Our amazing team at Workshop 925 are professionally trained jewellers, silversmiths and business advisors who have an extensive knowledge of working within the jewellery and crafts industry. As well as running their own jewellery brands, they also have several years teaching experience behind them, helping students develop their own work and create some beautiful designs.
We have a strong passion to teach our students the skills, tricks and tips within the trade to help you learn a new set of valuable skills to either help you set up your own business, or help you develop your hobby further.
Owner of Workshop 925 and Jewellery Tutor
I started my Jewellery and Silversmithing degree course in 2005 in London, but felt my passion for jewellery slowly dying; not through a lack of willing to learn, but through the delivery of the course. Workshops we often quiet or locked, class sizes too large to get any tutor attention and irrelevant subject matter (in my opinion) was taught when I felt there was so much more relevant to learn. I made the difficult decision to leave.
Having left university, I went into the world of full time work but I was determined to work my way into the jewellery industry. I spent my remaining student loan on tools and my beloved workbench and worked hard to fund short courses to boost my knowledge. I tried to secure work placements, but the answer was always no.
In 2009 I decided to return to university. The cost of short courses in London was difficult to maintain, and although I didn’t and still feel University isn’t necessary for a career in the industry, it bothered me I hadn’t completed something.
After graduating in 2011, I launched Kirsten Hendrich Jewellery and started developing my jewellery collections, doing shows and getting my work into galleries alongside working full time for a jewellers in Guildford. I left to go full time with my business in 2012 and loved every day in my workshop.
In 2013 I qualified as a teacher at adult education level, a way to get out the workshop and meet others; working alone can be quite insular. I didn’t know how much this would develop. I have a very strong passion for helping others develop their skills. I really enjoy meeting others, sharing our knowledge with each other and design ideas, and watching my students develop from total beginners into competent jewellers. I also learn from my students and from my research putting together handouts for my classes.
In 2018 I made the decision to set up my own jewellery teaching venue called Workshop 925 to offer students somewhere to go within Surrey where they too can develop their skills and business knowledge. I wanted to offer what I felt was difficult to find locally when I was starting out; a place that was always welcoming, supportive, well equipped and encouraging for those looking to run their very won jewellery business, or for those who see jewellery making as a creative outlet or hobby.
I am now working hard to make Workshop 925 a fantastic jewellery making hub which can offer the opportunity for students to learn a wide range of techniques and specialisms.
Senior Jewellery Tutor
I started my journey into jewellery completely by mistake; I was not very academic at school but had a knack for art, this coupled with a love of loud music naturally led me to the conclusion I should be designing record covers for a living.
Unfortunately, this plan was scuppered when I arrived at Wimbledon college of art and was told I was a bit rubbish at graphic design. However, I did turn out to be rather good at making little things in metal and after some pushing from my tutors decided that, maybe a career in jewellery may be on the cards.
From Wimbledon, I did the sensible thing and stayed in education for as long as is humanly possible. Completing a degree at the University of Brighton (I sold one of my final pieces to the comedian Billy Connelly) and a postgraduate diploma at West Dean College until fate took a turn for the worse and I had to find a job.
I spent the next 11 years working for the jewellers, Jeremy Hoye in Brighton as part of a small team of full time goldsmiths. My work here included manufacture, designing new collections mounting and setting precious stones mainly working in gold and platinum. The great thing about working in small Jewellers like this was the range of skills I learnt. We would be responsible for every part of a job from being given a packet of scrap metal and diamonds to the finished piece leaving the workshop. This was my true education and I still use the skills learnt working for Jeremy nearly every day.
Whilst working for Jeremy I also started teaching evening classes and found a love for teaching that was even greater than my love for making. There is nothing better than seeing someone find skills they didn’t know have and helping them to develop and reach their true potential. Knowing you have been part of that journey is a true gift.
I have now been teaching jewellery manufacture and design full time for eight years and love to pass on the traditional skills that were passed on to me becoming part of a lineage stretching back into history.
Jewellery and Silversmithing Tutor
Krista has been making jewellery since her teens but it was not until attending silversmithing classes in her early forties that the metal bug really bit. A chance meeting at one of these courses sent her in the direction of the BA Degree course in Three Dimensional Design and since then she hasn’t looked back.
Krista takes inspiration for her work as a metalsmith and jeweller from the shapes, textures and colours of the plants, animals and landscape that surround her. Their biological and geological forms all fascinate her and present Krista with a wealth of ideas with which to play.
Her aim is to create her own interpretation of nature’s stunning designs out of the magnificently versatile array of metals, both precious and ferrous, that are available. She delights in manipulating the metal to gain the outcome she aspires to. She loves using media such as acrylic, resin and precious stones to enhance her designs.
Krista has been a Jewellery and Silversmithing Tutor for the last 3 years and absolutely loves passing on her knowledge and skills to those interested and inspired to learn.
Business Start Up Advisor and Tutor
Alison Branagan is an author and visual arts consultant and an associate lecturer at Central Saint Martins. She has written several business start-up and enterprise books and has studied different approaches to teaching business theory and enterprise skills. Alison has also devised and facilitated upon many enterprise projects for universities and business support organisations.
She has a Masters degree in Applied Art and Visual Culture, is an Associate of the Institute of Consulting, a Member of the Society of Authors and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She is also an associate of the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education and has been a mentor for the Craft’s Council Hothouse Programme.
Fashion Jewellery Tutor
I studied at University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, graduating in 2007, with a BA Hons in Metalwork, Jewellery and 3D Design. I stumbled upon the course while visiting university to originally sign up to a photography degree.
Alongside my degree qualification I also studied Gemmology with Gem-A in London and achieved a Grade A diploma. I also trained to string pearls with Gem-A. I have been working in the jewellery trade and teaching since 2006.
I was drawn into the jewellery industry from an early age. I started my rock and gem collection when I was a child and I have also always enjoyed making things. Design and Technology was one of my favourite subjects at school, so wandering into the 3D design studios at university made me realise that I could turn my hobbies and interests into a career. Jewellery was the natural choice.
I set up my own business A Little Handmade in 2009. I make and sell a small amount of my own designs, but most of my time is taken up with my full-time job as a goldsmith for an independent jewellers in Hampshire.
As part of my job I get to work on special commissions for our customers. It’s a lovely feeling and makes me feel very proud to hand over special commissioned pieces to customers and seeing their reactions, especially with special jewellery commissions such as engagement and wedding rings. I love being part of that process for them, knowing that they will forever (hopefully) cherish something I handmade for them. I really enjoy all aspects of handmaking and repairing all types of jewellery, but I usually get asked specifically to take on stringing jobs and memorial / mourning pieces at work, as I have a keen interest in Victorian jewellery and history in general.
The techniques I really like exploring are acid etching, and mixed media jewellery. After all this time in the industry I think it’s important to always try to learn new skills and continually develop your style of making, this is something I always strive to do.
Growing up my dad taught me the meaning of the word perseverance. And I think that is applicable to everything in life actually, persevere and if at first you don’t succeed – give it good go, people can’t knock you for trying your best, I think this is something very important to remember when learning something new.