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No one wants to teach anymore

What is going on? No one wants to teach or train anyone these days.
Just signed up another fellow, he said to me this is getting to be a
major problem in our trade.

No one wants to take the initiative in helping others. We know of
many setters in Toronto just want to avoid letting anyone to learn
from them. Is this now a secretive society?..Why?

By the end of December, I might be all caught up. Am going to Grand
Haven, MI.

This class is over-flowing, & with a waiting list. I’ll be back in
Springtime for an advanced session. here is something very simple I
made, as a ‘demo’ for them.


I wish there were more classes here in Huntsville, but I also have
to remind myself to reach out to people I know or have been
introduced to in the field. They may not teach a class, but perhaps
give up an hour of technique work, or time just chatting about
sources and ways of trying things is more helpful than nothing.

Then again, often when I do reach out, it’s a matter of time and
scheduling which aren’t often able to be resolved. We’re all such
busy folks! :slight_smile:

I have been at the bench myself since 1975. Secretive jewelers, who
wish to guard their skills from others is nothing new. Ours has often
been seen as a relatively closed craft, where secrets are guarded
carefully by somecraftsmen.

On the other hand there have always been others who ARE willing to
take the time to help a new jeweler develop skills. Not everyone is
patient enoughto be a good teacher. Not every jeweler is willing to
help create his own future competition, or that is how some see it.
Some though find joy in teaching skills to others.

I was just at Stuller’s Bench Jeweler gathering, and there are still
generous, skilled teachers like Kate Wolf, Blaine Lewis, and others
who are more than willing to teach you tricks, skills and tools.

Teaching is a demanding trade itself, and a working bench jeweler
has limited time to also teach, but I am sure that there are still
many who willtake an occasional promising apprentice under their
wing, and help guidetheir development.

I’d LOVE to teach since after 45 years my bench days are numbered,
but the only actual jewelry school in Portland offered me $13.00 an
hour to teach.

a class of 12 each at his or her individual skill level. That’s an
intro wage in the local trade for a newbie.

The other two places are art schools. They won’t even look at me
because I do not have a Masters from a university. I’ve tried believe

The local Community colleges do not have the facilities to teach
beyond stringing and wire wrapping.

I have offered several times to help out at the one local high
school that teaches jewelry but they have never taken me up on the

Everyone wants their kids to go to college to become white collar
workers despite the huge debt incurred. I don’t hear any parents say,
“Gee I want my kid to go to a trade school and learn a trade.” This is
why I love Orchid. It gives me a chance to pass on what I know to
those who really want the info.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer


Would you ever come to the East Coast to teach?

Not only is it hard to find instructors, but you can only learn what
they are willing to teach and I was not taught anything but cabochon
setting. I will have to take a course as I save money I want to take
many courses lol never stop learning


Hi Gerry,

I still teach. Just got back from my Saturday class. But at least in
the states, you pretty much have to treat it like a religious
vocation, rather than any sort of way to make a living.

I teach my weekend class just for fun, because I enjoy teaching, and
because I figure I owe it to all the guys who helped me over the
years. There’s no money or security in it.

I do metalwork because it’s what I am. I teach because that too is a
part of who I am. Don’t have a choice in it. If it were a logical
evaluation of costs and benefits, I would have quit years ago.

That’s also part of why I chime in here on Orchid: payback for all
the people who helped me.

If you want some sense of what things are like down here, do a
little digging on some of the recent reports of the plight of
’adjunct faculty’. (That’s what they’re called here.) There’ve been a
couple of really good articles on the NY Times in the past 6-8
months, as well as one or two in the Chronicle. (Chronicle of higher
ed. (www.


1 Like

I always enjoy showing folks how to carve wax and cast. I used to
spend most of my time teaching when doing shows. Sales may have
suffered but I rely enjoyed showing the people how I created things.

Only problem is where can I teach. Maureen can’t do it in my home.

I have written and illustrated many how to papers and posted them in
Orchids “tips From the Jewelers Bench.” Teaching requires a

Lee Epperson

teaching a group, In my twenty or so years making jewelry ive
teached many what I know of the trade or at least a trick or two but
most of my experience teaching has been one to one in puppil style I
m about to go for a 5-6 people class and Im not very sure on how to
do this since I learned some from masters and a lot from books and
experimenting wreking and trying aggain, so teaching a group is not
something I know how to approach, anny tipps will be very much

PS I specialize in lostwax but i make at least half my models by
hand in metal so I cast and metalwork to.

in Tepoztlan, Mexico

Not knowing where you live or if this is feasible, I thought of
libraries and/or college student centers and/or community centers
and/or adult education in High Schools. As to the last, I know there
are school districts in mygeographic area that put out requests in
their adult education bulletins for teachers with subjects.


