LONDONIST: 10 Original things to do with your mates this Christmas

Follow the example of creative Katie and Kirstie and create the perfect silver — yes, silver! — ring for yourself or your loved one this Christmas. During this three-hour class you will learn how to carve the perfect ring from jeweller's wax and how to transform it into a precious gift. £55, 10 December from 7pm-10pm

 

THE NEW CRAFT SOCIETY: Review

Last week we were lucky enough to attend our first The Workbench London class! For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, The Workbench is run by Katie and Kirstie who started the workshops last year to run alongside their own jewellery companies, Crux London and Kirstie Maclaren.

Their workshops take place all over London, so we picked a night near our Hackney homes and headed down to Mare & Beck to get creative. Katie and Kirstie had sent us over some inspiration photos before the class and I had put together my own Pinterest board with some ideas, but it became obvious pretty quickly to me that my plans were too big. When we had settled with our gin and tonics, we were talked through the different tools and how to use them to shape our wax. After a quick sketch of our ideas and a look through the examples we got slicing.

Katie and Kirstie were on hand throughout the class checking that we were ok and offering loads of tips. I was making ok progress, slowly slicing away at my little bit of wax until disaster struck and I sliced a hefty chunk out the side. BUT with some quick design changes and some tips I think I ended up with quite a pretty ring! Rosie’s is a chunkier design and, after only a few slices off her thumb, we were done.

In the workshop you get a little piece of wax sized to your finger of choice, to slice and shape into your own ring design. Once you’re done Katie and Kirstie take them off to turn them into solid silver using a process called ‘lost wax casting’ and then buff and polish them up. You also get the option of adding a gold or rose gold plating for an extra cost, or a chunkier ring.

I really REALLY enjoyed this class and after doing one ring I thought ‘my next one will be bloody brilliant’. So I will be back for sure. The classes are posted on their site here and tickets are £49 per person, so do keep checking back for their new dates. We’re really excited to get our rings back and will be sharing them over on our instagram.

 



 

BRIDES MAGAZINE: Craft it Yourself

What better way to spend the run-up to your wedding than getting creative with your groom? No, we don't mean like that...  The Workbench, run by best friends Katie and Kirstie, gives couples the opportunity to craft their own wedding rings. Sounds cool, right?

HOW TO MEASURE YOUR RING FINGER

So, how does it work? You carve your designs into a piece of jeweller's wax, pick your metal - choose from silver, yellow, rose or white gold and platinum - and voila! No rules apply here, so whether you want to craft a simple but special ring with your own hands, or really push the boat out with a themed piece of jewellery (a cat ring, anyone?), the choice is yours.

THE LATEST BRIDAL BUZZ

And if you're apprehensive about anything, or your creative juices run dry, Katie and Kirstie are on hand to offer you tips and tricks to creating a truly unique piece to treasure forever.

What's more - opt for a silver ring and you'll pay just £55 for the class and all materials. That's it - sign us up! 

MORE PRE-WEDDING PLANNING TIPS

Workshops take place across London in independent bars and café and have plans to start in Manchester, Leeds, Bath and Bristol: keep your eyes peeled to their website for more information. Prices start at £55 per class, which includes all tools and materials (silver.) Prices for gold start at £100 for women and £200 for men. www.theworkbenchlondon.com

I LOVE LONDON TOWN: If you like it, you can actually put a ring on it

Tom and I always feel super-privileged to be the bearers of awesome social news for you lot, posting great tidings into your inboxes like a jazzier version of Postman Pat, and this review is another true example of an unmissable London must-do. We recently went to do a ring carving workshop and had our craft-loving minds blown to bits by how ingenious and fun the entire night was. So, allow us to introduce you all to your fresh, new hobby, courtesy of The Workbench.

This is a class for anyone and everyone. To our right sat one lone lover of jewellery who’d gone to the class on her own, for a bit of ring-carving me-time, we assumed. To our left sat a couple celebrating their anniversary – the dude had bought this class for his laydee as a present, thus earning himself more points than every Brownie ever put together.

We arrived at Stokey Bears eatery in Stoke Newington and headed to the area at the back, from where the finger bling magic was to take place. Two large communal tables were beautifully set up with branded placemats, pencils and paper, envelopes, tins of tools and a bright blue piece of hard wax which kind of resembled the biggest, tackiest sovereign ring EVER. It looked like something you might win after spending twenty quid on countless rounds of hook-a-duck at the fair. This large piece of stuff was the waxy foundations of our future rings, which we were about to carve into a one-of-a-kind, arrestingly-eye-catching work of art. Or something. I was tempted to be super-G and leave the wax ring as it was, and spend the rest of my days walking around London looking like a back-street pimp, but thought better of it.

Next, we all met Kirstie and Katie – the brains behind The Workbench. They’re both jewellery designers …and good friends …and really snappy dressers, if you’re interested. They gave us all a little friendly intro talk about the do’s and don’t’s and made us feel really at-ease with being creative and expressive. It was a bit like being in a school art class, but the art teacher happened to be your mate, y’know?

Ten minutes in, I was engrossed. I think Tom was trying to chat to me about his day, mid-carve, but all I could hear was a quiet humming, plus the jewellery-themed thoughts in my head. Small carving movements. Don’t take too much off. Less is more. We got some beers in and the carving continued – and, unsurprisingly, grew more freeing and outlandish with each boozy sip. How many up-market, classy, sophisticated workshops do you know of, which come with the option of ordering tasty American-inspired burger-chippy-fried-food treats? None. That’s how many. But Stokey Bears happen to produce bloody good food which you can consume whilst you carve. They also do these (somewhat famous) deep-fried mac ‘n’ cheese balls – which aren’t as unhealthy as they sound (I’m lying) but are as incredible as they sound (that bit’s true).

Tom and I had decided to make each other a ring, so the pressure was on, but the two hours passed so quickly and soon it was time to pack everything away, until only our garish blue creations were left to tell the tale of our night. We made our designs so that Tom’s could fit over mine, like a little jigsaw. I know, I’m sorry, enough of that. We put them in an envelope, before scrawling our addresses on the back, as well as any special requests, such as shiny-or-matte finish and things to be fixed. The reason for this is because now, Kirstie and Katie take our designs and cast them in their workshop into our finished silver pieces, before posting them to our homes. Now these two are the jazzy Postman Pat’s. Circle of life.

This was the most crafty-themed fun I’d had in ages. We didn’t want it to end. The workshop only costs £49 per person which, when you consider that you’re making your own unique piece of silver jewellery, is really reasonable. We also had some wicked food and a few beers, meaning this was basically the perfect night out. We can’t recommend it enough. I want to take everyone I know, until my fingers resemble King John’s from the Disney version of Robin Hood.

Go reserve your spot on their next class now – tickets available online.

Here are some links to The Workbench’s various Pinterest and Instagram accounts, to inspire your ring design night of the future…

By Rachel Claire

WWW.ILOVELONDONTOWN.COM