Singing the Praises of High School Jewelry Arts Teachers

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Singing the Praise of Art Teachers

Recently, I was corresponding with a fellow metalsmith and heard the tale of how a high school jewelry arts teacher changed that individual’s life. This is a phenomenal coincidence to me as I owe an unending debt of gratitude to my high school art teach, Ms Helen Howell.

As an undiagnosed dyslexic, I suffered throughout my grade school and high school years. My grades and assessment scores in high school left little doubt that I was not college material. Yet, my first ever official art teacher saw something in my aptitude for color theory, my patience with challenging processes, my willingness to try again and again and again, that made her put that torch in my hand and I was hooked. But more than that she connected with me after I graduated and when she saw I was floundering she helped me get accepted to a state university, metals program.    

Once accepted to university, based on the strength of my early portfolio, there came the challenges of paying for it and navigating the academic world, but she got me to the doorstep of my future and happily gave me a shove. And I bless her for that. Decades of jewelry making (and two masters degrees) later, I had my own classes of high school students to consider as I introduced them to metals and jewelry making.

Things had seriously changed since I had attended high school. Classrooms designed for 20 students had become overstuffed with up to 37 students. Budget cuts and misguided administrations gutted supplies, tools, and curriculum. But even with all of that not so positive change there were still young people excited by what they could do with a torch, some tools and some hard work. I can only hope for those of us in the field now, who were started on this path by a great high school jewelry arts teacher, that we have passed on the passion we found to help close this never ending circle.

Here is an educational project by a dozen jewelry artists/teachers that is also a fundraising effort for the Society of North American Goldsmiths Click on the image to find a link to buy the e-book. And look for my project in Chapter 9.

Daisy dies
Set of 3 sizes

Buy Now
Tear Drop Die
Set of 3 sizes

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Heart Die
Set of 3 sizes

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Support Jewelry Education! Click on this image to purchase these DVDs on jewelry making techniques. While you're there visit my Gallery, purchase some sets of silhouette die or read some of my articles. Thanks! Nanz

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Smart Fabrication From Start to Finish

Big News!!!

I have been very busy working with the company Craftsy. I have video taped a series of lessons for them.  I covered non-traditional stone setting, rivets, and ideation in the lessons.

here is a link to get a sneak peak and 50% off of the class!

The great crew at Craftsy have done a fabulous job and it is really wonderful with multiple views of all the techniques.

Sign up, post pictures, ask questions!

Nanz' Jewelry Featured in the Puget Sound Area

  I am so happy to have my jewelry at Fremont Jewelry Design, 3510 Fremont Place North, Seattle, WA. Lisa Magetteri, founder & owner is an old friend and an all-a-round great gal. We got to know each other so long ago I had forgotten how we met. She reminded me that once upon a time we were both getting our "GG's" graduate gemology training from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and there was a week long workshop down in Portland, OR which we attended together and were roomates. Lisa took the 12 stone challenge for colored gemstone grading and passed. I was taking my diamond grading exams and passed.

Lisa continued and completed her GG, were as I got accepted into graduate school at the UW and never finished the final colored gemstone exam. But now she is the successful owner of a very cool art jewelry gallery in the funky-cool neighborhood of Fremont. If you're in Seattle go by and visit her gallery.

  Another opportunity to view and buy my jewelry will be at the Allied Arts of Whatcom County, 30th Annual Holiday Festival of the Arts. It will be held at 3548 Meridian Street in Bellingham for the five weeks before Christmas starting November 19th. While my more important (ie. expensive) pieces are at the Fremont jewelry Design Gallery, my more fun and affordable work will be available at the "Holiday Festival of the Arts." What is really cool is that I bid on and won a box of jewelry display props at the Seattle Metals Guild's Symposium last weekend. Here are some of the pieces that I will be featuring at the Hoilday Festival.


Bellingham State of Mind

My son found this video on You Tube and I am loving it! Enjoy this brief glimmer of what it is to be in Beautiful B-ham! Click the link to watch the video.

 Bellingham State of Mind

Mom, Greta, Lee, Tim and me enjoying Bellingham.



Beads for Sale

While many (very kind) people have admired my roll-print bead bracelets, which can be seen in the Gallery of my website, not everyone (and I can't imagine who Laughing) might want an entire bracelet.

