Skillcation: Jewellery Making on the Island

Ever thought of making your own jewellery? Or perhaps you have an idea in mind for a piece of jewellery that you’d like to make and give to somebody special?


Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn how to make pottery, but have never had the opportunity to find out, or you’d like to learn a new artistic method that you’ve never tried before. If so then why not combine a holiday break on the Isle of Wight with a jewellery making or art course and you could explore our beautiful Island and take home a precious piece, hand made by you, to remind you of your stay on one of these Skillcation breaks.



Jewellery Barn

Set in the grounds of the ancient Sheat Manor, on the outskirts of the pretty village of Chillerton, The Jewellery Barn is run by professional jewellery makers and designers Jodie Mannion and Kelly Fenton. Both have a passion for jewellery and for teaching, and the space is a relaxing haven from the stresses of daily life where you can discover the magic of making your own jewellery pieces.

 Small and cosy, the workshops are for between four and eight and can be booked for parties if you have a group of friends who’d like to take a skillcation with you. Courses for beginners run from 10am until 3pm or 4pm and although you bring your own lunch you do get free refreshments and homemade flapjacks or shortbread. 

This autumn (2018) you can choose from the Silver and Bangle Day, where you make a bangle and one charm; the Silver stacking Rings Day on which you make your own set of customised rings; the Beginners Silver Day where you will learn to make a delicate silver ring and a silver pendant to your own design; and the Silver Clay Day during which you learn the basics of rolling, shaping, and texturing the clay to create a beautiful pendant. More courses in enamelling and stone setting are planned for the New Year.


Jodie and Kelly recommend nearby Little Wing, a converted studio apartment in Chillerton, which is open plan and boasts under-floor heating, a large walk in shower and bean to cup coffee machine. Fox and Hounds Cottage was once a smallholding and Little Wing was the shed where the cows were milked, and the red brick building has been sympathetically converted with its own small garden to the rear. Chillerton is a small village and doesn’t have its own pub, but the community come together for ale nights, folk nights, reading room talks and there’s a Saturday Market. There are fabulous walks from here across the rolling fields and downs, and it’s a great base to explore the Island.



Quay Arts

The Island’s arts hub on the River Medina in Newport offers various courses throughout the winter months in Jubilee Stores, overlooking the river, and they’re all run by local artists. Jubilee Stores is more than an art school, as it houses studios where professional artists create work in a wide range of media, making the atmosphere creative, inspiring and perfect for every level of skill, from novice to master.

For example you could learn about Artist’s Books and make your own on a day course. Or you could learn how to work with clay and make your first pots or sculptures or learn the practice of freeform knitting and crochet In order to make a phone case or purse. You might like to spend an evening learning how to make your very own 30cm shade for a lamp or pendant shade. Or you could learn the skill of oil transfer printing on a weekend course. This technique that was much used by Paul Klee, uses a stylus to transfer a drawing through calico, which is saturated with thin oil paint, onto watercolour paper.


Dating from the 1700s, One Holyrood is just around the corner from Quay Arts and has six B&B rooms within its Grade II interior. The comfortable en suite rooms are contemporary and yet retain the original features - think exposed beams and carved wooden beds. Plus they have a one bedroom apartment, One Dolphin, which is almost opposite Quay Arts in a former quayside public house. One Dolphin has a French antique kingsize bed and ensuite bathroom, a fully fitted kitchen with dining area and a living room with sofa-bed and working fireplace for cosy nights.


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1 November 2018

By Jo Macaulay in Articles