Wear Your Story: Narrative Jewelry Class - Cast Bronze Nose Ring, Thumb Ring, Pinky Rings & Toe Ring - Mendocino Art Center

Wear Your Story: Narrative Jewelry Class - Cast Bronze Nose Ring, Thumb Ring, Pinky Rings & Toe Ring - Mendocino Art Center


My primary aspiration as a teacher is to help nurture my students to accomplish their personal goals.  All students are in transition. Their stories and motivations for taking classes, whether towards a degree or a weekend workshop are as diverse as imagination can conceive. What binds all students though, is that they are all trying to get to somewhere other than where they are now. On day one, whether it's a two-day workshop or a full semester class, I ask all my students what their goals are in signing up.  From that point on, until they tell me differently, I strive to encourage them to accomplish their goal.  I think its imperative for teachers to help mentor their students to become who they want to be, not who the teacher imagines them to be. I think there is probably no other profession, where idealism is more relevant. 


Some of the places I’ve taught and presented at are:

  • California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA

  • College of the Redwoods, Eureka, CA

  • Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

  • Flux Metal Arts, Mentor, OH

  • Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX

  • Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA

  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA

  • League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, Hanover, NH

  • The Makery, Bulverde, TX

  • Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, CA

  • MetalWerx, Waltham, MA

  • Millersville University of Pennsylvania, Millersville, PA

  • Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, CA

  • Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland, OR

  • Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC

  • Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, San Francisco, CA

  • Saddleback Community College, Mission Viejo, CA

  • Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara, CA

  • Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA

  • University of Houston, Houston, TX

JEWELRY WORKSHOP TOPICS: A selection of workshops that I teach. 

These topics can accommodate a variety of time frames and student experience levels. 

- FROM THE BEGINNING: An Introduction to Jewelrymaking

In our short time together we will cover the basics of jewelrymaking. The class will include design and layout tricks, a historical and contemporary image survey, safety & studio set-up, making magic with the jeweler’s saw, proper filing techniques, soldering strong joints that can’t be seen, various metal finishes from shiny to textured, forging basics, bezel stone setting, what tools & equipment to acquire and much, much more.  If you’ve ever wanted to try jewelry making or want to improve basic skills this is your chance!  Open to all skill levels.  Materials fee required.

- WEAR YOUR STORY: Narrative Jewelry     

This class will explore the broad range of historical and contemporary uses of the narrative or storytelling element in jewelry.  We will utilize many techniques to integrate a variety of potentially unique materials.  Some techniques will include miniature tap and dies, nuts and bolts and other cold connections, casting and mold making, ferric chloride etching with PNP image transfer, traditional stone setting used in untraditional ways and much more.  This class will be pivotal for anyone who wants to make jewelry with a personal meaning. Open to all skill levels.  Materials fee required.


The underlying concept behind almost all stonesetting techniques is to mechanically entrap the stone.  We will explore the roots of this idea to come up with new and exciting ways of incorporating common and odd-shaped stones, found objects and metals that can't be soldered into jewelry.  Bezel-setting, graver-setting, channel-setting concepts will be discussed. Non-traditional ideas such as nuts and bolts, sewing techniques, use of diamond drills, burs and saws, glues and adhesives and other cold connections will compliment the traditional ideas.  The use of wax in casting will also be utilized. Open to all skill levels.  Materials fee required.


Small metal casting is one of the most common contemporary jewelry manufacturing techniques that actually dates back thousands of years. This course will describe how small metal casting has evolved from low tech to high tech. The focus will be on the assisted casting technique of centrifugal casting. We will discuss other direct casting methods as well as ingot molds, cuttlebone and sand casting. We will cover waxwork and model making, paying special attention to the vast array of commercial waxes available and their specialized properties. The course will also explore various moldmaking techniques such as vulcanized rubber and RTV rubbers. In addition we will cover alloying, and post-casting metal finishing. Open to all skill levels.  Materials fee required.

- MAKE IT! WEAR IT! PASS IT ON! - A Jewelry Design Jump Start

Almost all jewelry makers from beginner to advanced can use a creative boost to add vitality to their work. This class will utilize a variety of technical and creative exercises to help you develop and expand your design concepts. The design exercises are best kept as a surprise, but some of the techniques the class will cover include miniature nuts & bolts, imaginative cold connections, low-tech photo-etching, innovative stonesetting, incorporating found objects and moldmaking for casting. Come ready to try new things and be open to new experiences. Open to all skill levels.  Materials fee required.


I can’t promise you that by the end of the class that you’ll be a master at all the techniques that you’ll be exposed to.  What I can promise you is that you’ll have a good understanding of a large variety of stone-setting concepts. From there you’ll be able to chart a path to discerning what’s relevant to your work and knowing what you need to further explore.  In our time together, participants will learn and practice: innovative bezel setting tips, prong-setting, channel-setting, flush-setting, graver-setting, gypsy-setting and more.  The class will benefit students from beginners to advanced, who want to learn more about stone-setting.  Open to all skill levels.  Materials fee required.


