New Class Information and POLL RESULTS!

WHAT’S NEW!?

Tai here… sometimes I do a really bang up job putting a class schedule together. Then… sometimes… I do something like not put a single class on the schedule that deals with how to finishing and polish your jewelry for MONTHS ON END.

I’ve been getting so many questions about finishing and polishing and that forced me to face the fact that I totally dropped the ball on this one. So who wants to take an Elements of Finishing class, with a side of Flexshaft Basics? One night, mostly lecture and demo, but TONS of info to take home with you and get you going. We will talk about theory of polishing, common mistakes, supplies and equipment options and more. $50 or free with the purchase of a flexshaft. Let me know, people!!

CABOCHON OF THE WEEK!!!

We’ll get to this week’s gem of a cab in a minute….but first! Results of last week’s poll! If this is you first time receiving the newsletter, let me give you some context….last week, I had asked for help settling a running “conversation” Tai and I have been having for FAR too long about color theory…which really came down to, is it (“it” being the cab, or the watercolor paint, or the traffic light, etc etc ad nauseum)..is “it” blue, or is it green?! In this case it was this beautiful aquamarine cab pictured below….
And you, loyal readers, did not disappoint! 48 of you weighed in to give your HIGHLY varied opinions, and several participants delivered even MORE color choices! Mainly grey. Or grey-green. Or greenish-blue…or blue-grey…ish…you get the picture! What really tickled my goat was the creativity in which you explained your color choice….and the logic! Especially concerning monitor calibration….my goodness. I know where to go now when we start picking colors to paint Tai’s house! (Yes Tai, you will get a vote, but remember this is a democracy here.)

Thanks for participating guys! And without further ado…. the winner (by a hair) is….
green!

38% of you agree, it’s (mostly) green. AS IT SHOULD BE! Let’s do this again next month, shall we? Too, too much fun.

AND NOW FOR THIS WEEK’S SELECTION!

If you’ve ever photographed small, shiny things, you know how FUN it is….no really, because if it’s not hard, its not any fun! I’ve been trying for weeks to capture the beautiful blu(ish)-purple tones in this amazing little pietersite cab…..you know how some gems just have LIFE in them? This is one of those gems. We’ll work on doing video next, so you can see how AWESOME the chatoyancy is on this cab and all its little pietersite brothers and sisters. $65 to take home this 14x22mm beauty! Or 20% off of that if it’s purchased in class!

There is still room!

(click on the link to find information about the class and PICTURES!!! of the project)

Design with Silver Scrap, Wednesday, April 25, 5:30 – 8:30pm (I) $50 (prereq: SS2)
skills: Fusing sterling silver (yes, it can be done!) and having another way to use up all that silver scrap you have. Happening tonight, Wednesday April 25! 

Twisted Wire Pendant, Thursday, April 26, 5:30 – 8:30pm (I) $50 (prereq: Beginning Wirework)
skills: twisting wire that actually does what you want it to, making a pendant with just wire and a cabochon or other small stone. Learn how to make the bail too!

Silversmithing 3, Saturday, April 28, 10-5p (A) $105 (prereq: SSI and SS2)
skills: making a custom bezel out of backsheet and bezel wire to fit a freeform cabochon, and soldering that either to a bail for a pendant or a ring shank to make a ring. (No unfortunately you can’t do embellishments, I already asked.) Make sure you are able to pick solder independently before signing up for this class!

Beginning Prong Setting, Monday, April 30th, 5:30 – 8:30p ($85 includes all materials!)
skills: How to pick a gem that will be easy to set…working with PREMADE calibrated prong settings and calibrated gemstones….which are included, by the way! Bring your favorite pliers, or use one of ours.

Pendants I: Bails, Tuesdays, May 1&8, 5:30 – 8:30p  (A) $95 (prereq: SS2)
skills: All the different ways you can make a bail for a pendant, including some you never even thought of. Will also get to work with the rolling mill and set small cabs in premade bezel cups. VERY GOOD PICK SOLDERING PRACTICE if you’ve recently completed SS2 or SS3.

