Design Strategies for Jewelry Makers

Course Description

About this course

Michael Boyd designed this course to help people become familiar with the established design elements and principles often taught in foundation courses at art universities. This course is not intended to replace a semester-long college course, but to introduce these theories and discuss how to apply them to jewelry.

Many artists come into jewelry making from a variety of backgrounds and are not always introduced to classic design principals, which describe fundamental ideas about the practice of good visual design. This day-long seminar will open with a powerpoint presentation on design elements and principles such as line, color, shape, texture, etc. and move on to expose students to concepts of unity/harmony, balance, scale/proportion, and more. Students will receive a series of design exercises (sketching, paper models) to help generate new ideas for their own work.

In addition, there will be a round table discussion so students can gain experience analyzing and critiquing their own work and the work of other jewelers (gently, respectfully, but also with helpful suggestions). Michael will bring a large selection of his own jewelry as well as pictures of other people’s work. Students are encouraged to bring at least three pieces of their own work to contribute to the dialogue. The end goal is for students to be able to think analytically about the components that go into a piece and how they visually relate to each other.

Michael Boyd is an internationally renowned artist who shows and sells his work at leading craft shows and prominent galleries across the country. He was one of the artists featured in Masters: Gemstones: Major Works by Leading Jewelers published by Lark Books. He also received two awards in the 2013 Saul Bell Design Competition (Second Place in Gold/Platinum and Second Place in Hollowware/Art Objects). To see more of his work, please visit his website: michaelboyd.com
Meet the Instructor

Michael Boyd

Michael Boyd is a nationally renowned jewelry designer, metalsmith, and lapidary artist based in Pueblo, Colorado.  Below is a blog article written by Yleana Martinez, that Metalwerx published in 2013.

Michael Boyd made his first piece of jewelry at age twelve. Classes in lapidary at a recreation center in his hometown west of Denver, Colorado, reinforced his love of color and design, but, in college, painting and ceramics became his primary focus. He continued making jewelry, and then, he says, “Metalsmithing just sort of took over.”

More than two decades later, Michael is internationally recognized for his stunning, elaborate jewelry and objects that combine hand-cut stones with a mix of metals. Each piece is a distinctive work of art. Stones the general public wouldn’t easily recognize are often the focus of Michael’s jewelry. Smaller precious gems take a back seat and highlight the surprising beauty of agates, jaspers, and rarer rocks such as mookaite and petrified woods.

Michael recently placed second in two categories of the prestigious 2013 Saul Bell Awards, a necklace in the gold/platinum category and a letter knife in hollowware/art objects. It was his first attempt to apply to a competition—not bad results for a first timer. “It just sounded like fun and I had a few pieces around,” he said

Lapidary became an important aspect of his jewelry when he realized he wanted to make pieces that did not include traditionally-cut stones. “I wanted shapes and forms that fit the metalsmithing I was doing,” he said. Part of the fun of doing lapidary is that he goes prospecting, sometimes taking along pack goats to carry back his stash. He has traveled throughout the country in search of rough: Montana for sapphires, Wyoming for jade, and all over the west for agate and jasper. Early next year he is joining a group of gemologists in Tanzania to mine sapphires and search for other rough gem material.

Michael is always part of Metalwerx’ Summer with the Masters series. There is typically a flurry of anticipation at the studio as volunteers prepare the studio for his return. Scaffolding is erected for the lapidary work stations, plastic sheeting is tacked to walls to protect tools and the big-screen TV, and steps are taken to ensure there is a fresh and plentiful supply of towels for cleanup.

The biggest excitement happens when Michael empties his suitcases of rough. There can be as many as 60 paper plates filled with a rainbow of rough gems for students to work with, including topaz, aquamarine, jade, rubies, tourmaline, crystal, quartz, and more. One can only drool at the selection and dream of the transformation from rough to sparkling beauty.

Students will benefit from learning how to use stone as a means of enhancing jewelry design. Michael has many tips and tricks to share about how to make perfect bezels, to set stones on top of stones, and to add embellishments. “You can buy manufactured findings—and stones– and stick them on your piece of jewelry,” he said. “I’d rather make my own findings and cut my own stones. These [skills] will make your jewelry entirely your own.”

Over the years Michael has taught hundreds of students the joys of cutting, shaping, and polishing stone. He looks forward to each workshop because inevitably, someone will ask a question that he’s never before had to answer, or he’ll discover some new and better way to present information. “It’s a constant learning process for me,” he said. “It makes you think.” But the best part of hauling equipment and pounds of rocks to set up shop for a week? “It’s fun.”

Students should bring 
  • Notebook/Sketchbook, pencil, pen
  • Several pieces of their work for discussion

Tuition

$150.00

Instructor

Michael Boyd

Date

June 23, 2015

Time

10:00 AM -5:00 PM

Length

1 day

Location 
Metalwerx
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