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Jewellery and Art


Hi Red,

Jim Zimmerman here. Heres a story for ya. About four years ago

we got a apprentice the shop from my old school. We gossip
around the bench a lot of the time about everything. So I ask
Shawn everything that was new at school. This realy got me mad
because nothing had changed fifteen years. Seeing what this kid
knew of the art and what his tuitions was, it was criminal what
the school was teaching.

	My tuition 1975 $700.00/semester
	His tui.   1992 $5000.00/semester

Their senior class had four metal major students for that year
and not all had started four years previously either. Freshmen
classes were usually twenty a year. They were upset because
admissions were way down and didn’t know why. I went to see for
myself what they were doing with the program. I talked to the
students and to teacher and asked about classes and what they
envolved. I was very disapointed with what they told me. I
asked if any of them knew how to use a caliper to measure stones
or layout jewellery with. “No, what that?” I went into the rest
of school to see if it were posible to get classes in what would
need to actauly be able to design jewellery effectively.
Perscective of small objects, which was offered in the
industrial design department. “Yes”, a good sign. “Have you
ever had a jewellery students take this class?” “No, I don’t
think I’ve ever seen one of them in the dept.” Hmmmmm. I went
back to the registar who was giving me the tour and suggested a
few thing. I think its being called being stone walled and the
suggestions were perminately pigeonholed.Hmmmmmm. So I stuck the
lession plans that I had draw up in a folder and put it in my

Two years later A really great jeweller came to work in the

shop. Lane is one of the best platinum smiths in Detroit area
and has won De Beers Diamond Today award a couple of times and
had finally finished getting his B.A. in metals from Wain State
University here in Detroit. His wife informed him that my old
school needed a new metals instructer… Why not try storming
the ivory tower and make the school in to a leader in the field.
So I talked to him about my ideas and show him the lesson plans
I had drawn up. He went into the interveiw as well prepared as
anyone could be. He didn’t get the job. The guy that did
imediatly offered an optional class in how to make wid mills
weather vains.?.

I like to try to change one more time by making a circular

letter that claerly states that there is a problem here. The
colleges are not providing jeweller/designers that we would
hire. That this is a definet disurvice to the students to lower
standard just so they can keep the tuition comming in. That
allowing students to wonder all over the spectrum of jewellery
to settle on some dead end speciality is silly and pointless;
Without at least knowing the basics.

Alpine Custom Jewellers & Repair
Zurich,Ont. Canada


Jim Zimmerman here,

I think the one thing that bugs me the most is how much

colleges cost to go ($20,000-$45,000) to get a degree in
Metals-Jewellery-Hollow ware. The grad come out with glaring
holes in their education or mistaken ideas in basic construction
theory. If I give a wax job to a new jeweller and ask him to
make pendent that is organic in motif base loosely on whats
around the Bruce Penninsula. The jeweller is able to do a
wonderfull job of making a rock form because he has studied
textures in college. Then the problems start; he has made the
pendent solid so if were cast it would wiegh two ounces. After
pointing this out he has no Idea what wall thickness it should be
or how to effectively hollow it out. The piece is to narrow and
high and will tend to flop over with the weight. I help him
allong with this. Finally he solder on the back narrowly
missing an explosion and solder the the pin on backwards or
should I say for someone who is left handed without it being
indicated on the job bag. Correcting these problems he is then
asked to pavee diamonds to look like a vain of minerals in the
peace. He simply can’t because he had spent so much time
reserching textures. Textures mostly all he did in class. This
never really happened exactly as stated but is a collection of
true events. A lot of these thing could corrected by the
teachers if they had outline of basic constuction theory to
follow in any diciplin of jewellery making and in any motif.