I'm Alf and I am the designer/maker behind 'The Soldersmith'.
I'm a Kent-based silversmith who is passionate about bringing authentic and unique, handmade sterling silver jewellery, to you. All the pieces you see on this website are designed and hand-created by me. That essentially means that I don't use casting or metal clay - everything is made from scratch, using bullion and off-cut - so every piece is truly unique and cannot easily be recreated.
The jewellery is raw, bold, organic and sometimes unconventional and the designs are simple, robust, un-fussy and uber-wearable.
I believe that all jewellery should feel as though you've had it for years and I spend a lot of time recreating that 'feel' in every piece through the filing and polishing processes.
You can buy a selection of items through the Shop page on this website.
It's also worth checking out my Instagram page too, as I post photos regularly, ranging from photos of workshops to designs that I'm currently working on. If you see something you like, please get in touch!
You might also like to look at the Gallery page for inspiration. If you find something you like or elements that appeal to you, I take on a small number of commissions each year and would be delighted to discuss your ideas with you.
If you'd like to experience Silversmithing for yourself, take a look at the Workshops page and book a half-day course with me.
At the end of the session you can take your piece(s) home with you!
A bit about my background and inspiration
I grew up in South Devon, on a large school estate where my father was the headmaster. It was an idyllic childhood, with seemingly endless days on the school beach, snorkelling, swimming and building dens, followed by evening marshmallow campfires (interspersed with school, homework and chores, of course!).
Those much-cherished memories have inspired my Rockpool Collection - the imposing graphite grey of the cliff faces, combined with the bright blues of small hidden rockpools and all their colourful contents of seaweed and mesmerising tiny sea creatures.
Since then, I've lived in a few places dotted around the UK, but finally settled in Kent in 2004 where I now live with my husband and 2 ginger cats (both of whom are frequent day-guests in my studio).
My silversmithing journey began in 2008, with a one-day ring-making course at a local adult education centre. I was instantly smitten and continued evening classes at adult ed for another 5 years after that.
In 2013 we moved house and I was finally able to have a studio in the garden (built entirely from recycled products by the talented Mr Alf). Whilst a jeweller can never have too many tools (!), my studio is now fully-equipped and I love spending my time there, working on the many different designs.
In 2013, I was still working full-time in London and due to the constraints of a busy role, I wasn't always able to get back to my evening class each week. That became frustrating (for me and I'm sure for the tutor too!), so I stopped going to class and am now in my 11th year of self-teaching and experimentation (with the odd formal class squeezed in when I can).
In 2021 I plucked up the courage and left my role in London (after 32 years, as an Executive Assistant) and decided to pursue my passion for creating silver jewellery.
Closing the loop almost completely, in September 2023, I accepted a role teaching Silversmithing at the same adult education centre I had originally learned at and now teach 3 classes a week there. I love sharing my knowledge, skills and advice with others who are passionate about this amazing craft.
I'm inspired by Brutalist architecture and bold, unusual design. I work with larger statement pieces from time-to-time and most of my pieces are studies in texture and clean lines. I also love oxidising my jewellery (using liver of sulphur to darken the metal) - it gives it a much more industrial feel than when it's shiny.
Shiny and glitzy has its place, but I do draw the line at twee and dainty! For me, twee and dainty jewellery tends to equate to high street shops and mass-production of popular pieces. Fine if you want something that lots of other people wear, but I prefer jewellery that makes a statement and reflects something in the personality of the wearer. Being a self-confessed introvert, the jewellery I make is one way that I can really SHOUT loudly about who I am...without actually saying anything!
My jewellery isn't for everyone (cue dainty jewellery lovers!), but if you like the designs and enjoy the look of my pieces - hello there and welcome!