Magazine article The Spectator

Me and My Spoon

Magazine article The Spectator

Me and My Spoon

Article excerpt

'We have a spare place at a silver spoon-making workshop. Would you be interested?' asked the Gold smiths' Company. I most certainly was, which was why I turned up (with my pinnie) at the Camberwel l work shop of silversmiths Howard Fenn and Steve Wager.

Howard and Steve are both Freemen of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths with work in private, public and royal collections, yet these master craftsmen were prepared to spend an evening teaching a ragbag of absolute beginners (inc.me) to make a spoon. They also run 'come and make' silver spoon, candleholder and bowl workshops once a month for first-timers.

We were each given a length of silver, about 5cm x 1cm x 3mm thick. A routine was soon established : beat the metal with a hammer (with Steve encouraging us to hit even harder by imagining we were bashing someone we disliked), blast with a fiery mix of gas and air in order to get the silver hot and 'soft' (though 'soft' seems rather an exaggeration), dip into water to cool, plunge into acid to clean and restore the colour, then more water - before starting the whole cycle again and again with an assortment of hammers and files, the spoon slowly taking shape. …

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