Getting Started

If you love jewelry, have ever wondered how a piece was made, and are eager to create something meaningful with your hands, then you've found the right place! At Metalwerx, we teach people how to make unique jewelry, vessels, flatware, and small metal sculptures from start to finish.  Not only do our students gain the skills needed to create jewelry, but we also teach about the value of handcrafted objects. 

Where to begin?

Our introductory courses cover fundamental jewelry and metalworking techniques, good studio habits, safety, and the appreciation of quality craftsmanship:

  • Saw and pierce designs in sheet metal
  • File, sand, and polish metal for a professional, refined appearance
  • Learn to solder and become confident with a torch
  • Make your pieces stand out with stone setting, texturing, adding a patina/color, and more.

Weekly Introductory Classes:

For those who live in the region, our weekly Jewelry 1 classes focus on creating sample pieces as well as applying these skills to finished jewelry, such as a band ring, stone set pendant, cuff bracelet, etc.  Each teacher adds his or her own creative twist to projects, so the syllabus varies slightly from class to class.  Classes meet once a week and run for 8 – 10 weeks.

Weekend Introductory Workshops:

We regularly offer "Introduction to Jewelry" workshops that are two or three days long.  These intensive courses cover most of the skills presented in our Jewelry 1 classes.  The main difference is time in the classroom (In longer classes, projects can be more involved and there’s more time to practice).  This fast-paced version is a perfect option for the beginner on the go or for those who just need a quick refresher.  No experience is necessary.

One Day Workshops:

Not ready to commit to a full course?  Get your feet wet in a one-day workshop.  Metalwerx offers a wide array of short classes designed for beginner to intermediate students.  This is a great introduction to the possibilities of making your own jewelry with the goal of creating something new to wear in a day.

Where to go from here?

Jewelry II and topic-based classes further explore jewelry fabrication in constructing hollow forms, wax work, casting and mold making, enameling, metal clay, fusing, classical chains, design and layout. Students need to have the basic skills learned in our beginner courses in order to take these classes.

We also offer a substantial number of technical workshops covering all facets of jewelry making and metalworking with visiting artists from across the country. These courses last one to five days to introduce unique concepts and help hone skills. Workshops in mechanisms, advanced stone setting, mokume-gane, precious metals, chasing and repoussé, chain-making, soldering and finishing techniques are part of our curriculum. Innovation is at the forefront of our class structure allowing for workshops in the latest techniques with the flexible shaft, hydraulic press, engraving, stone setting, fold forming and lapidary techniques.

Our workshops also reflect Metalwerx's commitment to the metal arts. Investigation in contemporary and conceptual metal arts allows us to explore our innate need to embellish while examining ceremony, ritual and metaphor. Some of the workshops that address these issues are Designing with Stone: Beyond Basic Lapidary with Michael Boyd, Found Object Art with Sarah Doremus, Lend Me Your Ears: Earring Fabrication and Design with Paulette Werger.

What do I need to bring to class?

Metalwerx has plenty of tools to use and share during classes. Most classes have Student Supply Lists, which includes things that would be ideal for each student to bring with them to class.  Beginner classes often only require a sharpie marker, notebook, and possibly a couple items you can pick-up at any local hardware store.  Advanced classes may require students to bring more specific tools to class.  These lists are sent to us by instructors and compared to what we already have available for students.  If you ever have questions, just ask! We try to keep student supply lists reasonable and accurate to what will be needed. 

When you are ready to purchase your own tools, please keep in mind that there are an incredible array of tools available for metalworkers/jewelry makers.  We could write a book on our favorite things... However, the cost of tools and equipment can add up quickly so we have created a list of "Beginner Tool Kit Suggestions" that are helpful for any home studio. 

As you continue to learn new skills, you will probably find there are more wonderful tools you want to purchase so you can do more in your studio.  We suggest purchasing items once you know you like them—you don’t have to get everything all at once.  Make informed investments so that your tools don’t collect dust. When you have questions or are ready to get in a new tool, we’re happy to help make recommendations…because we love tools too!

Click here to see a detailed list of tools and supplies we recommend.