Made by________ Ring Workshops with Henriette Botha
I think I basically fell in love with Henriette Botha the first time I met her. It was at a Translating Joburg event where she was talking about Joburg street style, and I was so blown away by the passion with which she talked about her jewellery design, her time studying in Paris, and her business. Fast forward a year and, while I now get to count her as a friend, too, I’m still pretty obsessed with Henriette and her incredible jewellery. So you can imagine how (very very very) amped I was to find out about her Made by________ Ring Workshops and I immediately signed myself up for the next workshop, which was incredible.
The concept is a little bit genius – you book yourself on a workshop and then spend a morning or evening with Henriette designing and crafting your own ring from scratch. With her years of experience and training, Henriette is on hand to guide you, advise you, and help out, but the main point f the workshop is to create something beautiful that’s distinctly you. You start off with a circular piece of wax, and you’re given all the tools you need to shape it into something unique. I was a little nervous, but it’s actually not as complicated as it might look – as long as you’re willing to let your imagination run free and have fun, you’re guaranteed to have a winner.
I started off with a smaller piece of wax and decided to slim it down quite a bit so that it would be quite delicate. Once I’d measured it to fit my right ring finger (Henriette has all the tools on hand to make sure you get the right size) then I decided to cut it down into little spikes to create a sort-of crown ring. I wanted something that was fun, a little unusual, and also pretty, and I liked how the spikes made a crown, reminding me that I’m royalty haha.
Once I was happy with the ring (it’s reallllly hard not to just keep going and going and end up gilding the lily here) you slip it into a little bag with a piece of paper that includes your details and any special instructions, and you’re done! Depending on how fast you’re able to create your masterpiece, it really doesn’t need to take very long – in between all the chatting and laughing, mine only took me about an hour to make, but the workshops last for 3 hours, so you won’t feel rushed at all.
I then decided to make a second ring, because I loved doing the first one so much, and clearly I was a little addicted. For this one, I wanted to make something a bit bigger that I could wear on my thumb, because somehow I don’t have a single ring that fits them. After reducing the ring size a little, I then used one of the carving tools to make tiny little holes in it, so that it kinda resembled craters on the moon. After that I scratch a tiny inscription onto the inside – something special that’s long been a joke between me and Ant. I popped that into the bag, too, and get very excited knowing that the next time I saw my rings, they’d be made from silver.
Once you’ve finished your wax creation, Henriette then transforms it into a solid silver, professionally polished piece of beauty, and delivers it back to you within 2-3 weeks. I couldn’t wait to get mine back, and I haven’t stopped wearing them ever since. 3 hours in one of her Made by________ Ring Workshops and I have two new favourite bits of jewellery to call my own.
One of my favourite things about the workshops was how it was structured. With a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 8 people per class (we were 8) you get to sit with other people – in my case, 7 new friends! The workshop includes drinks like juice, coffee, and champagne, and it turned into this absolutely social experience: just 9 lovely humans (including Henriette, of course) sitting together and making some epic jewellery. I loved it.
The class only costs R1,300.00, and that includes absolutely everything – the silver, tools, time, postage, drinks, and of course Henriette’s expertise. This covers a ring with a maximum width of 5mm, but if you’re looking to do a slightly bigger ring (7-9mm) you can just pay an extra R500 on the day and you can make it wider. If you want to make a second ring (like me! It’s addictive) than that’s an extra R600 on the day, and if you want to get your ring made with a triple layer of gold plating (ooh, fancy) that’s R500 extra, too.
I genuinely can’t recommend this experience highly enough – in fact, I’m already planning on booking my next workshop. You seldom get to make something so completely unique to you, and especially something which you’ll then actually want to wear afterwards. Plus if you book with a couple of friends you’ll get to spend a few hours together hanging out and being creative – what’s not to love?!
Henriette’s next Made by________ Ring Workshops are taking place in Joburg this weekend, 8 April from 10Am-1PM, and in Cape Town on Tuesday 25 April from 7PM-10AM. If you can’t make either of these workshops, there will be more coming soon, so sign up for her newsletter to make sure you hear about them first – there’s a special one coming this Mother’s Day!
To get in touch with Henriette, drop her an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow her Made by________ Ring Workshops on Instagram HERE.
Because you’ll be using lots of sharp tools, the workshop is not available to Under 18s.