In just two days we’ll cover the entire lost wax casting process, plus you’ll make two sterling silver rings! One ring will be made with carving wax, the other with wire wax.  On day 1, we’ll cover the casting process, wax working tips, you’ll make your two wax jewelry prototypes and we'll invest your wax rings in casting plaster.  Overnight the molds will burn the wax out and then on day 2,  we'll cast your rings. You will learn how to take a rough casting to a finished piece of jewelry with tips on filing, sanding, polishing.   Open to all skill levels.  Materials fee required.

- KEEP IT ROLLING - A Rolling Mill Intensive

 The rolling mill is one of the most important tools in a jewelry studio, but do you really know how to maximize its potential? This workshop will help solve that dilemma. Technical topics will include: rolling mill care and maintenance and how to make it be a forever tool, what different kinds of rolling mills are available, forging with the rolling mill, successful milling of sheet and wire ingots, texturing with the rolling mill and more. Projects will include casting an ingot of recycled sterling silver and milling it out into sheet and wire, making your own bezel wire, roller print textured brooch made from milled-out, recycled sterling silver, rolling mill forged sterling silver ring, rolling mill forged brass or copper bracelet. Open to all skill levels. Materials fee required

- MELT, ROLL, SHAPE, TEXTURE, SET – A Jewelry Making Journey

This class will lead you on an expedition filled with twists and turns to explore a variety of core metalsmithing skills that culminate in a series of technical samples and a finished pendant and ring. First, using either your own or purchased recycled sterling silver you will cast two ingots - one rod and one sheet. Then, with the help of the rolling mill along with hammers and anvil surfaces, you will shape this metal into useable stock. Next, you’ll learn two faceted stone setting techniques: flush setting and tapered bezels. You'll practice flush setting faceted stones and how bezel blocks can make the complicated process of fabricating a tapered bezel setting become extremely easy. From there, you’ll design your ring and pendant - making esthetic choices of stone placement, texture and shape. For the pendant, you’ll learn how the bail is both a critical design and functional element. Pepe Tools is generously supplying a variety of rolling mills for this workshop. Basic jewelry making skills required. Materials fee required. 

 - CREATING STONE SETTINGS: Baskets and Bezel Blocks 

This class will combine two most requested settings projects, how to make your own basket settings and how to use bezel blocks. Participants will not only learn how to fabricate the settings but will also how learn how to set round and oval faceted stones. First, we’ll do a series of exercises that will teach the core principles of stone setting, then we’ll move forward into how to use premade jigs to simplify the basket setting fabrication process. Tips on how to build your own basket setting jigs for custom sizes will also be presented. We’ll not only show how to solder these settings together, but also how a laser welder or precision arc welder can simplify the process if one is available.  

 Making a tapered tube setting can be a frustrating shape to fabricate using traditional methods. Bezel blocks make the process be super easy! We’ll show how you can use bezel blocks to create complicated settings in minutes and with very little effort. Bezel blocks can be used to make bezel settings, tapered tubes, prong settings and wax settings for casting. 

 Participants will have the option to make a finished pendant or ring with the settings that are created. This class is open to beginners, but basic metalworking and soldering experience is required. Materials fee required

- WELD IT!  Pulse Arc Welding For Jewelers And Metalsmiths

Precision welding technology has revolutionized the fabrication process for jewelers and metalsmiths.  The need for clamps and tweezers has almost entirely been eliminated. One can just hold parts together and weld them into position.   All welding is under a microscope, so detail is incredible.  Welding can happen right next to stones or other heat sensitive materials. Not a replacement for the torch and traditional soldering, but a life changing complement to the torch. This class will cover the basics of pulse arc welding and a pile of tips and tricks to help you reimagine how your work is created.


Wax can be an invaluable tool for stonesetting. It’s particularly helpful when setting oddly-shaped stones, channel setting and gypsy setting. This class will feast on a banquet of tips and tricks related to casting, wax working and stonesetting: including layout, wax carving symmetrical and asymmetrical designs, casting stones in-place, hammer-setting both symmetrical and oddly-shaped stones. The class will also cover an introduction to the lost wax casting process, which will include rubber moldmaking, investing, casting and finishing. Our week together will be invaluable for any jeweler who wants to create their own settings to incorporate stones into their work.


Big is beautiful! This class will explore the special qualities necessary to make large cocktail rings.  How they fit on the hand? How they are engineered? How to make a large ring be comfortable? Using either stones that you supply or ones brought to the class by the instructor for purchase, students will learn about bezel and prong setting larger stones.  Use of found objects will also be explored.  Fabrication and soldering skills will be emphasized. Open to all skill levels.  Materials fee required.