Finally I start to write about what the title of my blog is all about! “My adventures in silver”…

I took another silversmith/goldsmith class at the Revere Academy this week, called Fabrication Two with Vasken as my instructor. Photos of the projects that I made in class:



Initially I was only registered in two classes at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, and just today I register in a few more! I have decided that I am really going to pursue my passion for making jewelry, with the goal of first finding an apprenticeship in the Bay Area which I hope will lead me to the professional level.

All my life I have been interested in the Arts, if it was not drawing and painting, I was trying another creative thing. I started jewelry making when I was young, as quite a few girls do, making necklaces and such for their friends, though I think I was one of the more passionate ones about it. Many friends would come to me if they wanted a daisy chain necklace or a new hemp necklace.;-) It just progressed from there. When I was about 15 or 16, I went to the Market in Ganges on Saltspring Island (in BC, off of Vancouver Island, Canada) with my Mom. There was a necklace there made with wire work and beads, I think it was about $30 or more, which I thought was expensive at the time. I remember thinking to myself, “I betcha I can make that!” Not sure how much later it was that I was at Bead World in Victoria buying small pliers and getting some nickel wire and getting the first few instructions from the counter staff on how to make a wire wrapped bead. The first thing I made was a bracelet made from Amber, which I gave to my Mom, she still has it! I look at it now and think what I mess it looks like đŸ˜‰ Since then I have made many many more wire wrapped necklaces. I wish I had documented them all! I have more than a few lucky friends and family members that have my creations in their jewelry collections that I given away for presents for birthday and the like.

Many people have told me that I should sell my work, but I have never found the time to be able to do that. When I was going into University I wanted to take Fine Arts. My Dad’s advise was to take his version of a practical degree, and then if I wanted to still pursue the arts later then I could, but I would always have something to fall back on. So at my Dad’s advise, I have a Business degree.

Since being out of University I have wanted to return to school to do my Fine Arts degree, but I found it too difficult to leave the job that I was in to return to school and be in debt. Also I was not sure what I wanted to do with it once I completed it. I have contemplated taking a Graphic Design degree to make it so I had a skill coming out of the program. I have also always had the desire to learn Silversmith/Goldsmithing.

In September of 2003 for 8 weeks on Monday nights I took a class at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Alberta where I called home for three years of my life. I took the beginning Silversmithing class in the evening and learned to make basics of silversmithing. I loved it right away, my favourite part is still watching the solder flow… it looks so cool!

In the class my favourite project was the necklace making, so a couple months later I took a private lesson. The instructor taught me another basic linked chain and gave me some hints to how to set up a bench at home. My brother made me a simple jewelers bench and I bought a couple of the basics. I have been practicing the necklace making at home for a couple of years now.

Arriving in San Francisco I thought I would have lots of time to work on my jewelry. I found a jewelry school in San Francisco where I could build on and enhance my skills. At first I only registered in two classes.

Since arriving in San Francisco I have been trying to figure out what to do with all my time as I do not have a “real” job. Some people (parents mostly) have advised me to find a volunteer position or even a job (tho the Visa situation is almost impossible for me) to keep up my skills so when I want to return to have a “real” job market (as defined by “them”), I will not have been out of the field and it will be easier. I did try a volunteer opportunity that would do just that. Though I found that I was not as passionate about it as I thought I was. I was to be a Volunteer Coordintor for Artsfest (being a volunteer myself), my past life I have experience in Human Resources. I found I was not motivated to get the work done or do the job. Doing Human Resources work when you are getting paid is okay, but for a volunteer position I found I did not have the motivation to be there.
I don’t have a job at the moment, so this should be the ideal time to pursue my jewelry! I am in the program to complete my Jeweler Technician diploma. I will have completed 7 out of the 11 required classes for my jewelry technician diploma by the end of this February.Then will come the very hard task of trying to find a jeweler that will take me on as an apprentice. Why is it so hard to find you ask? Well…
Our instructor did his training in Paris a little more than 20 years ago. In the world today, from my intructors point of view, Germany would be the top provider of jewelers, who produce work that is very precise, well made and detailed. France would then come in second where you would find a little more of the creative side, and then Italy. In Europe you take your training or school in jewelry and to ensure that you get your essential practical experience the Government PAYS professional jewelers to take on apprentices. This is not the case in North America. Apprentices cost a jeweler time and money, so the number willing to take on an apprentice is quite low, if nil. My instructor having learned the way he did, and also being a teacher at the Academy already has a couple of apprentices and does not know of anyone else willing to take on a student… so my search begins. While I am looking for a apprenticeship I will be looking for some studio space where I can practice my skills, and start making pieces to sell. I will have to figure out a concrete plan however.

I feel that this is an ideal time to make a “go” of wanting to pursue my jewelry, mainly because I am unemployed and the visa situation in the USA for me is very difficult and I am still young! I do not want to turn 50 and say to myself, you know I wish I tried that when I had the chance… this way I will be able to “try” it and when I am 50 say… I am satisfied and happy that I did try it… and it was successful or unsuccessful, but at least I was not afraid to try. There IS a possibility that this could work out, there is also a possibility it won’t… as with many things in life…. but if we never tried or went out of our comfort zone… then where would we be?! I do not know where this will lead, and I already know that I will get a lot of opposition from people in my life, which is hard, it is hard enough to pursue something you’ve always wanted to try, but even harder when you have little support. For the moment I am very much enjoying my jeweler classes and the possibilities that lie ahead.