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Silversmithing alchemy at The Makers Shed for Minerama

By Rhonda Bombell

A silversmithing process that may cause one to feel totally out of their depth is soon dispelled as suddenly things start to make sense – the use of Pi, what silver can do, the alchemy of it all.

With the annual Minerama Gem, Jewellery and Fossicking Show fast approaching it was crucial that I get to the heart of some of the workshops taking place beyond the Glen Innes Showgrounds. One of these offerings supporting Minerama is from The Maker’s Shed, so I took myself along for a half-day workshop with resident silversmith Richard Moon.

Just behind the striking red doors of this creative destination on Grey Street, you will find a very unassuming space. A welcoming lounge area surrounded by books and artwork, glass cabinets filled with edgy designs, pristine pottery and artwork highlighting the never-ending resource of astounding artists from The New England.

Minerama is held at Glen Innes on the second weekend every March. Traders in gems and jewellery, fossickers and fossil buffs flock here each year from all over Australia. It is one of the biggest shows of its kind in NSW and no doubt will be teeming with visitors ready to purchase that special piece they have been longing to find.

Visitors to Minerama can spend time perusing the many stalls inside and outside the showground pavilions for a cabochon stone (flat-backed) then take it to the many pre-booked workshops on site or to their pre-booked silversmithing workshop at The Makers Shed, located just a few minutes away at 123 Grey Street Glen Innes.

This is a place where local artisans gather, a hub of creativity and mentorship in our community. Michael Burge and Richard Moon are the creators behind The Makers Shed. In just over two years they have successfully held countless exhibitions, supported local artisans by showcasing their work, facilitated markets and events – most recently the highly successful High Country Writers Festival, which is destined to become a most sought after gathering.
The Makers Shed is an engine room of craftsmanship. Masterfully pumping out handmade jewellery from behind the counter, resident silversmith Richard Moon also curates workshops in a professional space conducive to flow and creativity. Each student has their own cocoon to meld with, clean spacious workbenches and comfortable chairs. You look around and see the stylish one offs and quirky creative jewellery and art around you, which is another degree of inspiration workshop participants can bounce off.

Richard Moon’s teaching technique is one of calm encouragement. He has that sixth sense to know when to step in and when to step back. A silversmithing process that may cause one to feel totally out of their depth is soon dispelled as suddenly things start to make sense – the use of Pi, what silver can do, the alchemy of it all.

After you begin to cut the sheets of sterling silver, the mystery of form and process begins to unfurl. While we design, cut, bend, hammer, solder, cold connect and polish with methodical steps, time just melts away.
The Makers Shed half-day silversmithing course was a life changing experience. I left with skills I thought I would never be able to attain, the finished product cherished as the first of many that I will make and that my teacher’s energy will forever be held inside. What more inspiration do you need? A full-day silversmithing workshop is also available. You can book your place online.
For more information contact The Makers Shed on 0450 039 320.