How to study jewelry-making while working
As I mentioned in my first post, I’ve met with my passion for metalsmith late, I was already working in a totally different field (I’m an engineer by the way). So when I first approached the world of silversmith I was quite worried that I couldn’t fulfill my desire to learn it while working, but I was wrong,. Here there are some suggestion for studying metalsmith while working according to my experience so far (I have a great great deal to study yet).
1. Buy a book
The very first step I took was buying a book, more precisely this one from Jinks McGrath. It was totally by chance, I just saw it in a faire. I’m really happy that it was the first book I bought tough because it is full of great picture and really covers a big percentage of the jewelry making techniques. It gave me a general idea about was I was going to learn, reinforce my will to learn about goldsmith and was an important reference in my first classes.
2. Find a basic – class that fits your needs
I live in Italy where there is a long tradition of goldsmith, but there aren’t so many jewelry making school as you may think. Luckily I found the perfect one for me “Istituti Vicenza”. I was able to do a week-end course, I was going to school one week-end a month for eight month. I really enjoyed the week-end formula instead of an intensive or night course. The advantages for a week – end course to me are: you can exercise at home between a week-end and the other (in an intensive course you haven’t the time to try at home what you are learning before the end of the course), you can focus for two full days and finish a project every month (the night courses can last just a couple of hours, that is a short time for making handmade jewelry). The week-end formula worked very well for me, but of course you will have to check what are the offers in your location.
3. Buy some tools right away and put it to good use
I bought this and this basic kit after my first week end at the course. You can at the same time buy some brass (wire and sheet) and solder. Is important to exercise the things that your are learning alone the most that you can so you can come up with question for your teacher and take the most from your course.
4. Read on internet about metalsmith
Internet of course is full of resource for learning a lot of thing about metalsmith (a list of links will be the focus of a future post). One of the things that I really try to learn on the web is “what kind of jewelry I like? What kind of jewelry I want to make?”, once I started to answered this questions I started looking into witch technique I needed to learn to be able to make the kind of jewelry that I wanted to do. Of course a great place for this researches is Pinterest
5. Find more courses – related to your wanted style
I’m still in this process. For example las summer I did this intensive three day course in Florence at Alchimia about Nunome Zogan a technique that really resonate with my taste. I also started a new week-end course in my first school about wax carving.
6…. Don’t know yet but I guess more studying
As I said I’m not a goldsmith yet, so I guess I will continue studying to became one and I imagine that I’m going to keep going even when I became one.