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Cast. Sheffield - An unmissable jewellery making night.

Ever since I was little I’ve loved making jewellery. It started with Fimo beads and friendship bracelets as a child, it went retro as a teenager obsessed with Indie and 70’s clothing, it got expensive when I first discovered you could order exciting cabochons and beading shells from America, and then when we moved I realised I might have a few too many jewellery making bits and pieces.
But this week it all got a bit more sophisticated when my friend Lizzie and I went to Cast. A silver jewellery making evening held at the wonderfully cool 99 Mary Street.  Lizzie, bless her, treated me to the event as a pick me up before all my treatment starts (I have to find a way of paying her back. I’m not sure a bottle of Prosecco is quite going to cut it after last night’s fun.)

So what is Cast? Their website tells you ‘CAST. is a unique craft night that allows you to create one off jewellery pieces at inspired venues across the city.’ And it most certainly didn’t disappoint. The team at Cast, James and Joe are seasoned Silversmiths who have branched out from making bespoke, high-end silver items to bring ring making to the masses and from a small piece of blue wax the most wonderful bits of jewellery are created. Now for those of you outside of Sheffield (or inside maybe) you probably won’t have heard of Cast but you really need to keep reading as you’ll be demanding they come to your city soon and there are rumblings of an upcoming London event . (And no, I’m not being paid for this – I just really love the concept!)
Along with about 12 other bespoke jewellery makers, we were all seated with our craft knives and blue wax ring templates, our drinks and our menus for the night (at our event it was moules frites, which might be my all-time favourite meal!) The night started with a ring fitting, followed by a short lesson in how to start shaping the wax template. We were told to shape the wax with the knife as if we were peeling fruit, and use the sand paper to minimise the width of the wax, or to smooth areas out. I found that the sandpaper was my favourite way to change the shape of the wax, where as Lizzie carved at it with the craft knife. 
I'd decided I wanted to make a mountain inspired ring and I’d created a pin board of beautiful rings that I had it in my head I could create, but the reality turned out to be somewhat different mostly due to my ambiton out weighing my skill. I started by halving the depth of the ring on the sandpaper, then drawing a mountain range onto the flat, top  portion of the ring. The peaks I carved were far too angular and looked like a child’s drawing of a mountain range, but I’d got my heart set on making a mountainous ring so I popped it to one side and started on a second ring template. Eventually when I came back to it I decided to chip away at the ‘mountains’ to make them less structured and more like rocks might be, which made me feel much more comfortable with the shape of the ring and I really started to love what I’d made. I maybe ought to have made something a bit daintier, but lets me honest, that’s not really me!
Before I started on the second ring we were served with a beautiful bowl of moules marinières, with chips, bread and prosecco. It was so interesting to look down the table and see how people were so engrossed in the making of their rings that they were still carving and sanding as they ate. I however was fully committed to eating the mussels, which gave me time to think about the ring I was making.

My second ring was inspired a little by the one that Lizzie was making, a ring she described as rustic! This one I shaped more round, getting rid of the tall flat bit of the ring template, and then once I was happy with the shape I cut little angular bits of wax off the shape, creating something that will hopefully be multifaceted and reflect the light in all different directions. It might be a little more lady like but it’s still a little chunky and, in wax at least, it looked pretty cool sitting next to the mountains ring. And so I talked myself into getting both rings. Ooooooops. 
After much deliberation and some intense crossing out of my decisions on the order form, I decided that I’d get one ring, the second more rounded ring, in a high shine polished silver and the mountains in a brushed silver so that when they are sitting together they have some contrast. I know I could have had a gold or rose gold finish to it, but I never wear anything but silver so those options weren’t ever considered.
I didn’t quite get to the bottom of how they turn the wax into rings, in my head there are moulds made of the wax and then the rings are made from that but I’ll be honest I have no real clue, I’m just super excited to see what comes back from the team at Cast. Keep an eye out for me sharing the results in a couple of weeks, but check out their Instagram for examples of what other people have made!
And if you think this sounds like a super cool idea but you’re not based in Sheffield, they have just started selling kits at £90 each. We had a peek at a kit and you get 3 wax ring templates, carving tools and instructions on how to get started, and then when you’re happy with your wax template you post it back to them to make into a ring and posted back to you. Which if I was a bit richer (or loved my friends more) would be the gift I’d give out for every up-coming birthday. Alas, I am not this rich, but I do think it’s a fabulous idea. 

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