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Suggestions for a class at a museum

Hi All,

I have been invited to give a one day workshop for beginners at a
local museum with no budget and no tools. I’m stumped. I’ve asked for
some clarification on age, workshop size and budget. Am waiting.

Help! Any suggestions are welcome.

Here is the request. Tomorrow is Wednesday.

“Do you have any workshops or classes on relatively simple metal
working techniques? Something that wouldn’t require a large
investment in materials and tools for the students, and would be
relatively short? I’m trying to think of something that people could
sample, to get them interested in doing more. I’d be willing to try a
one-day workshop to start with. If you do, please let me know asap;
my deadline for the winter session of classes is this Friday.”

Thanking you in advance folks. In Orchid I trust.

Karen Christians

Karen -

What about some fold forming on simple copper shapes? Should be
relatively creative and not require a lot of time. Alternately, for
maybe older students, have them saw out an animal silhouette from
white brass (Ni alloy), drill hole = pendant.


"Do you have any workshops or classes on relatively simple metal
working techniques? Something that wouldn't require a large
investment in materials and tools for the students, and would be
relatively short? 

One way to teach principles of repousse is to use common aluminum
foil, preferably heavy duty. The only tools are a teaspoon and a
butter knife. Cardboard is sufficient for working surface, rubber
mat is better. Designs are traced with butter knife on one side and
volumes pushed out with tea spoon from the other side. Care is
required not to damage the foil, of course. It is very effective
method because instead of concentrating on hammers and punches,
student gets to the heard of repousse, which is use of areas stiffen
by deformation as a foundation for raising a volume. It is also easy
transition to next step of using thin copper with the same type of
tools, just a bit sturdier. When student gets to heavy gage metal,
correct use of punches and hammers comes naturally.

Leonid Surpin

No budget? No tools? No Class.

Folks just don’t understand that it takes a lot more tools and
equipment to make jewelry that to make a painting or drawing. Even
Art professionals like the museum staff. That’d be like asking a
ceramicist to teach a class without a wheel or kiln.

The easiest is to teach some bead stringing or wire wrapping. They
can get that class at the local bead shop.

I’d recommend a slide show of your work, the techniques and tools,
and a discussion of how to market your work. Basically a lecture
instead of a workshop. Also a talk or tour of the metals work that
the museum has already.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

Hello Karen, What about a class on jewelrymade from assembled
findings? Using shanks, bezels, heads and emblems, could be
interesting. With cold connections, no soldering need be necessa ry.
Maybe they could make something with 2 pair of pliers, a small
hammer and a steel block. Have fun.

Tom Arnold

No budget? No tools? No Class. 

Not quite right Jo

Many years ago I taught a couple of jewellery classes in a college
craft studio. Charge them $10-$15 each and go buy some tools. Maybe
not the best and they did have to learn to share. Second class had
better/more tools. Of the 10 students I had 2 went on to a real
school, political one did a crash and burn the other probably still
on the bench. Pretty fair numbers considering I started with nothing,
better than my school masters who had real budgets.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

Hi Karen,

Wolf Myrow has some thick copper bracelet blanks (1 1/4"x 7" ).I
think they are 1.00 or .75 a piece,check with them on the size.
Texturize the cuffs with a rolling Mill, sand and bend.

I do this with my jewelry students a Tolland High School.

Visual presentation
handing out supplies and worksheet
Sketches and approval of designs
guided production at the rolling mill.
LOS if desired, Sanding and Bending.
Wa la a finished piece they can take home.

The rolling mill, LOS, baking soda, toothbrushes and container for
LOS are really the only things you need. You could ask them to bring
in the sanding paper and textures to the workshop.

Sounds like fun!! Helen Wyland- Malchow

Hi Helen,

Thanks for your idea. There is no rolling mill where I am headed.
Lots of people have been giving me some good ideas, and I think I am
headed into “tin can art” with rivets and wire. Lots can be done with
a simple tin can and snips. Sort of fun outsider art. I got an
amazing tip from David who suggested bending paper clips and I can
give a talk on Calder.

I teach for a living, and was just stupmed on this one. Very spoiled
at my teaching venues that have rolling mills, hammers, etc. Was not
used to thinking up things to do on the fly. Resin inlay is always
fun too and I have copper pipe that I cut up into slices.

Thanks all for your suggestions.

Karen Christians

My introduction to jewelry making came when I was in high school,
and I will never forget the project. It was an Egyptian coil
bracelet. I was hooked on jewelry making from that point on. All that
was required was copper wire, 20 g is probably fine, and a pair or
round nose and chain nose pliers. If you google Egyptian coil
bracelet, you will come up with some instructions.


Sounds good!! Hope you have fun. I am teaching a "Design in a bag"
classs next at our weekend retreat for polymer.

Happy Hoildays,
Merry Christmas, Helen Wyland- Malchow

Karen, Newbies are always impressed with hammer-texturing on metal.
All you need is a chasing hammer (or small ball peen hammer), an
anvil of some kind, a pair of round-nosed pliers, and some cord for
a necklace. Give them a 1 x 3 inch piece of annealed red brass.
Using the pliers have them bend one end of the brass into a loop for
the cord (bend either towards the front or the back). Then show them
how to texture the metal with the peen of the hammer (holding the
loop off of the edge of the anvil). If you have access to a jeweler’s
saw or files, before they bend the loop, have them taper the end of
the sheet to make a narrower loop. The anvil can be a piece of flat
steel, the end of a 2 x 4 of wood (different textures result). I
also buy end cuts of 2 x 3 inch steel bars from a local metal fab
company for small anvils. The metal will, of course, tend to curl
upon the edges, which makes for a great 3D shape. The hammering
makes for a great burnished look (so you don’t need polishing
equipment). If you have access to a flex shaft machine do a
variation. Instead of bending a bail with pliers, hammer texture the
entire piece and then just drill a single hole at the top of the
piece. Thread the cord through the hole, place a bead of so me sort
on the cord, thread the cord back through the hole and now you’ve
added a bead to the hammered piece. If the museum sells any kind of
beads in the gift shop, consider using those. For another simple
variation, hand them a half round file and have them put some
scallops along the edges.Simple, burnished gold color (with an
optional bead), fabulous texture, three dimensionality, a couple
inexpensive tools. If you pre-cut the brass there is little set up
or clean up. Denny Turner in San Diego

Karen - where I live everyone is only interested in what I call
"make and take" workshops. I show up with tools and materials; the
fee they pay covers everything; they walk off with a finished piece.
Everyone is happy.

One folks love is to make cuff bracelets. I use 18 gauge, their
choice of copper or brass, cut 1" wide and 6" long. I bring an
assortment of hammers and stamps; bench blocks; saws and some really
cool beginner’s bench pins I got from Rio that clamp the metal; a
bracelet mandrel; and one acetylene air torch for ME to use to anneal
the bracelets as needed. They learn to hammer, saw if they want,
file, sand, watch me anneal, then they shape the bracelet on the
mandrel and walk out with a finished piece they love. I usually have
one or two sterling silver blanks on hand just in case anyone wants
to pay the difference. Around here they almost never do.

I also do a class where we make earrings and a pendant - I bring in
purchased findings for the ear wires and bail; they do the metal
work for the dangles and pendant. For that one I suggest they bring a
leaf to trace, and I also bring templates of leaves they can trace.
They cut out their leaves - small for the earrings and larger for the
pendant - then hammer to texture, file, learn to drill, and again, go
home with a finished product.

At Christmas time I do an ornament make and take - 3" squares of
copper or brass, bring the tools and templates, they walk out with
finished ornament.

Good luck!

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio