About the Course
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” ― Pablo Picasso
Develop your conceptual, technical and design vocabularies in this intensive workshop. Beginning and advanced students will discover (or refine) their creative voice as it relates to personal storytelling in the form of wearable art jewelry. In addition to instruction on metal fabrication, we’ll explore how alternative materials such as wood, bone and found objects can infuse our work with meaning. Our aim will be to challenge ourselves on both a technical and personal level, and come away transformed.
Students are asked to bring evocative found objects from their collections with them to the workshop. From tin types, lenses, paintbrushes, wishbones and gamepieces to river rocks and gemstones, we will use these objects as inspiration for our designs and incorporate them using a variety of connection methods.
Metalsmithing techniques will be introduced each day, starting with a strong foundation in hand fabrication skills. Demonstrations will be tailored to students’ experience levels and interest. Possible demos include cutting, texturing, forming, riveting (and other cold connections), soldering, stonesetting, finishing, patination and wirework, along with more advanced techniques as needed. Students will also learn how to make their own chains, ear wires and other findings to complement their designs.
New or reinforced foundation in basic metalsmithing skills and hand-fabrication techniques
Confidence operating a torch independently
Fundamentals of jewelry design and order of operations
Ability to combine traditional and nontraditional materials
At least one finished one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry
Pam Robinson is a Chicago-based jeweler, artist, educator, arts administrator and hockey fan!
She is currently the Education Director for The Furniture Society and is the founder of Garnet Studios - a community-based jewelry studio where she creates custom one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, teaches classes, and manages a group studio. Pam was an adjunct professor at Loyola University, and worked at Lillstreet Art Center where she taught classes, was the Director of the Metalsmithing, Jewelry & Glass department and was their Director of Education.
Growing up in Chicago, Pam was fortunate to be surrounded by so many resources rich in the arts. She started making jewelry when she was in high school but had always been painting, drawing and throwing an occasional pot or two since she was a small child. Inspired by creating jewelry and small metal sculpture, it was only fitting for her to attend The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After receiving her BFA, she apprenticed for many jewelers over the years doing bench work. This is where she really learned the finer points of the business as well as the craft. It was when she attended The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) that her love of gemstones really became apparent. She began using them in most of her work.
She is a member of The Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) and served on their Board of Directors. In 2019 she received the SNAG Volunteer Recognition Award for her service. She is currently on the board of the Women’s Jeweler’s Association (WJA) — Chicago chapter as their Programming VP and was a founding member of The Chicago Metals Art Guild (CMAG).
She is proud of her community outreach work, has exhibited her work nationwide, published in books and magazines, and is happiest when she’s in her studio creating and sharing her passion with others.
IG: @rhodalite44, @garnet_studios FB: Pam Robinson Design Website: http://pamrobinson.squarespace.com/
No prerequisites – beginners through advanced students are welcome – the instructor will meet you where you are!
What You Need To Bring
Assorted small found objects and/or alternative materials (consider bottle caps, broken glass/china/mirror, rusty washers, game pieces, printed tin, plastics, lenses, driftwood, pebbles, beads, leaves, coins, leather, paper ephemera, fabric/fiber, bone, shells, hair, etc.)
Jewelry or metalsmithing tools you may already own (be sure to label clearly with your name)
Ultra-Fine & Thick Permanent Markers (like Sharpie)
Sketchbook or Notebook
Apron or old clothes
Small hand towel
Metal wire, sheet, tubing, chain and findings (bring what you have)
Vision Aids (e.g. Optivisor)
Gemstones (cabochons or faceted)
What Is Provided
Copper, Brass and Sterling Silver Sheet, Wire and tubing for all projects
Consumables (solder, flux, pickle, patinas, sandpaper, etc.)
Tools & jeweler’s benches
Fine pointed paintbrushes (6 each)
Blue Painter’s Tape
0000 Steel Wool
Liquid Dish Soap
Various empty tubs and jars with lids