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Setting up Jewellery classes

Hi all, I am about to set up some jewellery and Silversmithing classes
for both recreational students and the more serious student who may
want to apply new techniques to what they already know.

It would be interesting to hear about other people’s experience in
this field. I would also appreciate hearing what kind of topics you
would expect to be covered in a short course on jewellery. I am not
interested in gem setting and the more specialised side of jewellery.
I want to give people a basic grounding in fairly basic techniques.
Obviously they have to enjoy themselves otherwise they may not come
back again!? I am also planning to do a Silversmithing course along
the same lines, but perhaps this is a little outside the scope of this
mailing list?

Thanks for all your thoughts and ideas in advance.



Check this list’s archives, as similar questions have been posed
before and one contributor discussed simple ring making classes he
offered on the street to whoever came by while he was exhibiting. As
I remember, they were a smash, people loved it. There have also been
threads on setting up classes for middle school students and the
projects used.


Richard, I once looked into teaching lapidary classes. Personnel
injury insurance stopped the project. I cannot remember the figures,
but it was exorbitant. Most classes are run within a system, either
state, community college, or locally funded. The system covers the
insurance liability. A point the insurance brokers brought up to me
is very well taken. Even if you have the student sign a statement
relieving you of liability you can still be subject to litigation.
You can be sued for improper instruction, equipment malfunction, and
improper supervision. Brokers told me that juries will side with the
student most of the time. Even if the student signed a statement
stating otherwise. Thus I do not teach, do not have a factory, and
do not have employees.

Gerry Galarneau

Hi Richard,

Where will you be offering your classes?

Recently (1-1/2 years ago) I opened a small fine arts school in
central NJ, and 7 months ago we expanded it to include a Contemporary
Pottery Studio (a paint-your-own-pottery store). One of the classes
we’ve added that has been successful is a workshop in making jewelry
using wire-working techniques. If you’d like to know more, please
let me know what you would like to know about - I can tell you length
of workshop, marketing, student feedback, etc. You can e-mail me if
you’d like. Take care - Arts.

Hi Gerry, I will have to take out public liability insurance. We are
not such a litigious nation as the US, so I think that signing a
contract would not be a problem. How can a student sue for improper
instruction? It could be just as much the students problem as the


Yes. Ring-making is very high on the list of what people want to do.
It’s amazing, really, how deep the desire seems to be. I do ring
making with high school students too, and casting wax or found shapes
is a great thing to do. (Using the Delft sand casting method using
mostly pewter, and stg sil for some of the adventurous kids.) I’m
coming over there Richard, will have my ‘Sreet Jewellery’ gear as I’m
doing it in Massachusetts!

B r i a n � A d a m S t r e e t J e w e l l e r y
Auckland NEW ZEALAND ph/fx +64 9 817 6816
Street Jewelry Massachusetts, Jul29 + Aug5 latest pics

Sounds like a great idea. I miss the fun from Art Metals where we
were able to experience different ideas and use the creative side of
metal and heat. I found that with the structured class I learned so
much about the basics and fell in love with fabrication and the feel
of metal and tricks to efficiency but with art metals I was able to
do more since the limits were less. We tried everything from
reticulation to chasing and lapidary. Students that want to expand
will bring to the class and the teacher guides. I have found with
teaching the first class is a trial and you learn from that class how
to make the next more interesting and it becomes a challenge to keep
up with their ideas and keep them interested and challenged. The
silversmithing sounds great. Free form is great but if you start
with some structure the students have and place to begin and build
from. Your classes sound like fun. Teaching is very rewarding and I
wish you luck. There is nothing better than to find minds that are
ready, willing and able to go the distance. There is a look in the
eyes when you know you have reached them. Pat

Hi Arts, Thanks for the reply to my questions. I am establishing a new
workshop (in the UK of course). I am principally interested in taking
on students who will want to come back on a weekly basis for a couple
of months. Either to learn the basics or to improve their skills. I am
not interested in the more specialised type of jewellery as I said.
People could use cabochons and pre cut stones of various sorts. I
would be quite happy teaching the very very basics such as cutting
metal, shaping, how to use hammers etc. I think that jewellery will be
more popular than Silversmithing, perhaps people assume they will have
to buy silver to do it. Any suggestions and ideas would be greatly


Richard I go to a Jewellery and Silversmithing class at a local adult
college. Our tutor is leaving at the end of this term and we haven’t a
replacement. If you or any other Orchid reader live in the Malvern
Hills area, Worcestershire, UK let me know and you may have a class
very eager to meet you. Ann Simcox.


I’ll chime in on this one too. After teaching numerous classes in
beginning jewelry - advanced levels, and running a school for both
adults and kids, the number one priority is structure. Give them a
couple of projects, beginning with a band ring or ring of some type.
A simple band ring will teach students about (not in order)
measuring, cutting, filing, annealing, texturing, forming, soldering
and finishing. They will walk around with their first ring and
display it proudly. Other beginning projects could be setting a
cabachon stone for brooch or pendant, or a hammered bracelet. I have
learned that adults are destination driven. Kids are in love with

If you have any questions regarding our syllabi, supplies, etc.,
email me offline and I will help you any way I can.


In the beginning class I teach sawing, sanding, filing, polishing,
use of the flex shaft, soldering, jump rings, rivits, textures and
whatever the students ask about.

I encourage them to come up with their own ideas for projects. Some
students appreciate more guidance, so it is helpful to have some
sample projects for them to use if they wish.

Northern Illinois

When I took my first jewelry making course, at FIT, I asked the
instructor if we would learn how to make a ring (a plain simple band)
and he said no. I was very disappointed! I got some books and sort of
taught myself, but it wasn’t until a couple of years later when I took
another class at C. Bauer Studio that I learned how to do it properly.
It’s not hard to do, but it’s much easier to learn when someone shows

Listen to the questions your students ask, that will give you an idea
of the things they are interested in. Gail Middleton Brooklyn, NY

Hi Ann, sorry to hear you are losing your tutor. Unfortunately, I
don’t live in you area. I really love the Malverns. Sorry I can’t
help. Richard

I would like to know where your Fine Arts school in central NJ is, as
I live, work and teach in central Jersey myself. Could you please
email me with your location and phone number? I’d love more info.
Thanks! Dawn Hale @Dawn_Hale