping and my studio
Methow Suites B&B - Wonderfully cozy, close to downtown Twisp, and the owners are some of the warmest people you will find in the Valley.

Here's a map to Twisp, Washington.
The closest airports are Twisp, Wenatchee, and Seattle, WA.

Information about the Methow Valley:
Below are some useful links to learn about this stunningly picturesque area.
Winthrop, WA Chamber of Commerce
Methow Trails - access to miles and miles of nordic ski and summer hiking/biking trails.
Twisp, WA Chamber of Commerce
Loup Loup Ski Bowl - our local alpine ski area (my husband and I are ski patrollers there)
Winter Fun Where The Olympians Train - Sunset Magazine feature
Hiking Guide - WA Trails Association
Old Schoolhouse Brewery - an old schoolhouse in downtown Winthrop with great food and live music

The Studio

My silversmithing studio is situated inside the greenhouse at Yard Food, owned by the fabulous Tess Hoke. When you arrive, take time to visit the quaint shop in front of the building and walk through the plant nursery. Seek Tess' advice on how to grow successful garlic or, if she isn't present at the time of your visit, sign up for her online classes.

The photo below was taken before I expanded to include space for workshops. My studio can accommodate up to 5 students - 3 torches, 2 flex shafts, 4 adjustable rolling stools (and additional seating). There is an open floor plan and bright, natural light. It is well ventilated and heated for all seasons. It is wheelchair accessible.

Given that it is a greenhouse, you may expect a friendly spider to drop in while you're working. Nibble on greens growing in the garden bed. Making messes and loud noises are welcome.

The Instructor

After taking 2 years of silversmithing courses at Wittenberg University, I set jewelry fabrication aside to head to West Africa with the Peace Corps, acquire a masters degree, and pursue a career in non profit management. In 2010 I decided to try my hand at making jewelry once again.

For two years I made most of my jewelry using an antique drill press. I sold my jewelry locally and online. After saving funds made through sales, I invested in soldering and polishing equipment, reacquainted myself with soldering techniques I had not practiced in 20 years, and quickly produced an extensive, exclusive portfolio.

Much of what I know was self-taught. In December of 2015 I embarked on a self-inflicted challenge, to create 30 botanical pieces in silver. Long after completing the challenge and drastically improving my skills as a silversmith, I would like to share with others what I learned. These workshops will provide a venue for me to do so.

Poppy Pods, hand fabricated sterling silver by Nicole Ringgold

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Huckleberry Scones with an Elderberry Glaze: Recipe

A mother. A daughter. An almost blind dog. Sweeping views, exercise, crisp mountain air, whistling marmots, huckleberries, elderberries, and lots of bad jokes. What more could you want?

Fortunately our nibbling along the way didn't result in empty hands. We returned home with a generous stash of berries to make this morning's breakfast: huckleberry scones with an elderberry glaze.

Huckleberry Scones with an Elderberry Glaze


Huckleberry Scones:
1.5 cups Emmer (or all-purpose) flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 cup fresh huckleberries
1 cup plain yogurt

Elderberry Glaze:
1/2 cup elderberry juice
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  3. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.
  4. Fold the huckleberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough.
  5. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough. You may wish to switch steps 4 and 5 if you're worried about crushing the berries.
  6. Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches.
  7. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape
  8. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze
  9. In the meantime, remove the elderberries from their stems. Place into a saucepan and heat on medium until juice is extracted. Press berries thoroughly to squeeze out all of the juice
  10. Pour juice through a sieve. Let cool
  11. Mix the elderberry juice with the confectioners' until dissolved. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let them set a minute before serving.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Making of a Poppy Seed Pod

Seed pods are utterly fascinating. Isn't it incredible how they're constructed simply to protect their seeds from pests and pathogens, provide nutrients to the seeds, to break open and release their seeds at just the right time, and even designed to filter out damaged seeds?

Take the poppy seed pod - I hadn't realized how different they are from one another until I chose to hand fabricate them out of silver.

Here is a photo journal of my study. I am in awe.

I started out with 3 flat discs, two large and one 1/2 the size.

I then used my dapping block to turn the discs into cups.

I drilled a tiny hole into one of the cups, and then soldered the two together.

I sawed off a section of tube and splayed it at each end. I then soldered the tube to the ball.

I snipped 14 lengths of 21 gauge wire and placed it on the smaller disc, soldered them together.

Using my saw, I cut small slivers out of the disc between each wire, then filed them down.

I dapped the top of the pod to give it a bit of a curve, then soldered it to the ball.

...and added a stem.




And that's it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Gallery of Recent Work: Hand Fabricated Botanical Jewelry

My obsession with making botanical jewelry has not ceased. In fact, with each hike I take I am riveted by wildflowers, berries, leaves, and moss. I steal small samples for future studies. My prolific garden is an endless source of inspiration. Thus...this passion of mine continues.

Below are some photos of recent work, all hand fabricated with sterling silver. To purchase pieces or to place a custom order, check out my website.

Thank you for taking a look!

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