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[Opinion] Good trade schools


#1

Hi all; I have a co-worker who is a competant bench repairperson,
but would like to learn wax working, some design, and the more
advanced stone setting techniques. I don’t think she’s decided
whether she’ll want a long term program or shorter studies. I’m
suggesting she go to the Rio Grande workshops this spring, but I
think she’d like more one-on-one. I’d be glad to train her, but
I’ll never be given that chance, unless she were willing to
drive 35 miles each way to my home studio to watch me. I went
the BFA/MFA metals and jump-from-bench-job-to-bench-job-for
20someyears method. Worked for me, (but then she can see the
results. . .grizzled old cynical bench rat that I am). What
are your suggestions for both long-term schooling and short
studies. Revere? GIA’s too expensive, Bennet School? etc.?

Thanks in advance

David L. Huffman


#2

David,

There are a lot of schools offering degree programs, and several
centers on the East coast offering workshops. If you want
intensive, practical bench training, however, the only schools
that I would recommend would be the Revere Academy in SF and
the NewApproach school operated by Blaine Lewis in Virginia
Beach. I have taught at both schools and the facilities are
excellent. The instructors (besides me) are all topnotch
professionals. This is where I sent my son for additional
training…and where I take workshops, too.

You can get info on either school on the web.

zaruba


#3

For the advanced setting training, Blaine Lewis at The New
Approach School in Virginia Beach. My helper and one of my studio
mates went there a few months ago (Dede was there) and it was
amazing what they learned. Blaine is an excellent teacher and
takes it very seriously.

Design, on the other hand, is tough- I know very competent bench
people who have no design skills at all. It is more a process of
looking carefully at things, and deciding what works, and using
those elements. Design is the artistic side of making things, as
opposed to the technical process.

Rick Hamilton


#4

Hello:

Rick, I work with several really amazing bench jewelers who
claim they can not design. I have a design background and my
bench skills are good but I am on the same level as my studio
mates.

We have worked out a deal with each other where they help me out
from time to time with technique (I blew them all away with what I
learned at Blaine’s school!) and I help them with design.

The essence of design is finding out what you as an individual
really like- do you like colors, textures, certain shapes, organic
elements? A part of this journey of self discovery (corny but
true) is too lay your hands on tons of visual reference-
magazines- art books- spend a day in the library- surf the web
and research things you are drawn to. Design is a skill- there
is nothing magical about it. It is something you can learn and
discover within yourself- you just got to open your eyes and look
around you!

I know a handful of people who work for Aaron Barsha (the baby
shoe guy or the place that sells the baby shoe charms)- who ever
thought that expensive enameled gold baby shoes would be such a
hit! But it is. It was a great idea- they are cute and Aaron
Barsha has been able to create great sentimental value around
the pieces.

Anyone who has a problem with design - just take some time and
think and remember no idea is too silly- come on- baby shoes!

dede