I’ve been casting solid silver ammonites for years – brooches, pendants, earrings, charms, rings, paperweights – and have a collection of fossils to cast from. However, I got myself into a complete muddle with descriptions of the various sizes, so I’ve developed a cunning plan.
All my fossil ammonites now have a number and I’ve added the number to the description. Below you can see images of the fossils and their silver equivalents. I’ve added approximate sizes and approximate weights of the silver pieces.
Hopefully this will make it easier when you order from my shop as I will be relisting all the brooches, cufflinks, pendants and rings with their ‘size number’.
I’ve just completed two 1:1 sessions showing how I cast using delft clay and cuttlefish. This was spread over two sessions doing delft clay first, though with the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better to do cuttlefish first. Prepaing a cuttlefish mould is easier which gives more time to introduce the actual melting and pouring part.
We followed the same format as the basic class – I do a stage, the student does their stage and so on.
My delft clay castings are on the left and the student’s on the right. The bee is a little bigger than the ammonites.
This is a cuttlefish cast once finished and the amber stone mounted.
‘I had the pleasure of 2 casting lessons with John, delft clay and cuttlefish. I had the best learning experience. Prior to lesson John advised me on equipment etc so I could set up at home.
Hands on, informative and very inspiring. In 4 hours Johns vast knowledge and experience had taught me enough to go home and recreate, which I have been,non stop! Thank you’
Today, I ran a day course for two friends who wanted to learn the basics of working with silver.
In the morning I went through the stages of making a silver ring – we made one each. In the afternoon, the two friends made motifs to go on a bracelet. We made up the design over lunchtime and implemented it in the afternoon.
They experienced soldering, using the piercing saw, doming, and polishing and learnt about the metal, assay and various other tools and techniques.
Hopefully everyone will find it easier to use and more up to date. Please let me know if there are any problems or errors.
The shop remains the same – that seems to work fine and ‘it ain’t broke, so why fix it?’, but the new website should surround the shop seamlessly.
It is also a more secure site now, you should see the little padlock on the browser bar most of the time. There are probably a few links I need to fix still. I still have some content I want to move over or update.
I’ve trimmed down the examples of my work to about 100, but there’s more in the shop and on the blog. Also you can sneak into the old website areas for further examples.
I have a photograph of pretty much everything that I have made. Although I’ve been silversmithing since 1978, I decided in early 2006 to record my work on a database. From that point, each new design or item, if individuals varied from the design, has been allocated a number ss001, ss002 etc, which is used on the corresponding photograph. Each item also has a number.
With the cow horn rings previous to this post, I’ve reached ss1500 so that’s about 150 variants each year. I’ve made 2800 items in that time. Most pictures are on my website, in my shop or in the blog.
Years ago my wife and I visited Sam Gimignano in Italy. I bought a box of bright blue tessera – the little tiles used as the basis of a mosaic. I occasionally make some earrings using them that usually sell well.
It was only recently that a lady visited my stand during Artweeks and said “I make mosaics and those are tesserae, but that’s the back which is pressed into the cement.”
I’d never given it a moment’s thought – that side looked best so I put it outermost. Of course, the other side being flat sits well in the setting. Few people normally see this side.
This silver backed comb has sentimental value to the owner and was clearly of no practical use. The problem here is usually to find a suitable replacement. The best fit was slightly too long and had to be filed and repolished and the teeth are shorter than the original., but it is now usable. If anyone else is interested, then please locate a comb that you think is an acceptable replacement and I’ll fit it.
If there is a price and a button then the item is available for sale. Unless you collect, deliveries will follow Royal Mail’s last posting dates of Monday 21 for items under £35 or Wednesday 23rd for other items. I need to have received the order by midday on those dates to allow for packing and transport to the Post Office.
If you would like me to send a shop sale or a commission directly to the recipient, then I am happy to do that. I will include a message from you and adjust my packing accordingly. I will still send you an email with the despatch details. Please put the message in the box on the shopping cart and use the recipients address during the payment process.
If whether you are based in the UK or abroad and the gift is going to a UK address, then just use the shopping cart system. If the gift is to be sent abroad, please contact me by email first.
I make several designs suitable as gifts to mark the birth of a new child or as a christening or similar ceremony for the young child. Please give me notice so that I can get the item hallmarked in the right year – retrospective date hallmarking is not possible!
Here are a couple of examples of napkin rings made for my children.
My wood turner friend, Richard Shock, has a line of paperweights with inlaid centre.
This is one from his range with a silver disc centre. I provided the discs and also the silver matchstick that is use to displace the disc by pushing from the rear. The disc can then be cleaned without the cleaner damagiing the wood.
You can buy this paperweight from Richard’s website
My website has a page on cleaning silver. Recently I’ve started to use anti-tarnish cleaning cloths such as these.
They are handy for a quick clean and very good for flatter surfaces. In fact I’ve decided to give one free with every commission sale or you can buy them from my shop, though to avoid postage costs they are better bought as part of an order.
Thanks to Nerissa Parker and Sam Buckley, I’ve developed the process of gold plating. I also do Keum Boo which is fusing a thin gold layer onto fine silver, so Keum Boo is thicker and more robust than plating, but less flexible.
Here are a couple of examples. The first is a pair of fused style earrings, before and after.
These are my standard ammonite pendant. One is plated on one side, but with the ribs further polished so expose the silver again to enhance the contrast.
I’ve been silversmithing for years and I’ve a photograph of practically everything I’ve made. I’ve just passed a milestone – kilometer stone would be better. Since I started tracking my work on a database, each photo of a design or variant has a unique number. I’ve just passed number 1000! – it has taken me 30+ years though.
Here’s number 1
And here’s number 1000
The next target is the number of discrete items made – rapidly approaching 2000.
I’ve mastered a feature of my shopping cart to allow items under £29 to be sent by recorded delivery rather than special delivery – reducing the postage costs from £6.50 to £3. The shopping cart sorts this out.
Some of you will have seen my sets of postcards with the red backgrounds, each showing a different selection of my work. You can see the cards if you put ‘John Huddleston Silver’ into Google and then click on ‘Photos’.
However, I’ve just designed and had printed a flyer with some of my newer work. Here are two low-res images and a link to a pdf version. Don’t forget it is letter folded in hardcopy.