Gratitude journal
three good things

Nov 16, 2019

Victorian clock maker

In early 2019, Clang and I watched the BBC’s The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts. The series was inspired by the ideas and practices of visionaries such as William Morris, John Ruskin and Gertrude Jekyll. Six modern-day craftspeople went back in time to live and experience this first-hand.

I am very grateful to the BBC for producing this excellent programme, which caused quite an upheaval in our lives and precipitated unexpected consequences.

Clang, who specialises in designing and creating high-quality jewellery in gold and precious stones, was fascinated by the Victorian design and making processes. Silversmith Bryony Knox, who recreated a Victorian silver bowl and a copper clock during the series, caught her attention. Her works, made using only the tools and materials that would have been available at the time, were beautiful and the process fascinating.

Professional development pulls

This strikes a significant chord with Clang, and she realises she would like to expand her skills into these areas. She has concerns about being ‘left behind’ in the skills race. Accordingly, she considers attending one of Bryony’s autumn clock making courses, held in Edinburgh.

This is not an easy decision. It means a week away from home and work (the months before Christmas are always busy), getting to Scotland with her equipment, finding somewhere to stay. Also, of course, there is a significant cost involved.

More importantly, she is concerned that her jewellery skills, while similar to those needed to make the clock, will be inadequate. This is probably her most significant concern. She is worried she just will not have the skills and strength to tackle this project.

We discuss this with friends and fellow craftspeople. One, her flower arranging partner Jane, offers to come to Scotland with her, drive her up and share an Airbnb. I reassure Clang that I can look after the house, the dog and the cats while she is away. She speaks to Bryony, who encourages her about her ability to do the work. We discuss money, decide the trip is affordable and will be money well spent.

Jigsaw pieces

Gradually, the pieces of the jigsaw came together. Clang decided to go, booked the course and worked out travel and accommodation with Jane.

On a wet Sunday in November they left for Edinburgh. They found their Airbnb to be delightful and within a short walk of Bryony’s studios. They spent a wonderful evening with Jane’s daughter Jesse, who lived nearby.

The next day Clang started her five-day course, which was thoroughly enjoyable and deeply instructive. Bryony was empathic and helpful. 

By Friday, Clang has finished her clock, beautifully cut out of a piece of copper sheet, folded, riveted and reppousséd with a dandelion motif. A picture goes straight onto Facebook. Clang is elated if a little sore from a week’s metal bashing.


The week ended with a family gathering. Alex and Lydia came over from St Andrew’s and Jesse joined them for a celebratory dinner before returning home the next day.

Clang has no cause to resent her decision. She has spent a wonderful week with family, friends and fellow makers. She has learnt new techniques and expanded her horizons beyond rings and bracelets. She has made connections with a fellow jeweller and spent happy days discussing those metalworking topics that mean nothing to the rest of us. It could not have worked out better.



A Gratitude Journal is just a simple way of
recording and appreciating the good things in life.

Research shows that keeping a gratitude journal leads to
higher levels of alertness, happiness and positive emotions as well as
a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure and better sleep.

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