Designing a Jewelry Set in an Online Class

Everything is closed at Fleisher Art Memorial because of the pandemic so they have moved many of their classes online.  I decided to take a class called Designing a Jewelry Set with teacher Maureen Duffy and I am loving it.   Registration for the summer term at Fleisher has just opened and if you are interested in taking Designing a Jewelry Set, you can sign up here.

Our first assignment was to design some rings, just brainstorming and not worrying about how or if we could actually make them.  Here’s what I came up with:

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(A note here,  I use MS Word to draw.  For more information on how to do this, watch some YouTube videos here.   It’s a handy tool and you don’t need the latest version.)

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My classmates and I bounced ideas off of one another and I got the idea to use ceramic pieces in some of the rings.

 

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Trying to figure out how a ring would look with a ceramic focal and how to make it.

 

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Our teacher advised us on how we might execute our designs  told us about web sites and jewelry artists who were doing similar things so we could see their design processes.

I actually tried making a couple of the designs in bronze.  I don’t think the ring with the ceramic focal is very practical, but it was fun to try.

Next assignment:  design earrings that harmonize with the ring designs.  Here’s what I have so far:

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Again, I drew the designs in MS Word and will  attempt to make a few in bronze.  I’ll let you know how they turn out.

Fleisher is offering an array of  online art classes for the summer including a class in jewelry wax fabrication with  Hratch Babikian who is an extraordinary teacher.  You don’t have to be local to Philadelphia to take these classes, and the tuition is very reasonable.

 

What I learned from Susan Lenart Kazmer at Beadfest

Some Yoga breathing and stretching before you start the class sets a good tone for the rest of the day. I love Yoga but it can be tedious torture in the wrong hands.  Susan’s warm-up exercises lasted just long enough, and were very effective.  The soldering gods were with me the entire day.

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Our Classroom

I have never before taken a class at Beadfest.   I made an exception this year because the prices were attractive, ($165.00 for an all-day  metal class with a great teacher like Susan Lenart Kazmer is  a bargain) and because I needed to pull myself out of a slump.  I knew the class would be great because I took a wonderful class with her a few <ahem> years ago.

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My jumble of tools

There were only 8 people in the class (most people took classes earlier in the week) which meant it was easier to get help if you needed it.  But Susan’s demos and explanations were so good that I didn’t need much assistance.

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Susan Demonstrating

The class was on box making.  Only the boxes didn’t open.  Instead, you could write on the boxes or leave a hole to slip a message inside the box and only the maker and wearer would know what it was. A kind of talisman or prayer box.  I liked that idea.

Oneof Susan's box pendants
Here’s a side view of one of Susan’s boxes.

Here are some process pictures of my box as I assembled it.  We could elect to make earrings or a pendant and I went with the pendant although I started on a pair of earrings that I didn’t finish.

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Here’s my finished pendant

I tried hanging the pendant from a silver chain.  That didn’t seem right.  The pendant demanded something a bit more substantial.  It is, after all, a box.  Then I remembered the fabric necklaces I have been making. Check my Instagram feed for some pictures.

 

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I pulled out three fabric ropes I’d made from silk, fabric I’d screen printed, and  part of an old curtain.  I think I’ll use the box pendant with these.  I am in the process of deciding whether I want to make sterling end caps or fiber end caps.  But I think I already have the perfect clasp.

I learned many more things in the class but I don’t want to post them on-line out of respect for the teacher’s work product.  But there is something I will share and believe me, if I had learned nothing else from the class, it would have been worth it to learn an incredible bezel-cutting tool.   I am not ready to throw out my miter jig, but I will never again use it to cut bezels.

The Whaley Precision 90 Degree Bezel Cutting Shears have a guide attached to one of the blades that insures  you cut a straight edge every time.  Eurotool makes this incredible tool, and you can buy them here.   For a video of the shears in action, press here.

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Miracle Bezel Cutters!!!

 

Thank you Susan Lenart Kazmer and Beadfest!!!

What I’m Doing this Summer

Last month I went to a Fleisher Art Memorial Sanctuary Series lecture called Jewelry Design with Hratch Babikian.    And that’s how ended up registering for a Pendant making class at Fleisher Art Memorial.  After seeing examples of  Babikian’s work

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including his deftly-formed chains and exquisite clasps, I think this class is one I should not miss.

The class will  cover making jump rings and connections, design, forming and forging. For a full description of the class and registration information, press here.  To see more examples of Babikan’s work, press here and here.

That’s not all that’s happening.   Fleisher has a new jewelry studio  with a custom-made table with eight jewelry stations.

 

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Fleisher is also offering a cold connections jewelry class this Summer.  For a description and registration  information, press here.   And they will be adding more equipment to the jewelry studio in the future and offering more  metal and jewelry classes.  

But wait, there’s more.  If you’ve always wanted to learn Shibori dying, the Japanese technique where you fold, twist, stitch and dye fabric with indigo,  Fleisher is offering a class this summer with fiber artist Marie Elcin.   

 

 

And be sure to check out Fleisher’s web page for information on classes like kiln-fired glass,  Art Quilting and many others.