Whether you're new to making jewelry or an experienced jeweler, taking classes can be a great way to learn new jewelry making techniques. However, sometimes finding classes can be more of a challenge than learning to make jewelry. I'm always on the look out for a new class to take, and I prefer not to travel, so I've had a lot of experience scouting for local jewelry classes. Here are some ideas to help you find a class near you.
Of course, first I suggest looking at some of the classs I have listed on this site such as metalsmithing classes, fused glass and lampwork classes, and also metal clay classes.
The second place I would recommend checking for jewelry classes is with your local public school system. Call your adult education office. If you’re not sure where to find it, call a few high schools or your local school board and tell them you’re interested in adult education classes. They’ll be able to give you the information you need. Once you find the adult ed. people, simply ask if they have any jewelry making classes available or know of any in the area. Also call any community colleges in your area or go by and pick up a catalog yourself.
Many rock people are also jewelry people because you have to do something with all those rocks, so this is another good place to look. Your local gem and mineral society may have classes or members who teach some where.
Check out associations such as the American Federation of Mineralogical Society for links and information about rock clubs in your area.
If you can get your hands on the May issue of Lapidary Journal, this issue has an index (published in May each year) which lists gem and mineral clubs, schools, and much more.
Even if it's well past the month of May, call your local library to see if it carries this magazine. Or better yet, just go to their site and read through their club, society, and school listings available on line.
If you live in an area that has a bead store, then this is also a great place to start learning some basic jewelry techniques. Many of these stores offer a variety of bead related jewelry classes such as seed beading, basic bead stringing, wire working, and glass bead making.
Jewelry making has become a popular art and craft, so get out into your community and do some research. Read your local paper and look for classes and clubs (bead groups, gem and mineral societies, and other artistic clubs), check with your community centers and YMCAs, network at art shows (many artists are teachers too), and don’t over look your local yellow pages.
I’ve lived in large cities and in small towns, but I have always managed to find jewelry making classes because I’ve done the research and made the phone calls. Now it’s time for you to do your homework.