Availability of classes depends on availability of instructors.
Lapidary is the art of finding hidden beauty in nature’s rocks. Cutting, shaping and polishing these rocks magnifies their beauty to gem quality. The initial course is 4-6 weeks, enough time to finish four cabochons that can be used in silver or wire-wrap classes. Other classes offered including making stone handles, polishing opals, making fetish animals, faceting, and the study of minerals and rocks.
- Festish Bears is an advanced lapidary class. Once you learn to use the saws, grinders, and polishers, and feel comfortable forming a cabachon, you might want to move on to this class. Cutting the correct size slab with the stone pattern in the best direction is important in forming this animal. Proficiency in creating curves and angles is a must to produce one of the many fetish designs available.
- Gemstone Faceting – Now, do you think you can do this? Of course, you can! There are several steps to put 57 facets on a gem, but none of them are difficult. Cutting your first round brilliant is really the hardest step, since you have to learn all the new controls and procedures. At first, you’ll need six to eight hours. With practice, you’ll only need an hour or two. Once you’re familiar with your gemstone faceting machine, you can move on to other shapes. Soon you’ll be faceting like a professional. Your gems will have more value because of precision cutting, and you can take pride in work well done.
Study of Rocks & Minerals
This is actually two classes with limited class size and largely interactive. The first is a Minerals class of three hours. The following class is Rocks and Rock identification. These classes provide an opportunity learn about Geology of our state, country and the world. See the extensive collection and learn through hands on touching and feeling of all the various types of rocks. Many of our samples are of Museum quality. No homework, just an enjoyable learning experience.
Silver beginning classes teach the use of tools and machinery to cut and shape metal (sterling silver, copper or other base metals), soldering, annealing, and pickling. Participants are provided a kit of materials that allow them to make a pendent and a ring or bracelet. Advanced classes teach more complicated methods of making jewelry or art objects.
The same techniques used to create pendants, bracelets, rings and earrings out of silver can be used with a less expensive metal – copper. Copper can be readily purchased in sheets, wire, or beads. Copper wire is used to make woven wire bracelets: add a bead or two here and there, and you’ve created your own unique pattern. Copper jewelry can also be made using the lost wax technique. Not only can you make beautiful jewelry out of copper, but you might want to try a vase, planter, or a wind chime.
PMC (Precious Metal Clay)
PMC is an alternative to working in lost wax or silversmithing. The metal clay is available in silver, copper, and bronze. The metal clay product is rolled out, textured, molded into a piece, and embellished before firing in a kiln. Once the binder is burned out in the kiln and your piece fired, you have a metal work of art. The piece is then thrown into a tumbler to clean and shine. If desired, you can add color to finished pieces with patinas, colored pencils, and enameling. Learn more…
A wax mold is placed in a container filled with a Plaster of Paris mixture. The wax is then melted out in a kiln to create a cavity (hence, the term “lost wax”). This negative copy is then filled with molten silver, copper, brass, or gold. Pendants, earrings and many other items can be created. Learn more about lost wax…
Participants learn to use the copper foil method of building a stained glass project to be used as a window hanging. The various glasses used in stained glass as well as the steps necessary to complete a project are taught. After completing the classes, members can attend open shops to make additional stained glass pieces.
Dichroic glass used in fusing incorporates two or more colors with a metallic coating. When the glass is viewed from different angles, the light creates multiple rainbows of color. That makes this glass perfect for jewelry or to give a fused glass project a bit of extra “bling.” To create these pieces, the glass is cut into shape, designed, then fused in a 1400-degree kiln for several hours. When the glass comes out of the kiln, it is ready for finishing touches, and you have a beautiful piece of jewelry.
Fused glass refers to any piece of glass formed after heating two or more pieces of glass together in a kiln. Fused glass is used to fabricate plates, tiles, bowls, jewelry, wall hangings, and other artistic creations.
Participants take a dried gourd and woodburn, carve, weave, paint, and embellish with beads, cabachons, feathers, etc. Gourds are a versatile “canvas” to create drums, masks, containers, dolls, decorative pieces and so much more.
Wire Wrap Jewelry
Participants can create beautiful pieces of jewelry by wrapping silver or gold wire to create beautiful pieces of jewelry. Incorporate pieces created in Lapidary or Dichroic Glass to create a unique piece of jewelry.
Woven Wire Bracelets
Woven wire bracelets can be made using many kinds of wire incorporated in a multitude of designs. You can use just one specific wire or choose to mix the wire; copper, bronze, gold, or silver just to mention a few. You can use any kind of less expensive nontoxic metal wire; mixed metals are currently extremely popular. Learn more about woven wire bracelets…
Beading classes are for loom beading and freestyle. Loom beading teaches how to make your design, string the loom, weave and finish your piece. Freestyle is a fun way to use up beads and create a truly one of a kind piece.
Ming trees are artificial recreations of miniature bonsai trees. These are simply made with a rock base, wire, gemstones, wire cutter, and glue. With a little looping, twisting and bending of the wire, you form the branches, trunk, and roots of the tree. The roots are then wrapped around a stone base and glued in place. Lastly, the gemstones are glued on the loops at the ends of the branches. They are typically no more than one foot tall (like true bonsai trees) and often have branches that grow flat across the top of the tree. Despite their size, they look very old, which is part of the appeal.