Jewellery Makers learn to sparkle at the Grimsby Institute

Emma Forrest-Leigh, Associate Principal for Creative, Digital & Arts (left) pictured with some of our dedicated learners, Pauleen Bridges, Christine Hawthorne, Margaret Howe & Denise Light and Jewellery Making Tutor, Andrew Poole.

If you would love to be the next Stephen Webster MBE or work for a company like Tiffany & Co you may not realise that you can learn all of the techniques right on your doorstep at the Grimsby Institute’s Grimsby School of Art.

The Grimsby School of Art’s popular ten-week jewellery making courses have been running for over five decades and there are still places left for anyone who wants to learn creative skills working with precious stones and metals. The course is designed for everyone, from beginners to those with more experience, just ask Pauleen Bridges, who has been a regular learner on the course since the 1960s.

Pauleen said: “I was a student under Mrs Markham, the original Teacher, and in fact I even took over teaching the class at one point. I enjoy making things, and it’s getting harder for me to see now, but I still like coming back. Over the years I’ve made lots of necklaces and rings, an etched necklace, a copper dish and a miniature watering can that actually works. I’ve even made a copy of an art nouveau spoon which was exhibited in a gallery in New York. I’m now going to work on larger things because it will be easier for my eyesight.”

Denise Light has been a learner on the course since 1975 and has seen a career that has included teaching Maths and is currently working on a silver cuff and has made lots of different pieces over the years, usually for herself. Denise said:

“I keep coming because I enjoy it. I’m still not very good and I should be much better than I am but this is my bent on being artistic and I love doing the wirework. I usually make things for myself but I have also made things for my Daughter and Daughter-in-Laws.”

The class is run by Andrew Poole, Learning Facilitator for Jewellery Making at the Grimsby School of Art, who has been teaching at the Institute since 2006. Andrew explained why the class continues to grow in popularity and how the returning learners make all the difference. Andrew said:

“It’s great having a small group of students that return each term. I get to know each student’s interests within jewellery making and I then encourage them to explore new techniques, which sometimes may take more than a term to accomplish.

“The returning learners are also a fantastic resource to my class. The senior learners are always willing to help by discussing the question usually by anecdote of projects they worked on many years previously with the student. I do find that I am learning from these learners as well.

“I am very proud to be one of a long line of Jewellery Tutors at the Grimsby Institute and I hope to continue teaching and promoting this well thought of class for many years to come.”

Emma Forrest-Leigh, the Grimsby Institute Group’s new Associate Principal for Creative, Digital & Arts has herself seen an illustrious career as a contemporary Designer and Jewellery Maker having worked on a variety of different mediums including performance art, theatre, opera and artwork for album covers with clients including Toyah Wilcox, Topshop and Impulse Body Spray.

Emma said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have joined the Group who have such an impressive history of providing top Artists who are so highly respected for their creative talents. Although I’m passionate about all of the Creative Arts my heart will always lie within creative jewellery making and the growing classes on offer at the Institute are testament of the high-quality of training a potential jewellery maker can receive with us.

“I’m also looking at developing closer links with relevant employers because I feel together we can offer a kind of practical training that no other provider can. If any employers are interested they can simply contact me at the Grimsby Institute.

“There are so many exciting times ahead for the Grimsby School of Art. I am delighted to have joined a dynamic team of professionals who offer such a diverse range of creative skills through a wide range of courses.  No matter what someone’s talent is, we definitely have something for them.”

The Jewellery Making & Silversmithing course costs £140 and runs for ten weeks, including a half term break. For more information, or to secure your place today, contact Rebecca Hurton at