WATCH | Made By ring carving workshop:
Thanks to the digital age, sharing has become the new norm and while that has bought its own challenges, the increase in creative brands sharing skills in the form of workshops is a definite positive and it’s gaining in popularity. It’s all about the experience. At these workshops, a ticket secures you the chance to hang out with like-minded individuals and the opportunity to learn something new.
The benefits of workshopping are numerous - connecting with other people in an age where connection has become a virtual term; learning a skill; how to do brush lettering or master the art of floral design. And, for the brands doing the sharing, it’s a powerful marketing tool and a way for creative businesses to step out from behind the veil and interact with potential clients.
“With social media’s constant creation of content, more and more brands are starting to share and reveal their process of making. In a world of over-consumption, there’s a movement towards spending money on an experience that you keep as a souvenir, instead of simply consuming,” the Made By duo of Henriette Botha and Nikki Sherman explain.
A little over a week ago, I attended Made By’s Gin and Jewels, a ring carving workshop at Joburg’s swish members hub Mesh Club. These workshops are about giving you the tools to make your own ring in a relaxed, social atmosphere and they’ve been an absolute hit. Regularly hosted at various cool Joburg hangouts (with a possible Cape Town one on the cards) they offer snacks and drinks, as well as everything needed to create a ring of your own creation, using the lost-wax method.
“We felt a need to create an inclusive experience, allowing guests the freedom of creative expression, where the consumer ultimately becomes the creator,” the pair said of this extension to the Henriette Botha jewellery brand.
I had no idea what to expect but the vibe was great, with a diverse group of creative people seated around a table (all of us amateurs) and Botha (a formidable jeweller with years of experience behind her) and her partner Nikki Sherman on hand to guide us through the process. We even had a guy carving his future wife’s engagement ring there.
Armed with a plain wax band from which to fashion a ring, and a range of tools that made me feel like a pro jeweller, great music, fabulous gin sponsored by Monkey 47 and moreish snacks, three hours was plenty of time to produce the Adele Dejak-inspired ring I had in mind.
It was daunting to begin with, but Botha and Sherman provide you with plenty of information and inspiration prior to the workshop and, once I’d made that first cut, it became addictive seeing my ring come to life. It is in the process of being cast and gold plated and I’m beyond excited to see how it turns out. Made By recently launched a contemporary jewellery line of everyday wearable classics, inspired by the wax carving process.
Due to their popularity, Made By is offering twice monthly workshops, with Rings at Razor Charlie on July 5.
Here are a few other workshops to try… think more grown-up and classy, less arts and craftsy. Tapping into a hot trend, Greyroom will teach you how to weave a wall hanging, Dayfeels focuses on what they do best - ceramics - and fashionista Margot Molyneux’s Study Sessions are all about collaboration, with various artists coming to share their skills. If you’re ever in New York, Unarthodox runs a host of workshops with thought provoking flavours.