Sunday, January 27, from 10 am to 1 pm the Tacoma Metal Arts Center will have a ring making class where students can learn to shape, solder, texture and patina silver and where students will be able to create rings of their own design. No previous jewelry experience is required. Brass and copper are provided for in class use and silver will be available for purchase from the instructor for $5 to $10. Students can also bring silver of various gauges, sheet, and wire.
There are a maximum of 8 spots in the course and the public has until the last minute (if a spot is available) to register. The class is $45, plus the $5 to $10 for silver. Amy Reeves, owner of the Tacoma Metal Arts Center, informed us that attendees could make whatever design they wanted for their ring, for example, a band ring to a thick wide band ring, or a spinner ring (a ring that’s a little bigger and floating and is attached by hammering the top and bottom edge of the ring inside).
Amy explained a little bit about the Tacoma Metal Arts Center, “It’s primarily for classes and there is also an open studio time after a student has taken a class or two, where they come in during open hours and use the tools and equipment to continue working on own their own project. The open studio is a facility to design and hands-on create your own metal work from jewelry pieces to small scale sculpture with the help of an instructor. They can continue on their own without a huge investment to buy tools and studio space.
I’m the owner and teach most of the classes. I bring in other instructors to teach different specialties. I have 14 different people that come in and offer different classes throughout the year.
We’ve been open three years; we opened in December of 2009. We’ve been three years downtown and now we’re near 6th and Proctor. We are located at 3833 6th Avenue Tacoma, WA 98406. We have a small retail area where we sell handmade jewelry and metal art pieces by the actual students and instructors in class.”
Amy commented on the ring making class: “It’s a great introduction for beginners that want to get a taste of what metal jewelry making is. You can take the class with no experience and everyone leaves with one finished ring.”
Amy discussed some of the other classes offered, “We have a casting class that is very popular, and it’s an introduction to lost wax casting. You make your wax model and make a plaster mode of that and the wax is melted out and the metal is poured in and you break the mode to get the metal out. That’s why it’s referred to as lost wax casting, as it can only be used once. We also have a “Beginning Jewelry/Metal Smithing” class. We also have an electroforming class, it’s thicker than electroplating. Electroplating is placing a thicker layer of metal that’s put over any surface and it’s strong and thick enough so that it’s a strong object on its own. If you put a thick layer over something for instance, I can make earrings that are shaped like pods, seed pods then made into a piece of jewelry. We can do on glass and melt wax out. It’s like doing bronzed babies shoes. It’s creating a hollow form.”
There is a stone setting class after the ring making class and is from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm. The stone setting class is for people with a little bit of experience and just want to set their stone. There is no time to make the piece that the stone will be set in. The class is $55 and includes materials. There will be a little bit of silver, copper, the stone setting bur, and the cubic zirconium to practice with. There will be additional items for sale or students can bring their own setting for a 3 mm faceted round stones.
All classes are intended for those age 18 and up, however 14 to 18 year olds can have an adult take the class with them.
When asked the best thing about the ring making class, Amy replied, “I like to show people a variety of ways that they can incorporate these stones to give their jewelry a more professional look without investing in a lot of different tools and how to streamline the process.”
Amy discussed the unique thing about the Tacoma Metal Arts Center, “It’s just about creating a community of like minded people with similar artistic interests and trying to bring in different talented instructors to teach the classes.”
Amy revealed what many people may not about Tacoma Metal Arts Center, “There is a studio rental where you can come in and use tools after you’ve taken a class to work on your own projects. It’s really a great resource.”
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com