Anyone who follows me on social media will know I was selected for this years Getting Started course. It's a big deal for jewellers and silversmiths and I'm not going to lie, when I read the email offering me a place I was so happy I cried. And apologies to everyone in my life who has had to hear about it every minute of every day since then, but don't think that's going to end just because the course has finished, this is just the start.
So what is the Getting Started course? Full details are here http://www.goldsmiths-centre.org/professional-training/short-and-part-time-courses/getting-started/ but essentially its a course of selected 'emerging talent in silversmithing and jewellery' so aimed at recent graduates to help give them an understanding of the skills needed to move your business forward, and successfully. It was jam packed with different speakers every day and we heard from the best about subjects such as branding, press releases, costings, marketing, packaging, how to exhibit and how to approach galleries to name but a few. Massive thanks to Phoebe, Helen and Chris (and of course Peter) at Goldsmiths who did an amazing job putting on the week, considering how many speakers were involved that is no mean feat. Not to mention a room full of excited silversmiths and jewellers to contend with every day!
Being selected for this course also meant our work was featured as part of the Shine exhibition which ran from December until the last day of the course, ending in a glitsy evening event on the 12th of January were we got to meet people from the industry and discuss our work with them. Prior to that event we had a session with RADA who helped teach us how to present ourselves in a confident way, even when we were not feeling confident. The session was quite fun and lighthearted but later that evening I could appreciate just how much it helped. Usually I hate any event and do my best to hide while quietly having a nervous breakdown. I won't say I wasn't nervous at that evenings event but thanks to the RADA session I now have the tools I need to help get over that initial fear and get on with it.
Being a silversmith I have to admit my favourite speaker was Martyn Pugh as I have long admired his silversmithing work. His session was on costing but gave us so much more helpful information on top of that although he did set us a task which made me feel like I was in the Krypton Factor. Martyn gave us pieces of his work and in small groups we had to work out the components of the piece, the process used to created each component, the weight of each of these, the price of silver for each... the list goes on and lets just say as someone who doesn't particularly enjoy maths this task was very taxing. However I'm pleased we did it as I learnt so much from that one task, it really helped to explain a few things. And it meant I got to play with beautiful pieces of silver too!
I had such a great time during the week, not just because of the speakers and the wealth of gained knowledge but also spending every day in a room full of like-minded people at a similar stage in their career. I met a lot of wonderful makers and I know our paths will cross again and I can't wait to see their careers progress.
Saying goodbye was a little emotional and I was pleased to hear from others that they felt the same - none of us wanted to leave the warm and welcoming cocoon of the Goldsmiths Centre. But we will be back, invited or not!
I'm back in Norfolk now and looking back through my notes its hard to believe they managed to pack that much into just five days. The course was so well run that attending was the easy part - putting it all into practice is the hard part but I am confident that I will do a much better job than pre-course. Anyone who has recently graduated from silversmithing or jewellery I fully recommend you apply to get on this course and I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.