You can always come to Panama…

I just donated the tools for a jewelry school t the University of
Panama. Iteach for free training the professor who will be teaching
the classes. It is the only university in the country with a jewelry
school. I am like some ofyou out there. no degree so I teach those
who do have one…

The jewelry department will be a trade school so when they graduate
they can make a living doing what they studied. I donated the tools
I set up the program… :slight_smile: I have also started a program teaching the
blind how to make jewelry and cutcabochons Vision of Hope Panama.
They will be the ones who will teach the collage students how to cut
and polish stones as well as bead stringing. In between I do keep my
jewelry business running. If anyone out there would like to visit
Panama and volunteer for a few days let me know. no money but the
rewards are huge!

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Hello jo. in the 60’s and early 70’s some universities hired
craftsman based on practical experience. The best way to teach now
if you have practical experience is through sites like Ganoksin.
Some people would say YouTube is a possibility but you have to wade
through a lot of egos to find someone who has real life experience.
If you have the time… taking on an apprentice is a good way to
make a difference. Chris

1 Like

I love to teach-- all ages, and many skills/levels. I am very good
at it.

If anyone has a studio for me to teach in, I will travel anywhere
for a teaching gig if I can get expenses plus enough to make it
worthwhile (and that’s a lower bar than you might think).

I have the same problem of not having a Master’s. I also can’t do

These are major impediments at college level.

I have taught at art centers, conferences and beading events in many
states. I stopped when I took a job, but I’m trying to get back to
it. I would relocate for a real teaching job I could live on, or
maybe even for a substantial part-time one. Meanwhile, I would be
very happy to talk to anyone anywhere about workshops or whatever you
have in mind.



I teach a select few, they are students at a vocational college.
Many have some hard times in life.

They do appreciate what they learn. I also help young new jewellers.
This keeps the trade alive.

They young ones will never be competition to me until they have as
many years on the bench as I do, by then I will be long gone.

I will not teach those who simply want to go into competition
against me. I am often asked if I will teach silversmithing by failed
stall holders who simply want to make a new product for their stall.

I do teach the oldies who have made some effort to learn and ask me
how to do this or that. No problem they will not turn up on a stall
next to me. And wow it is really cool when they come and show me
their work and thank me for the info I give them. They also love

but the only actual jewelry school in Portland offered me $13.00
an hour to teach. a class of 12 each at his or her individual skill
level. That's an intro wage in the local trade for a newbie. 

Wow that is so little money, I get paid $80 an hour to teach
jewellery making. Well such is life.

all the best

Hi Teri, What part of the country do you live in? thx, Bruce

Chris- Thanks but it’s against the labor laws to have a traditional
apprentice who trades instruction for work. It’s called indentured

My jewelry prof at the U of O had a masters in Ceramics but had
worked as a professional jeweler and engraver before his eyes went
bad and so he started to teach. His name was C. Max Nixon. He was so
beloved by all of his students and friends. No MFA in jewelry but he
was still required to have one in some kind of art. We students were
so lucky to have a very artistic and skilled teacher. He could guide
you to make really wild art or to master traditional skills. His
favorite line was, in his natural voice which was so very Yoda like,
“Well now. Lets get busy.” Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

teaching is a tough job especially for this field. i want to teach
but you need to accredited or have tons of regulations to follow the
gov wants a lot for a trade class.

and you can just teach it from your home govt and people will shit
you down

but it would be fun to do as a way ro give back and keep the trade
alive sean

I run Whaley Studios here in San Diego. It’s a private jewelry-making
school where we specialize in student designed/hand manufactured
custom jewelry. We have a well equipped studio with fabricating as
well as casting and mold making tools and equipment. Our new session
started today, and we are working with almost 90 students a week in
our group and private classes.

I have 7 assistants, one of which works with me for each group class
of 12 students. With my over 40 years of bench experience, and having
previously run the UCSD Craft Center’s jewelry program for 24 years,
we are able to provide a wide variety of techniques, and almost every
hand tool you could want.

Our focus is on letting each student determine what he or she wants
to make, and providing the facility, tools, and experience to help
them make what they want. It’s a formula that’s been working great
over the years, and we have waiting lists for most all our classes.

And yes, we do make a living teaching our classes!

Jay Whaley


I live north of Pittsburgh, Pa and it seems like for me the closest
classes that people try to refer me to are in Philadelphia.
Unfortunately, people do not seem to realize how big a state PA is or
that Philadelphia is 5-6 hours away so commuting to a daily class in
Phillie is kind of impossible.

FYI Richmond, VA is about the same driving distance. Washington, DC
is only 4 hours, and NYC Manhattan is only an hour more drive. I am
closer to Eastern Ohio areas than I am to Phillie.

Teri Davis

I don’t know how it is now, but I was teaching lapidary and jewelry
making and left the school. I thought I would open my shop to a few
students and started looking into the liabilities. Needless to say,
the insurance made the decision for me. What was going to be a way
to pass things on, became a nightmare. Now I no longer teach. I went
from over a hundred students to none. Steve Ramsdell