Who we are
Hi, I’m Sam and I am the jewellery designer and silversmith behind SJS Smith Jewellery. I started my business in 2016 when I returned to full time education as a mature student to study a “University of Arts London: Level 3 Diploma in Art & Design – Specialist Pathway Jewellery”.
My first year in business I traded as “Enchanted Nymph”, making ceramic coasters, baby changing mats and paper cut pictures among other things, which I sold at various artisan fairs around the north west of England. Once I discovered silversmithing, everything changed and working with metal became my passion. I was over the moon when I discovered that I had achieved a distinction as my final mark.
Wellbeing & Workshops
Few of us manage to get through live unscathed. I have struggled with depression and anxiety on and off for a number of years and the creative outlet has been instrumental in keeping me well.
Having felt it’s benefit, I now teach workshops aimed at beginners; providing an opportunity for people to try their hand at silversmithing and making themselves beautiful jewellery.
My first teaching experience started while working with community groups delivering an “Illustrated Jewellery” workshop which I designed specifically with wellbeing in mind.
These workshops have been delivered to various groups including volunteers at Noah’s Art, a group of elderly ladies via Wythenshawe Good Neighbours, the homeless via Red Door and people with anxiety via Her Art.
I love the moment when everything is completely silent and everyone is so engrossed in what they are doing. It’s a moment of shared mindfulness and community – a kind of being alone together – that has an amazing positive impact that creative exercises facilitate. Seeing something as simple as making a piece of jewellery have such a positive impact on others feels amazing.
I said goodbye to the studio I’d been in for 3 years and moved into a bigger space. I now have a fully equipped teaching studio for up to 8 people.
It has been so good to get back to teaching workshops and making jewellery again. I’m currently working on some design ideas and hoping to have an exciting new collection made in the next few months.
One of my passions has always been the role of art and making on mental health and well being. The new space means that I can reach more people and go back to my roots of working with community groups.
In 2018, I moved into my studio in central Stockport. The gallery space downstairs was available for hire and I started to deliver silversmith workshops, the most popular being the silver stack ring one.
In 2019 the gallery space became a studio and was no longer available for hire. I moved to a pop up format teaching classes in multiple venues around Stockport.
It was great to be able to take the workshops to different locations and new audiences, but dragging tools up and down stairs and setting up etc was not easy.
After working as a project manager in local government for eleven years, an opportunity to take voluntary redundancy came up and I jumped at it.
After 3 attempts, I finally managed to get my application accepted and took the leap – letting go of the security of a well-paying career to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I believed that there just had to be another way to live my life that was more in line with my values and passions.
I had loved delivering predominantly construction based projects across Manchester, but I never really felt fulfilled in a corporate environment.
In the summer of 2016, I came across a flyer about a jewellery course, and thought I’d give it a try while I figured out what my next career move would be.
The day I walked into the jewellery workshop at the college, I had my “this is it” moment. As soon as I saw the tools hanging on the wall, the enormous blow torch and industrial tools lying around, I was in love. It was the equivalent of a kid walking into a toy store for me. In that college workshop, for the first time in my life, I finally knew what I wanted to do.
The architectural influences from my previous career are still reflected in my work and wellbeing is an area of particular interest to me. My final project at college was to design and make a well-being collection of jewellery to suit each of the senses (sound, sight, taste, touch and smell) and the final pieces were very architectural in nature.