Sowing carrot seeds!!!!!

This may seem a strange title to see on a silversmith blog, however I assure you all will become clear if you read on!

It is the time of the year for sowing seeds and planting out in one’s vegetable patch. Last weekend it was carrots. As planters will know carrot seeds being tiny tend to bunch together making it difficult to sow them thinly in rows. There has to be a better way I think. Broadcast sowing? no – still the same problem. I scratched my head trying to think of a suitable fine sieve, still the same problem seeds do not separate well.

Try a tea strainer? -too fine- seeds will not go through. Another search through an ‘odds and ends’ drawer finds an old silver tea strainer with larger holes than the nylon one. Eureka!!!!

The seeds pass through neatly and distribute evenly for a perfect broadcast. Fortunate that in this case the gardener is also a silversmith as not everybody would be expected to have a silver tea strainer tucked away in a drawer. 

Whilst I would not expect anyone to buy a tea strainer for this purpose alone it does show how versatile silver can be! A bit of a tenuous link but as a dedicated silversmith I encourage everyone to buy and enjoy using silver as often as possible. It is a well known fact that silver improves with use.

Take a look at my collections and see if silver will fit into your lifestyle?

John Campbell

Designer & Master Silversmith

Silversmith and Cabinet Maker?

This week saw another challenge overcome.

Some weeks ago a customer who had come to JA Campbell to have a large silver salver engraved with a golf trophy ensignia also requested a plinth to go with it. Trying to be as helpful as possible and in the knowledge we had just taken delivery of some Honduras Mahogany I said – yes.

I submitted a drawing which included a silver plate for engraving the winner’s names and the customer approved the quotation and concept.

As the delivery date approached I began to wish I had said no, for cabinet making skills  are required to make the piece and this is not my main forte. If nothing else, sanding timber of this size, would take ages and cover everything in our workshop with a good layer of mahogany dust and take ages to clean up.

So I cheated and put in a search on Google for ‘cabinet maker Brentwood’. Not only did I find a competent person, but also a superb craftsman who completely re-drew my original sketch, improving it substantially and also made the plinth up to a standard I could not have achieved.

Next I made the engraving plate, fitted it and sent it to our engraver. Another superb craftsman (if that is the right term) for this man is also an artist and probably the best hand engraver in the UK today.

If a job given to JA Campbell involves a skill we do not process in-house we certainly know someone that does. For example diamond mounters, chasers and modellers to name just a few.

To be wholly responsible for or even partly responsible for creating a piece of modern day silver gives the greatest of satisfaction. While ever that feeling lasts I will continue to be a Silversmith and carry on the traditions of generations of craftsmen before me.

John Campbell

Master Silversmith