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FREE FORM: The best places to learn jewelry making

Community is a prime place for us all to get involved to learn, especially for jewelers. 
CSteachinghero

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”   ~Benjamin Franklin


Through my travels I’ve had the privilege to explore so many havens of learning across the United States. There even seems to be an emergence (and want!) from members of all different communities to gather, to learn. 

Danaca Design
Danaca Design Metal Crafting Center & Gallery, Seattle, Washington

SO WHERE SHOULD YOU GO IF YOU WANT TO LEARN?

Yes, you can take jewelry classes from a local university or community college. But did you know that there is probably a community jewelry studio in your area? The list of places is long, and it includes facilities like Danaca Design in Seattle, Washington, Quench Jewelry Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Flux Metals Arts in Mentor, Ohio, and Guilded Lynx in Ridgefield, Connecticut. I just took us on a whirlwind jewelry tour across the US in one sentence!

Whether you are taking your very first class or are a traveling jeweler that needs to do a quick bit of work before a show, these studios are must-connects for you. Studios provide tools, materials, and workspaces for all levels of jewelers--beginner, intermediate, and advanced--and everyone is welcome, from hobbyist to professional. I’ve also seen firsthand the friendships that have formed between the studio owners and the community. It’s like one big family! It’s amazing to witness.

Okay, let’s get real for a minute. If you are far from a jewelry community or studio what can you do? How can you learn? Don’t fret, the jewelry community runs deep. Organizations and forums, like Society for North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) and Facet Jewelry, open doors for you to connect with other professionals in your field, from makers, to galleries, community studios, and others. The more you are involved with the community, the more opportunity comes for us all to learn.

When I’m traveling and I need to use a solder torch (which I don’t carry with me) or other tools, I always reach out to a jeweler in my current area, asking if I could use their torch or tool for a bit. In return, we connect, see each other’s set up and work. By the time I leave the studio, I have not only learned something new but also gained a new friend.

 

quenchstudio
Quench Jewelry Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota

There are so many resources at your fingertips, you don’t even need to leave the comforts of your home, all you have to do is dive in! The internet is another fantastic tool to reach out to others, ask questions, learn (you can learn ANYTHING from youtube, even how to snipe hunt!), connect, show your work and you can even write about your jewelry experiences by creating a blog, or through great online platforms like Crafthaus.

Now you might be thinking, but I’m just a hobbyist, I’m just a newbie, I’m just a student, I don’t know anything, I know too much (okay, maybe you’re not thinking that!) but you are filling your head with self doubt because it seems difficult to reach out, to put yourself out there. Being vulnerable is scary, right? I totally understand, I was where you are right now. We all were or have been! And we all have to start somewhere. But that’s the great thing about community, we are all at different levels and we always can learn something from each other. Think about that as you send out an email to a community studio asking about classes or to your idol asking for advice. Also take the amazing words of Carrie Fisher with you. (and maybe a shot of whiskey, which never hurts!)

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

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Already a subscriber? Here's a sneak peek at the next project, these fabulous earrings. The complete step-by-step instructions will arrive in your inbox on December 7.


WEEEEE! EARRINGS

These earrings remind me of those perfect summer days spent on an old-school swingset. Stretching your legs out, reaching to the skies in hopes to get higher and higher. The moment you think you’ll flip over the top of the set is when you lay flat, letting the rush of the horizon overtake you with joy. Without any self control you screech…..WEEEEEEE as loud as humanly possible. Ya know what I mean, right?
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