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Me and my spoon

‘We have a spare place at a silver spoon-making workshop. Would you be interested?’ asked the Goldsmiths’ Company. I most certainly was, which was why I turned up (with my pinnie) at the Camberwell workshop of silversmiths Howard Fenn and Steve Wager.

23 April 2011

6:00 AM

23 April 2011

6:00 AM

‘We have a spare place at a silver spoon-making workshop. Would you be interested?’ asked the Goldsmiths’ Company. I most certainly was, which was why I turned up (with my pinnie) at the Camberwell workshop of silversmiths Howard Fenn and Steve Wager.

‘We have a spare place at a silver spoon-making workshop. Would you be interested?’ asked the Goldsmiths’ Company. I most certainly was, which was why I turned up (with my pinnie) at the Camberwell workshop of silversmiths Howard Fenn and Steve Wager.


Howard and Steve are both Freemen of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths with work in private, public and royal collections, yet these master craftsmen were prepared to spend an evening teaching a ragbag of absolute beginners (inc. me) to make a spoon. They also run ‘come and make’ silver spoon, candle-holder and bowl workshops once a month for first-timers.

We were each given a length of silver, about 5cm x 1cm x 3mm thick. A routine was soon established: beat the metal with a hammer (with Steve encouraging us to hit even harder by imagining we were bashing someone we disliked), blast with a fiery mix of gas and air in order to get the silver hot and ‘soft’ (though ‘soft’ seems rather an exaggeration), dip into water to cool, plunge into acid to clean and restore the colour, then more water — before starting the whole cycle again and again with an assortment of hammers and files, the spoon slowly taking shape…

Three hours later — and with not a little help from Steve — I was the proud and rather astonished possessor of a 15cm silver spoon: result.

The Silver Workshop, Unit 2A, Vanguard Court, SE5 8QT, 020 7703 1967; British Silver Week Festival of Silver is at Pangolin, Kings Place, N1 9AG, from 9 to 13 May.


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