Friday, May 2, 2008

Topic Overview: Making Silver Jewelry

I have two kinds of silver jewelry in my jewelry box: the kind from the jewelry store, and the kind I've made myself in various classes. I wear it all, but it's the hand-made stuff that typically garners attention and compliments.

If you'd like to try your hand at making your own silver jewelry using metalsmithing techniques, you have several options.
One excellent local instructor is Andre'a Jackson, of F.C. Drea Jewelry Design. She offers 11-week classes starting in late May ($345), as well as private lessons and jewelry-making "parties." A few years ago, I took a one-day workshop Jackson offered through the IUPUI Community Learning Network. In just eight hours, I made a ring, necklace and bracelet and learned a wide range of basic metalsmithing techniques.

IUPUI now offers classes with a different instructor, Mary Tinkle. Sterling Silver Jewelry 1 meets June 28 and focuses on making a ring or pendant. Cost is $99 plus a $15 materials fee. (If you've already taken that class, Sterling Silver Jewelry 2 meets tomorrow.)

Another option for silver jewelry classes is the Indianapolis Art Center. The center has several general metalsmithing classes this summer, as well as an eight-week, jewelry-specific class that meets on Tuesday evenings in June and July ($268). Not prepared to make a semester-long commitment? You'll have to wait for the center's fall calendar for any weekend workshops related to silver jewelry.
An alternative to traditional metalsmithing techniques is precious metal clay (PMC), a clay-like substance that turns to silver when fired in a kiln. It's easy to use and provides instant gratification. I've taken several great workshops on this material at the Art Center, but there aren't any currently scheduled. I'll post those as they come up.

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