Two weeks ago I attended a 5 days summer silver smithing course in “Helliden folkhögskola” in a lovely 19th century setting in southwest of Sweden. The school is hosted in a castle with a beautiful park and a view over wooded hills far away. Truly an inspiring environment for creative work. The “folkhögskola” concept is in itself a special treat for making people do their very best, with its including and encouraging atmosphere where everyone is welcome.
The workshop is well equipped and the students who varied from beginners to advanced were enthusiastic. I spent the week making a box lid of sterling silver and copper. To work in copper is new for me and I soldered silver fishes on copper with a little help from our teacher.
Helliden castle and the nearby town of Tidaholm has an interesting history. It is the history of when Sweden became industrialized which is the grounds of the welfare we enjoy today. Tidaholm was built around factories, the most well-known is the match factory where safety matches were manufactured . Safety matches was an important invention as the phosphor matches used before were extremely poisonous and inflammable. During one period Tidaholm match factory was the biggest in the world with export to literally all countries. There is still a factory, “Swedish Match”, in Tidaholm but it is no longer the biggest. In the Tidaholm museum shop I bought a few match- boxes as a memory.
Back home it has taken me almost a week to make the wooden box to fit the lid. As I am not at all skilled in woodwork it has been a little challenge.
First I measured and sawed wooden pieces, eight to make the roughly round shape. Glue and dry over night and then filing, filing and more filing. After many hours of filing another turn with glue to fasten the bottom of thin wood. More filing and when I was pleased with the shape I brushed the box with black stain. Over that a thin layer of varnish and finally sanding with fine sandpaper. And ok, to be a beginner I am actually quite satisfied with the result. It looks like I had imagined and do the silver lid justice I think.