Rings I: Stacking, Tuesdays, May 1&8, 5:30 – 8:30p (A) $95 (prereq: SS2)
skills: Two HUGE things…..how to plan out and document your work, and how to make five rings that are all the same size but not the same shape (so, some wire rings, some ring shank rings, hammered rings….look at the picture on the web download for an idea of what all those people on Pinterest have been doing!) More opportunities to practice pick soldering and stone setting.

 
UPCOMING OPEN STUDIO TIMES

Wednesday, April 25th, 10-5
Thursday, April 26th, 10-5
Friday, April 27th, ALL DAY!
Monday, April 30th, 10-5 with BONUS HARRY INCLUDED
Tuesday, May 1st, 10-5
Wednesday, May 2nd, 10-5

As always, call ahead and if class ISN’T in session, chances are excellent you can come in and work.

CLICK HERE to see our online class list!

Tip of the Week!

Making ear wires ahead of time is a total time saver!! But I notice I have a hard time making 50 pairs of earrings match well enough to be total mix and match… so here is what I do. I make earrings two at a time, and make them match. Then I hook them together with the openings designed to hang things from. Then I make and match more pairs. When I store them in bags, I know I can pull out a matching pair any time I need them.

You’re welcome! Enjoy the sunshine! Come take a class when you’re too sunburned to stay out there.

 

New Class Information April 18, 2018

WHAT’S NEW!?

Jumpringer/Flexshaft Combo

Have you been thinking about buying a flexshaft? What about a jump ringer?  If you have, this is totally your lucky day!!!

We JUST got in a combo buy with the Foredom Flexshaft SR and a Pepe Tools jump ringer that you can get for $412!!! That is *almost* a free jump ringer!!! OR you can buy the Pepe Tools jump ringer separately for $249.

Remember, any flexshaft purchase includes the Flexshaft Basics class for FREE!!!!

CABOCHON OF THE WEEK!!!

PLEASE, please please will you help settle a….let’s call it a “discussion”….between myself and Tai regarding the finer points of color theory. See, we’re almost positive we’re not seeing the same colors. (Admit it, you’ve always wondered if the red you’re seeing, that you call red, is the same color Jimmy across the street sees, and ALSO calls red….like, how would you ever know?!?!?!)

Case in point…..this awesome aquamarine. I’m willing to bet that if I asked Tai what color this is, it’s not the same as what I see. So I wonder if you’re willing to take thirty seconds and tell us what you think…..is this cab in the blue color family, or is it in the green? I’m so emotionally invested in this argument DISCUSSION!!! that I’ve even figured out how to create an internet poll, just to make my point.

I promise this is completely anonymous and purely for fun. Help us answer once and for all, if one of us is color-blind. And then come visit the beautiful cab in the store! Or just bring it home for $50 and end this silliness. Please. I’m kind of obsessed right now and it’s not helping.

There is still room…

(click on the link to find information about the class and PICTURES!!! of the project)

Advanced Byzantine Options, Monday, April 23, 5:30 – 8:30pm (I) $50 (prereq: knowing the Byzantine weave)
skills: Level up on your Byzantine weave! Learn how to scale up or down the Byzantine you already know, how to make variations on the weave with a Byzantine knot or even gemstones.

Byzantine Bracelet, Wednesday, April 25, 5:30-8:30pm (B) $50 (prereq: none)
skills: Make jump rings look like they’re ready for prom with this complex-looking but super easy to learn weave! Literally all you need is jump rings and two pliers.

Design with Silver Scrap, Wednesday, April 25, 5:30 – 8:30pm (I) $50 (prereq: SS2)
skills: Fusing sterling silver (yes, it can be done!) and having another way to use up all that silver scrap you have.

Twisted Wire Pendant, Thursday, April 26, 5:30 – 8:30pm (I) $50 (prereq: Beginning Wirework)
skills: twisting wire that actually does what you want it to, making a pendant with just wire and a cabochon or other small stone. Learn how to make the bail too!

Silversmithing 3, Saturday, April 28, 10-5p (A) $105 (prereq: SSI and SS2)
skills: making a custom bezel out of backsheet and bezel wire to fit a freeform cabochon, and soldering that either to a bail for a pendant or a ring shank to make a ring. (No unfortunately you can’t do embellishments, I already asked.) Make sure you are able to pick solder independently before signing up for this class!

 
UPCOMING OPEN STUDIO TIMES

Wednesday, April 18th, 10-5
Thursday, April 19th, 5:30 – 8:30pm
Friday, April 20th, no open studio nada
Saturday, April 21st, no open studio nada tambien
Monday, April 23rd, 10-5
Tuesday, April 24th, 10-5
Wednesday, April 25th, 10-5
Thursday, April 26th, 10-5
Friday, April 27th, ALL DAY!

As always, call ahead and if class ISN’T in session, chances are excellent you can come in and work.

CLICK HERE to see our online class list!

Tip of the Week!

I know I talk on and on and on about making teeny tiny jumprings, but… they come in incredibly handy, and if you can make them yourself, you get exactly what you want! In Earrings I, for example, one of the options is soldering very small earrings on to posts to allow for dangles, or to solder same to bezels, to *make* dangles. To be able to just make those babies is a huge relief.

ANYWAY- finding the right mandrel to wind and cut tiny jumprings on is kind of a bear. But here is an idea- take 10 or 12 or 14ga copper (brass works too) and put one end of a 3-4″ piece in a vise and the other end in a drill. Pull back and turn the drill on slowly to twist the wire. This will harden and straighten the wire and make it into a perfect mandrel for winding your jumprings. You can even saw into it, like we do with the wooden dowels!

New Class Information April 11, 2018

WHAT’S NEW!?
New Rolling Mill Patterns
We just got in a HUGE order of rolling mill patterns including several new ones- so excited about all the new possibilities! If you have questions about using these patterns, we have several classes coming up where you will get to try them out- Pendants II (wonky prong), Rings II (wonky prong or fidget), Pendants I (bails), Earrings I (soldering posts), Pendants III (3D rivet), Box Clasp, Keum Bo, Woven and Riveted cuff… it just goes on and on…
Fretz Hammer shipment
Have you been waiting for us to get your favorite Fretz hammer back in stock? Well, we are all stocked back up!

CABOCHON OF THE WEEK!!!
Tiffany Stone is an amazing material. The colors and variation in the matrix make it one of those stones that causes that pattern recognition center in your brain to start spinning for joy. There’s some discussion in the shop about this one in particular, because we all seem to see something different…Jessica and Shari, a couple of lovely regulars for open studio time, both see a ship at sunset….Brad sees a landscape, as does Tai; although hers is a little more descriptive, being a post-apocalyptic mutant badger on a irridium-saturated shoreline….which makes my ballerina dancer on the shore at sunset seem downright BORING!
But this stone is ANYTHING but boring, I really hope someone can save me from buying it for myself because I kinda LOOOOOOVE doing pendants that look like landscapes. Ideally someone who wanted to also take Gem In Stone would buy it, and put the most perfect little round “sun” in there to complete the illusion….. roughly 60x90mm and $125, but remember, if it’s purchased during class its 20% off!

THERE IS STILL ROOM…
(click on the link to find information about the class and PICTURES!!! of the project)
Metal Clay II, Wednesdays, April 11&18, 5:30-8:30 (I) $95
skills: build on skills learned in Metal Clay I, learn to set stones and which stones can be fired, create most complex designs including bails…
Brass/Copper Etching, Thursday, April 12th, 5:30-8:30 (B) $85
skills: different ways to transfer designs to metal, including PNP paper, how to prepare the metal, ideas of how to use etched pieces and etch 2-5 pieces in class
Silversmithing II, Saturday, April 14th, 10-5 (I) $105
Cold Connections I, Monday, April 16th, 5:30-8:30 (B) $50
Pendants II/Wonky Prong, Tuesdays, April 17&24, 5:30-8:30 (I) $95
Rings II/Wonky or Fidget, Tuesdays, April 17&24, 5:30-8:30 (I) $95
 
UPCOMING OPEN STUDIO TIMES
Wednesday, April 11th, 10-5
Thursday, April 12th, 10-5
Friday, April 13th, 10-2
Monday, April 16th, 10-5
Tuesday, April 17th, 10-5
Wednesday, April 18th, 10-5
Thursday, April 19th- no avail
As always, call ahead and if class ISN’T in session, chances are excellent you can come in and work.
CLICK HERE to see our online class list!

Tip of the Week!