So, at the urging of friends and fans alike, I am now offering my sterling silver, signature roll-printed beads for sale individually. I have posted a few on my Etsy Store, but that is not all. I will make the shape and size you would like if you want to custom order a special bead for your personal project. There is a limited amount of printed material available, so check with me to get your special bead made.


these are available at my Etsy Store  

So Proud

Hi Everyone, I have been working with some private students in my studio and I am so proud of Josette that I just had to post her beautiful pendant and earrings. As you can see We have been having lots of fun. I still have plenty of time slots available for those of you living in or coming to visit the Pacific Northwest. Contact me to set up your one-on-one time.


The photo of the earrings is a little fuzzy, but they were made using my Frame Forms. They are acrylic shapes that you can use to create the frames for filigree as Josette did for her earrings or you can use them to make frames for epoxy resin. I used the Frame Forms to make the silver frames for my new bracelet titled it "Seven Jewel Movement."


The title refers to how hand-wound watches use to be made with synthetic rubies as tiny ball bearings to keep the moving parts of the watch working. The more "jewels" a watch movement had the higher the quality and price. Since I used old hand-wound watch parts for the bracelet, I placed 7 diamonds (one in each link) as an acknowledgement of the watch-makers craft. Yes, I am having fun.

New Jewelry work

So, here is the pendant that was on the cover of Lapidary Journal/Jewelry Artist, March 2010. Photo by Doug Yaple

I was wearing it at the SNAG conference in Houston with a double strand of pistachio colored fresh-water pearls and it looked fabulous (photo to come soon). 

The other thing I wanted to show is a Swivel Locket, which I just sent in to Lapidary Journal/Jewelry Artist for publication sometime this summer. I don't want to spoil the thunder for the magazine to publish it first, but I have a Swivel Locket workshop coming up on April 11th at The Ranch  and I wanted to build some excitement for that event. This is a very elaborate version of the locket we will be making in the workshop and I was so happy with the way it turned out. Even my son said it looked like something from "ancient royal times."  Photo by Doug Yaple

Laser Cut Matrix Dies are NOW Available for purchase with PayPal!

I am so excited. I have been researching and developing these laser cut acrylic Matrix Dies since 2004 and I now have them available for everyone with the Paypal on my new Etsy store. There are Five shapes, Square, Triangle, Diamond, Rectangle, and Oval in sets of three sizes; 1-inch, 3/4-inch, and 1/2-inch for $20.00 a set. 

 The 1/2 inch acrylic Matrix Dies hold up really well. I have taught with them for the last 5 years to make sure they will hold up under regular use. In fact the first set of acrylic Matrix Dies, which I cut myself on the University of Washington's laser cutter in 2003 are still the ones I use to teach. I used the laser cut prototypes for these Matrix Die sets to make the bracelets and locket shown here. Just imagine the kind of artistic jewelry you can make with these laser cut Matrix Dies.

   I have used my laser cut matrix dies with the 12-ton Bonny Doon Lite Manual Press, a 12-ton home made hydraulic press, a Harbor Freight floor model hydraulic press (scary), and the Mark III Bonny Doon 20-ton Deep Draw Press with the 4-inch riser block in place. The clear acrylic allows you to see your roll-printed metal through the die and capture just the part of your pattern you want to have on your piece of jewelry. 

To use: peal off the protective paper film, use the die to select the area of your patterned metal, leave 1/4-inch of metal around all edges of the open area of the die, tape the metal in place over the open area of the die. Place the 1/2 inch thick acrylic Matrix Die down on the base platen with nothing underneath it. Stack the urethane on top of the metal, which is on top of the die. Pump the hydraulic press to achieve a 3-D formed shape. Anneal the metal and repeat the pressing to get a deeper draw. Thinner gauges of metal work best on the smaller shapes. 

I have even used the dies in ways that they were not designed to be used to see how the 1/2-inch thick acrylic would respond. It is important when using these acrylic Matrix Dies to place them on the solid base platen of the hydraulic press (or on a solid riser block) and not on a urethane pad nor on top of the silver or copper, as improper stacking may cause the dies to crack. 


My Modern Lockets Article posted on Ganoskin

I was talking with my good friend Julia Lowther about how publishing your work can be a double edged sword. You get paid very little from the hobby/craft magazine and then they will turn around and re-publish, re-sell what you created without even notifying you. Then the readers of the hobby/craft magazine will knock-off your work and not think twice about your copyrights.

Speaking of that very thing! It is hilarious that this hobby/craft magazine publisher continues to promote themselves and make money off of my work after trashing my name on this very same internet forum a few years back. The posting of my article by this hobby/craft magazine proves one thing: Quality of craftsmanship speaks for itself, as does the lack of original creative talent. For a little quality craftsmanship see Modern Lockets



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