Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

In the Classroom January 30, 2013

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 4:34 pm

Last night was my third jewelry class at the local adult school. We meet at a district high school for three hours every Tuesday evening in the most amazing classroom. Pam Ryerson is the teacher and she’s also taught jewelry making skills to the high school student there for the past 17 years. And I can say that these students are incredibly lucky to have both this well equipped jewelry workshop and wonderful teacher. We had nothing like this when I was in school!  I’ve known about this class for several years, but never had 10 weeks to devote to this work. Until now!

Of the twenty-five students, there are about 10 of us who are taking the class for the first time…all the others are repeats, taking the class to have access to Jan’s expertise and the extensive supply tools and machines to work on their own projects.  It’s truly a Disneyland for jewelry makers.

        One of many cabinets and drawers of tool goodies…

class 1

Individual jewelry benches…

class 2

Enamels, kilns, and ovens…

class 5

Five soldering stations and polishing wheels…

class 4

And dremmel tool stations, rolling mill, and a huge library of design and reference books..

The first night was all about safety rules, of course, and making a copper ring from wire, using the rolling mill to flatten the wire, then soldering.  Lots of annealing, pickling, filing, sanding and buffing, inside and out.

The second week, we repeated what we learned with a choice of beautifully pattern sterling silver wire.  Here’s my ring.                           It’s hard to see in the photo, but the inside has a mirror shine that I’m pretty proud of, even if no one else will ever see it.

SS  floral ring

Last night, everyone had a great time creating jewelry with aluminum sheet metal…first rolling lace, sandpaper, or other texture into the metal with the rolling mill. Heavy duty kitchen shears were used to cut out patterns. I choose a simple oval on my lacy patterned aluminum. Again, file, file, file…sand, sand, sand until the edges are smooth. Loved the drill press for quick and easy ear wire holes. At home, I decided to dress the pendants up with paint and a coat of satin varnish.

 They are large, lovely, lightweight.

aluminum earrings

Soon we’ll be moving onto bezel setting stones…I can’t wait!

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9 Responses to “In the Classroom”

  1. Christie M Says:

    Oh.mY. GoOdNess. What an amazing opportunity to learn and grow creatively. Love the ring and earrings. Can’t wait to see what lies ahead for you. Wish there was something like this around me.

    • Hi, Christie! Yes, very lucky to have this access, although I still get heart palpitations every time I have to light the big torches, especially after Pam showed the class how to use the ‘burn blanket’ that is used to put out the flames of someone on fire!

  2. AnnaBanana Says:

    What a great space and class! Thanks for sharing. I love seeing the beautiful things you’ve created.

  3. Donna Turner Says:

    I can imagine your jaw dropping and staying that way the whole first class! What a treasure! I look forward to seeing all the beautiful things to come out of your workshop in the near future.

    • Absolutely correct, Donna! Jaw dropping and some drooling, too. Don’t even know what all the machines and tools do yet, but I do love being in the student seat again. Appreciate your supportive words!

  4. Oh what loveliness! I’m so excited for you – what awesome class room goodies you get to learn/work with! The metalsmith shop I used to go to closed a few years back and just this December the glass/jewelry studio I went to and also taught at closed and I’ve found nothing even remotely like this to turn to; you are indeed blessed with this and I cannot wait to see all the beautiful goodies you create!!

    • Morning, Shel! Sure do feel blessed to have all this so close by and at affordable adult school prices, too. Pam is retiring from teaching this June, but does hope to continue with the adult school program, however, the state rule is that she cannot teach for six months after retiring…who made this up???? Fingers crossed that she’ll be able to continue this wonderful program.

  5. CraftyHope Says:

    This sounds like an awesome opportunity. I wish we had something like this around here. For now, keep me updated on what y’all are learning and I’ll live vicariously through you.
    Have fun with it!


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