In the meantime I've constructed a curriculum for myself
that includes pretty much everything in most of the major
fabrication books out there. I'm also planning to take a few GIA
courses. Could that be enough to give me a decent working
You may already know, GIA comes to Chicago every fall. Take
everything they offer.
Does anyone know of any good, professional places to learn
jewelry fabrication in the Chicagoland area? --I'm surprised that
with Chicago being such a hot spot for jewelry sales, design and
fabrication, there seem to be no education or trade programs for
those who want to learn the craft.
Ah yes, Chicago is full of such ironies. There is but one place: The
Chicago Metal Arts Guild. I invite you to join us; check us out at
We host professional level workshops that will assist you in your
progress. Earlier this year Tom Muir was here, in November, Cynthia
Eid will be here, and we're having a forming workshop as well. We
have obscure metalsmithing topics art centers don't have because the
number of people interested is too small. We also have artist
lectures, seminars on business issues. Be sure to join soon so you
don't miss our annual all member meeting.
There used to be a trade school in Chicago: the Renteria Jewelers
Trade School. The instruction was primarily in Spanish.
I'm sorry you had a negative experience with the art center. Perhaps
taking a for-credit class would be more appropriate. Please write to
me off line and I can make some recommendations.
I'm afraid you'll have to travel to complete your education. For
weekends, I encourage you to try out the Indianapolis Art Center
And plan your annual vacations to travel to places where you can
attend trade school.
With regard to torches, based on reading and research I've
done, most jewelers/artists prefer compressed gas torches-would I
be at a disadvantage trying to develop my fabrication skills on a
That's because most of us can't afford a water torch. Water torches
will only do goldsmithing type work -- small stuff. I'll let some
one who has actually used one answer, but I don't think it will harm
you. Lots of torches are different and it takes a while to get used
to each one.
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay