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[Event] Wildacres 2009

Dear all,

Here’s something interesting: a week of silversmithing and
jewelry-making classes in North Carolina for just $345. Most are “no
prior experience necessary.” It’s a week of vacationing in the woods
while learning. The cabin are top-quality, more like a hotel (A/C,

Yes, Wild Acres is great! I loved it when I went, hope to go back at
some point. One small point-- it is $345 for double occupancy. So go
with a friend, or meet a new one! If you want privacy, you’ll pay
almost double. Still a great deal!


I have been to Wildacres several times. It is truly too good to be
true, but it is. You have six days of classes set on top of the
mountains in the scenic most location you can imagine. The
accommodations are comfortable and clean. The staff is wonderful.
The classes are incredible, and the food is exceptional. Cooked and
served family style by a real chef and staff. All of this for $345.
Where can you eat out 3 times a day for a week for that? Much less
get everything else included. Go, go, go! You won’t be sorry!


I’d luuuuuurve to go to Wildacres to take a course sometime. I’ll
have to keep dreaming for a while me’thinks. The faceting course
speaks to me.


I'd luuuuuurve to go to Wildacres to take a course sometime. I'll
have to keep dreaming for a while me'thinks. The faceting course
speaks to me. 

That’s what I took. I loved it. The instructor helped me find a used
machine afterwards (a mere $1000-- better times!) and I kept at it
for a while. Sadly, I really have no time to do it now, but I’m not
at all sorry I took the class. I’d love to cut more of my own stones.
Heck, I’d like to have time to garden. To clean my house, even! Just
trying to make ends meet takes all I have these days.


Hi, Helen,

The gentleman teaching faceting at Wildacres in April 2009, Steve
Weinberger, also teaches that course at the nonprofit Gem Cutter’s
Guild in Baltimore, Maryland. I believe that this spring, their
faceting course will be weekly – details not posted yet – but it’s
possible it might be taught on a single weekend. Even though the
faceting class is not posted yet at their site
(, you could see their other classes to get
an idea of pricing, which in my opinion is very reasonable. As a
nonprofit, part of their income is donated to grants programs for
local grad students in the earth and planetary sciences (or geology?
I can’t find details on their website, but a collection is made at
every monthly meeting for this fund, and the Guild matches the

I should add that, almost regardless of what we see on "The Wire,"
Baltimore actually has a lot to offer as a tourist destination. :slight_smile:
And Baltimore is only an hour from DC and the Smithsonian’s


Dear Lorraine,

Good to see mention of Wildacres in Orchid. I will be teaching
silversmithing there in September. Note: One must belong to Amfed in
order to attend Wildacres. It is a minimal cost to join one of the
many gem & mineral clubs but well worth the minor expense. The
teachers all volunteer their time which keeps the cost down. The
location is beautiful, a very special place once you pass the stone
pillars. I always call it Brigadoon each time I come to teach there.
Everyone learns new skills, the camaraderie is evident w/ all the
laughing going on, food is good, (don’t eat too many of their
cookies!) There’s even an auction of goodies w/fierce bidding, a
tailgate market, and time to explore the Blue Ridge Mountains on Free

Wildacres is the inspiration that caused me to open up my own
jewelry school… Yes, it is worth attending. Hope to see some of
you Orchidians there sometime.


I would like to echo Ruthie and Lorraine’s comments about Wildacres.
Two gem and mineral federations offer courses on silversmithing and
faceting. These federations are abbreviated as EFMLS and SFMS and the
workshop schedules can be seen by going to and linking
to the appropriate federations.

These workshops are the best bargains around and are aimed primarily
at beginners with a few advanced courses.

I will be teaching Lost-wax Casting for both federations during the
coming year. I can provide additional on any of the

Fred Sias

Thanks for the info Lorraine. It will be a long time before I can
take any such course unfortunately, especially in the States. I do
think the Wildacres courses are fantastic value though and taking
such a course would be a fantastic holiday, perhaps with hubby doing
basic silversmithing or something like that.