Who we are
Hi, I’m Sam and I am the 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 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.
Prior to this, I worked as a project manager in local government, delivering predominantly construction based projects across Manchester. I did this for eleven years, but I never really felt fulfilled in a corporate environment. After 3 attempts, I finally managed to get my application for voluntary redundancy 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.
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.
Wellbeing & Workshops
I had struggled with depression and anxiety for a number of years and the creative outlet has been instrumental in keeping me well. Having felt it’s benefit, I now teach pop up workshops aimed at beginners; providing an opportunity for people to try their hand at silversmithing and keeping the jewellery that they make.
I also work 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.
Me at the bench working on a wedding ring commission. It’s always such a privilege to be asked to make such a special piece of jewellery.