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Apprenticeships, etc

Again, I promise to be quiet and read from the experts once this is
done, but I have a question for the pile of pros here…

I am a beginning metalsmith, and really want to continue on with it,
despite the fact that my hands are now a sliced and scarred mess and
the idea of having manicured nails is a concept I can hardly
remember. All the more reason to wear beautiful jewelry, I guess -
maybe then people won’t notice. :wink:

I’m not sure, however, whether I should continue to take classes or
whether I should look into apprenticing with someone to learn more
and refine my skills that way.

I’d like to know, what do you feel are the basic requirements an
apprentice should have? And do people even do that anymore?

I might as well add that I currently live in new york city. Your
recommendations for good curriculums/classes here would be nice, as
well. So far, I’m aware of the program at SVA and the classes at the
92nd street Y. the 92nd street Y is pretty far from me, and not a
convenience for me to get to, but if they offer good courses, then I
will make the sacrifice if I can. Also, this is a busy busy list -
please feel free to reply to me off-list.


Dear Dori, I grew up in my families jewelry business and was trained
as an apprentice. I have also taken metal arts classes at the
university here in Tucson as well as the community college and trade
classes through GIA. I have also trained many as apprentices.I
believe the strength of apprenticing is the repetitive nature of
having to make money at your craft (for your boss) so you do things
over and over and over. You really learn how to trust your hands and
your ability. Art classes or craft classes get you going in a totally
different direction usually due to class time restrictions you get a
demo and then go try it yourself then get critiqued. This is a great
approach for learning design. My suggestions for learning would be
to do both if at all possible and understand that the education will
never stop. There are so many classes I would like to take but, the
apprenticeship under my belt really lets me take advantage of the
rapid pace of the school environment. Sam Patania, Tucson

Okay, WHAT exactly is in the water in tucson? I should really move
there, methinks… Actually, it is really an option - depending on
what direction things head in, we are looking to leave nyc for a
while and move west but I’m not too interested in what people seem to
always choose as first choice - california. Nice place to visit,
but… I’m more of a desert kind of girl myself, and arizona holds a
special place in my heart. It’s a big big big toss-up between
arizona and new mexico. My partner is now in love with the desert
himself, which is a bonus. At least the two states are right next to
each other.

There is this other creative outlet I explore, which is dance. My
particular form of dance involves things lit on fire - Tuscon has
this amazing performance group called FlamChen, which anyone there
should see if they get the chance… One of the things other than my
occupation (I now sell jewelry and am an honest person about it) that
inspired all of this was the desire to create metalsmithed wardrobe
pieces for performances (head and neck pieces, for instance).

Some serious effort on my part could actually result in my finding a
way to go to school, apprentice, AND find a way to pay my new york
city rent all at once (cheap rent by nyc standards, ridiculous by the
standards of the rest of the world) - although I am not your average
’student’ age - I am nearing 30 years old, have already had a
successful career I gave up (various forms of consulting involving
technology and which did NOT exercise my creative needs at all) and
needless to say life has taken on a FEW more responsibilities than
life had at 21. :slight_smile:

We shall see. Thank you so much for your advice.


   I'd like to know, what do you feel are the basic requirements
an apprentice should have?  And do people even do that anymore? 

Hello Dori, people still do it. I have had over 10 apprentices in
about 10 years, and some have been flourishing afterwards. For me the
basic requirements are patience, steadyness and endurance. Can you
make a commitment and still keep it after the first enthusiasm wears
off after 3 months? To learn this right it takes years, and there’s
not always lying money around. It’s very rewarding, though.

Good luck, Regina