Archive: The original Primitive Method title page

by Jamie Hall on October 10, 2011

So much happened in the first 18 months of the Primitive Method project, and I thought it was time to write a new intro to the blog. For sentimental reasons, I’m keeping the original version on record, which you can read below.

The aim of Primitive Method is to provide a framework for my study of old techniques of jewellery making. If other people look at it, it means that I have to be organised, and take notes on my work. The main area will initially be Vikings, Anglo-Saxons and the early middle ages, but this may broaden as time goes by.

I’m an apprentice jeweller, based in Derby, UK, and I work for my father’s business, making and repairing a range of modern and antique (1900s – present) items, using a mixture of old and new techniques. I’ve been an apprentice for 5 years, and I’m currently working part-time, so that I can broaden my horizons a little. I’m hoping to approach the experience as a sort of journeyman – proficient in some basic methods, but in need of experience and external advice.

Over the past 5 years, I’ve often wondered how good I am at my job – do I have an innate skill for it, or is it a mixture of good teaching and high-tech equipment? With that in mind, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of making jewellery without the luxury of modern technology. Taken to it’s logical extreme, this would mean gnawing at sea shells wearing only a loincloth, so I needed a period to focus on. The Middle Ages pre-date modern concepts of science, but still had a wide range of processes for precious metals. Additionally, there are plenty of re-enactment and living history groups for this period, and seemingly plenty of archaeological sites that can shed light on the workshops and tools available for the era.

Over the next few months, I’ll be acquainting myself with the rudimentary concepts and equipment of Viking jewellers, and hopefully end up describing some items of jewellery. With any luck, some of this information will be useful to other crafters out there – my main reason for starting this blog is the lack of information out there on historical technique. The other reason is that I actively welcome any advice, discussion and verbal abuse. You can leave a comment here, or email me.

Jamie Hall


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