I am preparing to approach the local Community College with a
plan for a beginning jewelery class. This would be part of their non
credit program and for beginners /hobbyists. I am looking for
suggestions of simple projects involving sawing, filing, forming
with copper, brass and maybe some sterling that would be good to
use. Probably no torches.Also, what type of support from the school
might I expect as far as materials and tools. Are these costs
usually a part of the students fee?
Charlie, this is something I have been doing for several years.
Currently I do one-day, Saturday classes (in Syracuse, I used to do
ten-week, once-a-week evening classes) – all but the chainmail
class require that a basic jewelrymaking class be taken first. That
class requires the purchase (as part of the class fee) of a kit of
tools (jewelers saw, blades, pliers, etc.) I cannot use a torch in
the classroom I use.
I begin with a project which I call “folded pins.” I furnish a
choice of 3 patterns and encourage any who have more designing
confidence to use scratch paper and fold it into a pattern of their
own choice. This pin project teaches pattern transfer, sawing,
filing, some hammer-shaping, folding metal, and doing a patina. I
also show them how to set a cab using prongs sawed up from the sheet
metal and how to saw their own jump-rings. If I have time, I show
them wire twisting (using a cup hook in an old manual drill).
After that, I teach them how to make wire coils into earrings and
(if there’s time) how to make the “Egyptian” bracelet. I used to
start with the wire coiling, but since more students have trouble
with sawing, I now begin with the pin project.
Most of my students are older women who are beaders, and they are a
great group! They come already motivated, and they know how to work.
I only use copper, brass,and nickel-silver (since the processes used
are also good on silver).
As for support from the community college, they order and pay for
the tool kit, and the price of that is included in their registration
fee. I put each student kit together (maximum of 12 in a class), and
I bring extra wire and sheet and a small selection of beads and cabs
and sell them to the students at my cost. If you furnish anything of
value to the tool kit, I think the best way to cover your cost is to
ask the college to pay you for an extra hour (assuming you are paid
by the hour).
My classes involve carrying a lot of my equipment back and forth,
which is tedious. I now have two lockers across the hall from "my"
classroom, in which I keep many things, and that is a great help.
I’ll be glad to answer any more questions you may have (although
I’ll be in Europe and the Middle East for a month, beginning near the
end of September). I hope you’ll enjoy this kind of teaching as much
as I do. Many fewer of my students sign up for “advanced” courses,
such as low-tech photo-etching, etc. But it’s always fun, and the
feedback is always an “upper.”
All the best,