Hi Betsy and Andy,
1stly, I wondered with a pop density of less than 15 , where are you customers on a regular basis ? ie to make a daily living from your work?
.The leaf necklace is a pretty good way of making a product by mass casting. How many dozens did you make and sell?
I thought id google from here in the UK to ask?, for,
small machinery dealers in the Detroit US area, I had some 800,000 hits!
Then likewise laser profiling ditto, some 200,000 hits, so theres NO shortage of helping Co's near? maybe? where you live.
Visiting a laser profiling co and talking with them will teach you more than any course would. Likewise a few machinery dealers will open your eyes as to whats on offer and for how much.
2ndly, who might be I asked the target audience for this course,? any established artist jeweller will have done his research as to which direction he wishes to go with his work, , as casting has been around since the Pharoe's time.
Now laser profiling is a great tool, but its only a small part of the product design make and marketing process.
One would normally test the market with a "New" idea having made it by hand, then if its flying off your bench only then invest in a production run using this way.
Then you need the marketing skills for such a product. One pr of hands business and wholesale dont really jel.
Ill give you an personal example, I chose to interpret the art of the torque in a historical context, one period, out of 10 ranges, the dark ages, needed a design that was "Dark" pagan and reflected the turmoil after the Romans left our isles and before the Normans arrived, some 800 yrs later.
So surprisingly I chose the polished and fire oxidised colour of 316 s/steel tig welded together with argon, the fastest way, to achieve the required result. A big contradiction of context to the material of choice!.
Now that would warrant the use of laser profiling if I need to but it didnt. so it was made all in house..
AND most importantly, I already had other historical lines on sale, so it wasnt putting all my eggs in one basket. And yes they do fly off the display.
I dont see a beginner getting his hands dirty with this process and investing in the time and materials on the off chance it would be a winner.
So both casting and laser profiling will give you the shapes in volume, then theres the rest of the making process.
S/steel is difficult enough for us pros, to get smooth enough on the edges to be safe to use as jewellery after shearing or profiling..
Barreling wont give you this. It normally has to be done by abrasive machines with the work held in the hand. A labour intensive process. Ive bypassed this in my designs and have nice rounded edges and that is of course a well kept trade secret. Why? as its too commercially valuable.
Which is fair game, if its been done before it can be done again.
I looked at Don's work and with the support of the Corning? glass studios made some interesting explorations of glass in jewellery.