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Jewelry classes in phoenix az

Jewelry classes in phoenix az
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A metalsmith and her wall hangings

Arizona Artist Series: Melanie Channon Q&A

Melanie Channon is a scientist who makes beautiful wall hangings that will leave you breathless. 
One of her pieces, Octopus is currently being featured at Arizona's Herbergur Theatre's Face Off Exhibit with some other amazing artists until January. 

Metal and stone wall hanging of an octopus
You can see more of her work on her instagram



How did you get into metalsmithing?

  I took a class at Harold Studio in February 2013 and immediately fell in love with manipulating metal.

What inspires you?

  Metalwork made for religious purposes and/or royalty in the middle ages.  Pieces like reliquaries and crowns that were obviously time consuming and painstaking to make.  I really admire the dedication it took to make them.  I strive to reflect that kind of dedication in my pieces, even though they are not for religion or royalty.  

What is your design process?

  I try to think of things that I personally like (skulls, animals, characters) that would accommodate a lot of metal techniques (gems, rivets, etc.) and interesting details (textures and patterns).  But really some of what I consider to be my most creative design ideas have come from the logistics of trying to put the piece together.  For example, some of the designs that I do with rivets were partly out of necessity to attach the different components together.  

  However, I also purposefully try to use different techniques for each piece, both to challenge myself, and to distinguish the style of the pieces from each other. So, sometimes the image or character that I come up with is from what I think would be a cool image that is suited to whatever new or different technique I want to use.

Metal and stone owl wall hanging



What is your favorite tool?

I think this changes around a little depending on what I'm working on.  But, because I do so many rivets I really love my flush cutters.  I paid a little more for a decent pair, and I'm really happy I did. https://www.riogrande.com/Product/Italian-Flush-Cutters-TR5000R/111105 I also love all of my stamping/chasing/repousse tools.  Some of which I've made myself and some that I've purchased.  I probably like the ones I've purchased a little more, just because I'm not that good at making them yet, lol.  I also could not live without my miter cutting jig; I can't even cut a bezel straight without it. https://www.riogrande.com/Product/Economy-Miter-Cutting-Vise-and-Jig/112700

What is on your bench right now?


Coincidentally, both my flush cutters and my miter cutting jig, along with various sizes of drills, a center punch, a small ball peen hammer, a large half round file, safety goggles, metal scraps, and my medusa piece (but I'm actually not working on Medusa at the moment; I'm working on signature tags for my skull and owl pieces).  Plus, all the other stuff that normally lives on my bench: all my other hammers, other files, stamping/chasing/repousse tools, pliers, saw, flex shaft accessories, bench block, wood block for drilling, etc.

messy bench with metal and tools scattered around

5 Tips on creating with intention

how to be creative and productive

How to create with intention.

It's so easy to focus on the negative, or the overwhelming list of things to do. The reason I am drawn to create is because it forces me to focus in the moment. But sometimes I can get so caught up in the process of making jewelry, I lose track of time and, more importantly, the goals I have for myself.


Jeweler's Saw: Picking the right saw frame

Picking the right jeweler's saw frame:


There are a few things to consider when choosing a jeweler's saw:

• What you will be cutting
• The intricacy of your design
• The size of the piece of jewelry

This is your standard jeweler's saw. It is a great starter saw frame and we use them in all of our Jewelry classes at the studio. I like it because it provides a lot of stability(which is important) when sawing and it can cut out most projects.


shallow frame saw for making jewelry



Jewelry Flexshaft: The all around good tool

A good flex shaft is a staple at every jeweler's bench.


 It is hard to go very long without one because flex shafts have many uses including:

• Polishing
• Stone Setting
• Drilling

Flex shafts generally come in three parts:

• Motor
You want to elevate the flex shaft motor so it doesn't allow any kinks to get in the line that connects the motor and handpiece. The motor is generally controlled by the foot pedal. Foot pedals are not all created equal. Nicer ones can control the speed at which your handpiece spins. This can really come in handy when setting stones.

• Handpiece
Pink flexshaft handpiece and chuck key
This is where all the action happens. A standard handpiece uses a chuck key to tighten the jaws around any polishing tool or setting bur you may be using. There are some quick change handpieces that do not require a chuck key. If you have a little extra to spend, I was recently given a quick change handpiece and it seriously changed my world. I am so in love with it!

• Footpedal
Foredom footpedal for jeweler's felxshaft
So, what is a good quality flexshaft to buy?
Foredom is a big name that comes up over and over again and is known for their quality.
This is a great set with everything a new jeweler would need to start using a flex shaft except for the hanger.
This one has a c-clamp so you wouldn't have to drill any holes into your workbench.





Upcoming Classes

We have some great classes scheduled to start in the next couple weeks!  Click on the class to register or for more information.

Also, the studio will be closed this Wednesday, January 21 and will be open on Thursday from 12-3pm.



Make jewelry in spinner ring jewelry class
Spinner Ring - Saturday January 17th 1-4pm

Learn to cabochon, tube, and flush setting
Stone Setting - Tuesday 6-9pm - Begins January 20th
Learn to solder, saw, pierce, rivet, texture, patina, and set stones
Jewelry 1 - Friday's 12-3pm - Begins January 23rd
Learn the jewelry enamel technique of Cloisonne
Cloisonne - Saturday and Sunday January 24 and 25,  9-5pm









Here are a couple charts to use!

chart to use to determine size of band
Add caption
compare metal gauge to inches and mm

Ho Ho Ho

The Christmas Party was a great success!  Fun was had by all and we really appreciate all of your support!  We will be closed for the holidays from Wednesday, December 24 - Thursday, January 1.  We will reopen on Friday, January 2.  We hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We have lots of classes starting in January.  Take a look:

Jewelry 1:  Mondays 6-9pm, starts January 5
Jewelry 2:  Tuesdays 6-9pm, starts January 6
Jewelry 3:  Wednesdays 6-9pm, starts January 7
Treasure Box:  Sundays 12-3, starts January 11
Stone Setting:  Tuesdays 6-9pm, starts January 20
Cloisonne:  Saturday and Sunday, January 24-25, 9-5
Filigree:  Saturday and Sunday, January 31- February 1, 10-3
Wire Wrap Bracelet:  Tuesday, January 6, 6-9pm
Wire and Sheet Making:  Saturday, January 10th, 1-3
Finishing:  Saturday, January 10th, 3-4:30