Kim Downes

hand-forged silver jewellery and silversmithing

I am a silversmith who adores the feel of silver, its colour, its weight, its malleability, its timeless quality and the many textures it can display.

My Story …….

I trained at Birmingham Poly, graduating in 1984 with a degree in 3 Dimensional Design, specialising in Silversmithing and Jewellery.  But for me it was always mostly silversmithing!  And then as young 20-somethings do I went to work for M&S as a buyer! In the intervening years, I always looked in local adult education to find silversmithing evening classes but there were none.  Jewellery yes, but that wasn’t where I wanted to go, because you see hammers have always been my favourite tool, and you need stakes and anvils for silversmithing, or else milling machines – neither of which were in abundant supply I discovered.

So I fed my creative mind with ceramics courses which were easy to find – and which has always been another love of mine. 

So passed by 30 years …. and now living in Chatteris Cambridgeshire, I started working for Stewart Hearn who makes stunning handblown glass, and is also a member of Cambridge Open Studios.  Surrounded by his and his wife Kathryn’s encouragement and support I began to wonder if I could perhaps take up silversmithing again.  Visiting open studios in 2017, I came across a silversmith Tricia Taylor, and a jeweller Gabriella del Valle who both encouraged me to start up again.  Having found the contacts I was able to attend courses that helped me start again ….

Re-awakening old skills holding hammers, annealing silver, controlling the direction of the metal, preparing & cleaning my tools, designing pieces.

What a joy!  To realise a dream I had never imagined I could even begin.  I have grabbed my pen and put into words just how much I love silver as a metal.  Always have – but never worded it. Its colour, its malleability, the colours it displays matt or shiny, smooth or textured, clean or tarnished!

It has been such a joy to be part of Cambridge Open Studios since 2019.  It concretes myself as an artist and drives me to a place of focussing on a selling exhibition of my work!  It offers me opportunity to think of what people might want to purchase, and how much they might want to spend. 

I have been very blessed to be the recipient of many commissions, an endorsement of my products.  I am still near the beginning of my journey, traveling a path of creating silver – both silversmithing and jewellery.  The doors are only just opening … why don’t you take a look and come inside???

Kim Downes

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