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Looking for Apprenticeship opportunity


#1

Hi,

I have looked through the posting on this site for apprenticeships
before. I even interviewed with an artist I meet through this site
for an apprenticeship opportunity he had available that would have
provided a small salary and benefits. To my great regret I was unable
to take it for financial reason (I had recently graduated with a BFA
in metalsmithing and have loan to pay back as well as the great cost
to move myself out to where he was located)

I am still looking for an situation that would work for me. My
problem is that although I graduated with a BFA in metalsmithing, I
lack the practical experience of being on a bench everyday. I am
looking for a jewelry shop or independent jeweler who could teach me
the things I missed in school and allow me to hone the skills I
already have. I would love to work for a jeweler like the one I
interviewed with, a place with a nice mix of repairs, custom jobs as
well as making thing to stock his own shop displays.

I currently work at a fine arts gallery that shows art jewelry. I
have experience selling work (jewelry, craft, sculpture) as well as
extensive graphic design experience. I would love to work somewhere
that could benefit from my graphic skills as well as let me work
toward my dream of being a metalsmith full time. I do need an
opportunity that would offer a small salary/benefits so I could
support myself. I know this opportunity is out there but I also know
it is few and far between.

I turn to this forum because I have loved reading it and I know it
is full of people passionate about this craft. I have been out of
school for a while and after just getting back from 2 intensive working
weeks at Haystack Craft School I am dying to find a job in the field!!
Can anyone offer opinions, advice or opportunity?

Thank you in advance,
Jen


#2
 My problem is that although I graduated with a BFA in
metalsmithing, I lack the practical experience of being on a bench
everyday. 

Jen, I hear that a lot. Jewelry jobs demand professional level
skills in fabrication, repair, ring sizing, diamond setting, wax
modeling, casting, mold making, etc. While university programs, like
the one you attended, provide a nurturing academic environment for
training in some areas, they are not geared toward commercialism.
Academic institutions do not teach “trade” skills, the ones that are
used in the jewelry industry. Once mastered however, these skills
free you to do whatever you want; commercial, artistic, self
expressive, etc. These skills are the foundation for areas like
jewelry design, jewelry manufacture and custom design. However,
without basic bench skills, it can be very difficult to get started.

As far as apprenticeships, they are almost nonexistent in the US,
but that’s another story.

My suggestion is to look for a professional jewelry program. There
are a few schools around the US and overseas where you can learn at
a professional level and develop the skills used at the jeweler’s
bench. Some of the more serious professionally oriented schools
prepare graduates to take the national JA Bench Certification test
offered by Jewelers of America. The tests are an excellent benchmark
for trade skills used in the industry.

Bottom line: Jewelry is a wonderful field, with an immense diversity
of jobs. There is lots of opportunity for those who are focused and
motivated, and willing to pay their dues learning. The more you
know, the more options you have. And you might as well learn sooner,
rather than later. Good luck.

Alan Revere
Director

Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, Inc.
760 Market Street
Suite 900
San Francisco, California 94102
USA
tel: 415-391-4179
fax: 415-391-7570


alanrevere@aol.com
alan@revereacademy.com


#3

Jen, Let me know if I can help, I am currently taking on a general
apprentice for 6 weeks starting in mid Aug, I have 2 others here
already. If nothing else I can give advice via email if not
employment. Write me off list at @Sam_Patania. I am
currently looking for a person to fill my sales and marketing
position which has defined parameters which I would be happy to tell
you about. General apprenticeships are, even for me, becoming a thing
of the past unless the applicant was will to work for free.

Anyway write me and lets see what we can do.

Sam Patania, Tucson
www.patanias.com


#4

Jen,

You didn’t mention where you were located. If you would consider an
opportunity in a fine custom gallery specializing in designer
jewelry, please give me a call.

Douglas Zaruba
33 N. Market St.
Frederick, MD 21701
301 695-1107
@Douglas_Zaruba


#5
As far as apprenticeships, they are almost nonexistent in the US,
but that's another story". 

Alan’s points are well taken. We have been looking for an apprentise
for about a year. Currently have a summer intern graduate of Savannah
College of Art who we would like to stay but is homesick. We have
bench tested three people in the past several months and will test a
likely candidate at the end of August. May I say that the whole
process is very frustrating.

