The Undergraduate Summer School at the Goldsmiths' Centre - Interview with course tutors Andy Putland and Phil Horton

by: Mandana Oskoui


The Undergraduate Summer School at the Goldsmiths' Centre offers practical experience for up to 16 undergraduates who have completed their first year on a UK-based certified Precious Metal course. Under the guidance of an experienced Master craftsperson, participants enhance their understanding of jewellery and silversmithing working in precious and non-precious materials. Of the 16 students selected, 8 will concentrate on learning jewellery making techniques, and 8 on silversmithing techniques. We speak to the tutors of the Undergraduate Summer School, Andy Putland (who teaches silversmithing) and Phil Horton (who teaches jewellery making), as they give us a deeper insight into this course.

Hello Andy. You teach silversmithing during the Undergraduate Summer School. Can you tell us a little about the course please?

The Undergraduate Summer School is a week-long (Monday-Friday) course concentrating on learning the process of hand raising. I believe this course is unique as it offers a free to all (including most expenses too) week of concentrated hands-on high quality tuition, delivered by experts in silversmithing and teaching at the fantastic Goldsmiths' Centre in London.

What are the main aims and objectives of the course? What will students learn? What specific techniques?

The main objective of the course is to deliver as much of my knowledge in hand raising in 5 days as possible. Core skills to be learnt include Annealing, Blocking, using wooden blocking hammer, Calking, Back raising, Bouging, Planishing and Cross Planishing, Spinning, Forging and Polishing.

There will be opportunities to shorten or lengthen the project depending on each students ability.

How does the Undergraduate Summer School help participants progress in their chosen undergraduate course?

The Undergraduate Summer Course will give students introductory knowledge in techniques that they will be able to use and advance in their following years at university. It will introduce them to the Goldsmiths' Centre and its future courses which are invaluable to all levels of learning.

If you could give one piece of advice to students on this course, what would it be?

To ask as many questions as possible (and retain the answers) to all those experts you will encounter in this busy week.

Hello Phil. You teach jewellery making during the Undergraduate Summer School. Can you tell us a little about the course please? Why is it valuable and what advice would you give to students?

I believe the Undergraduate Summer School is valuable because it offers the chance for students to work with master craftsmen who are working within the trade and are experienced in running a small business. This of course encompasses a variety of other disciplines as well being commercial craftsmen.

My advice for students coming from the university route would be to try and practice their skills as often as possible. Having a good set of tools and not be too hard on themselves. To be a master jeweller takes practice and time.

Application deadline for the Undergraduate Summer School is 10th June 2016. Further information can be found on our website here.