So I’m kinda curious how many people know about our Shopify site, and that not only can you register for classes online, but there’s also an ENTIRE COURSE CATALOG for you to peruse? Just in case you’re curious about some of those classes that only come up once or twice a year….or you’re looking for the next challenge and are wondering what else would be fun (silly question, its ALL fun!), you can find inspiration and information all by clicking the link.

And if you’d rather, come in the store and outside the classroom are printed descriptions for all classes…..now with an index page!

New Class Information March 21, 2018

WHAT’S NEW!?
IT’S SPRING!!!!!!!!!
I’m so excited about the longer days I can hardly stand it! What does this have to do with learning to make jewelry, you ask? Not much, but it does make it easier to drive to classes in the evenings, AND it makes me happy, so… that is enough, right?
Silversmithing I, II and III on three days in a row!
April is the month where you get a chance to get your silversmithing on all at once!!! This class is great for people that have to travel, or just want to get a leg up in a short amount of time. It is a super fun format where you get to know your classmates a little better and actually end up with more time to work because we only have to go through the formalities once. Plus… we might cook for you. It could happen…
Primitive Casting, anyone?
Fourth of July comes with very ackward timing this year, landing on a Wednesday. Now, I have lived in Minnesota long enough to know that this is one of your most important holidays of the year and NOBODY messes with your 4th plans. But… I (Tai) still have to plan a class schedule and my boss won’t let us close the store for the whole week, so… I have to ask.
Would any of you be interested in taking the Primitive Casting class on July 7th at my house? Think of it as a party with lots of fire and molten metal. We would do a potluck lunch, possibly with a grill involved, and you could meet my crazy dogs (but they would not be around the fire and you could opt to not be around them. Not, this will not hurt my feelings), and it is just crazy amounts of fun. Your family could even drop in for lunch and to see what it is we are doing.
To re-cap, this is the class where we melt your scrap silver (or you might even want to buy more) and pour it, molten, into water or wet broom straw or ice cream salt or a sand mold. I might have said this before, but it is SO. MUCH. FUN.
Just reply to this email to tell me if you are interested and think you might be around.

There is still room…
(click on the link to find information about the class and PICTURES!!! of the project)
Earrings 1 – Posts, Wednesdays, March 21&28, 5:30 – 8:30pm, (I) $95
skills: making posts for earrings, the primary skill being how to solder something really small to something bigger without burning up the smaller piece. Yes you need to take a class for that. Or figure it out yourself, but spend just as much burning up silver just trying to figure that out. Seriously the class would be cheaper.
Pendants 1 – Bails, Wednesdays, March 21&28, 5:30 – 8:30pm, (I) $95
skills: Bails and also embellishments on pendants, including using a rolling mill pattern. Did you know there’s like eight different ways to make a bail? Oh really? Can you name them? AND each of their unique advantages? Then you better come to class.

Fused and Woven Chain, Saturday, March 24th, 10-5, (I) $105

skills: fusing fine silver, weaving intricate pattern, using draw plate to smooth chain. Result is an amazingly beautiful chain!
Stackable Soldered Rings/Rings I, Saturday, March 24th, 10-5 (I) $105
skills: more pick soldering!! making rings, planning complex project, bezel setting stones
Silversmithing III, Saturday, March 31st, 10-5, (I) $105
skills: soldering, fabricating custom bezels, bezel setting, can make ring or pendant
 
UPCOMING OPEN STUDIO TIMES
Wednesday, March 21st, 10-8:30
Thursday, March 22nd, 10-8:30
Monday, March 26th, 10-5
Tuesday, March 28th, 10-5
Wednesday, March 29th, 10-8:30
Thursday, March 30th, 10-8:30
As always, call ahead and if class ISN’T in session, chances are excellent you can come in and work.
CLICK HERE to see our online class list!

Tip of the Week!
I’ve always believed passionately in the power of magnification, but as you might imagine, the topic gets nearer and dearer to my heart the older I get.
There are many styles of wearable magnification out there, but the most ubiquitous might always be the good ole Optivisor. This is my go-to, as it is many other jewelers.
But did you know you can get LIGHTS for them!?!? It is yet another game changer. At first, I didn’t see how it could really make that much difference, but it completely eradicates shadows from your perspective. This makes a HUGE difference!!
Anyway, in case you couldn’t tell, I’m a fan, and they are only $25-ish… totally worth it!