Over the course of 28 years we have taken on several apprentises.
Most have come to us with some background, a BFA in Jewelry or a
related discipline. The best of the group actually became our lead
designer for about three years…(nice fellow) he is currently
studying to become a chiropractor. The last one, a young woman,
applied twice assured me she was committed, then her husband took an
out of town job and she left after 8 weeks in the middle of our
busiest season.

Now a BFA will cost maybe $100,000 and an MFA in Metal say $75,000
more. You would think that an apprentiseship that pays a salary and
offers benefits would have em beating down the door. Not so, at the
risk of seeming to be an old curmudgeon, which I guess I really am,
seems to me that generations X, Y and Z don’t understand the concept
of beginning at the bottom. At our $9.50 per hour beginning pay
rate, an apprentise costs money for the first 3-6 months. If they
come with good basic skills they may start to make a bit of money
after that. Course then we give them a raise and the benefits kick
in.

The last guy I interviewed is 40 years old with a wife, kid and a
sucessful career. Dumb sob wants to become a goldsmith and I may
just hire him because he understands that he will have to make a
sacrifice to get where he wants to be. He asked me why I bother
with this whole apprenticeship idea. Couldn’t come up with a good
answer. Damned if I know. Maybe I need a good chriopractor.

Richard
www.rwwise.com
For Information and sample chapters from my new book:


#6
  My suggestion is to look for a professional jewelry program.
There are a few schools around the US and overseas where you can
learn at a professional level and develop the skills used at the
jeweler's bench. 

I was going to say the same thing, but I’ve said it so many times on
Orchid I thought perhaps I’d reached my limit, and that everyone was
tired of hearing me say it.

Trade school is not only necessary (on top of a BFA) but it’s an
excellent way to help you get hired in this industry. My GIA
training and trade school are the only things that ever got me work
in this industry.

I’m sure it’s disappointing to hear that you need to spend more time
and money on education. Sorry.

Elaine

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#7

Hi again,

I forgot to mention in my previous post that I am currently located
in Philadelphia, PA. I would be willing to relocate for the right
opportunity.

Jen Macartney


#8
    The last guy I interviewed is 40 years old with a wife, kid
and a sucessful career.  Dumb sob wants to become a goldsmith and I
may just hire him because he understands that he will have to make
a sacrifice to get where he wants to be.  He asked me why I bother
with this whole apprenticeship idea. Couldn't come up with a good
answer. Damned if I know. Maybe I need a good chriopractor. 

Hello Richard;

Seems like you may have just answered your own question. I hired a
guy who was a ceramicist, slightly over 40, and you’re right, it
took around 6 months before he started to cover his own wages, and it
took a lot of my time away from my work to train him, but I have no
regrets about the decision. I just had a woman, I’d guess mid 40’s,
from a medical background come to me looking for a job. I’d send her
to you but I know she’s committed to staying in the area, kid’s in
our great schools, cheap housing, etc. I don’t have the money for
another hire, but I’m keeping her resume. I sent her to my
competition. He’s got a great shop, but is notoriously stingy with
wages and tends to run his business like a sweat shop. She could
get some good training there, or it could discourage her entirely.
Maybe I’ll see her again.

My point is, there are good possible hires where you might not think
to look. People with other professional skills who want to change
careers may already have developed the patience to learn things that
take time and discipline. I’d get the word out to the local colleges,
especially any community college that has a jewelry class. And poking
around any local craft fair might be worthwhile. There are people
going out on their own, breaking even doing an occasional show, just
to pay for the privilege of doing something they like. They might
jump at the chance.

But I believe that if you don’t start nailing their feet to the
floor with an upwardly mobile wage and constant challenges and
learning opportunities, they may leave and they won’t necessarily be
giving you the honest to God truth about why they’re moving on. My
people don’t get paid huge bucks, but since they’re part time, I give
them total flexibility on their schedules, and they get to see every
aspect of how my business runs, so they know what the business has
for its priorities. Nobody is getting screwed so I can buy a bass
boat.

I’ve been raising their pay consistently, and I’m constantly working
with them to improve their skills. They’d never see these kinds of
wages for any other part time job and they tell me, this is the first
job they’ve have where they didn’t have to deal with a level of
"toxicity" in the workplace. Mistakes are tolerated, (sometimes even
encouraged!). I tell them, if you don’t want to do something, please
don’t. We’ll get it done another way. We believe in getting smarter,
no trying harder, yet we all seem to be doing our very best and we’re
very busy. And our income keeps getting better and better. Go figure.

Best of luck.
David L. Huffman