When I was first starting out I always asked for tools for every
birthday and holiday. That worked pretty well.
Other than that, scrounge. Hopefully your area has garage sales and
estate sales. Our area is pretty urban, so we have lots of 2nd hand
buying opportunities. I’ve found at estate sales: flex shafts,
machinist’s tools and tool steel, chasing tools, draw plates, draw
tongs, wax carving tools, abrasive wheels, files, hand drills, tin
It’s out there. You don’t need much to get started. Don’t let the
dream of a “perfect studio” keep you from making something.
Look into your state and local art councils. Some have professional
development grants. Unfortunately, you may be too young (not enough
of a track record, I mean) to qualify for some of them.
Another resource is Art Calendar magazine, they list lots of grant
To do your own grant research, visit your local Donor’s Forum
library. You can also pay someone to do your grant research.
If you are young, mobile, and unattached, why not consider a
residency? Most pay a stipend, you get access to the classroom
studio, your own studio space and free room and board. The one at
Arrowmont is 9 months. These things are a wonderful opportunity if
you can get away from your regular life. Do it now, before you have
the house, the car, the seven kids.
Or you could do a shorter stint at Arrowmont or other school, doing
a work study or a studio assistantship. Free tuition, room and
Like most metalsmiths, I hunger for tools. I’ve always found a way
to get whatever tools I wanted/needed. Nothing quite as enjoyable
as reading a nice tools catalog. The possibilities!
Do you ever look at the http://www.jewelrytoolsbymiland.com site?
Even tools that I’d never use, because, well, I don’t want to make
production bangle bracelets, his tools are so awesome, I want them
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay