The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

New Approach School: Take your Jewelry Making Skills to the Next Level

Mar 8, 2012

Blaine Lewis and New Approach School for Jewelers recently opened its doors at a brand new location in Franklin TN, and we're excited to tell you about this unique place!

The new classroom boasts some impressive advancements in state-of-the-art audio/visual communication and workflow. Live instruction is captured on high-definition cameras and is viewed on three large flat-screen monitors. This allows Lewis and a select group of visiting masters to communicate the most intricate of techniques with ease. Class size is limited to 16, which allows plenty of personal attention for each student. Because the HD cameras use high-magnification, students are able to see their instructor’s work in precise detail. This visually-intensive teaching method enhances the instructors’ ability to communicate the most intricate details before the student proceeds with the hands-on experience. The instructor follows the live demo with personal attention and one-on-one instruction at each fully-equipped bench.

Seventeen years ago, Lewis pioneered the technique of using high-magnification video cameras to enhance the effectiveness of his traveling workshops, which in those days taught advanced stone setting to the professional jeweler. In 1997, Lewis opened New Approach School for Jewelers (originally located in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Virginia), which offers all levels of stone setting, soldering and jewelry repair. He also hosts visiting masters, such as Kate Wolf, to teach wax carving, and Jason Marchiafava to teach ornamental hand engraving.

Blaine has also applied his visionary teaching techniques – using high-magnification and clearly-illustrated animation – to his best-selling DVD’s on stone-setting.

In 2010, Blaine’s reputation for innovation and exceptional teaching led Tiffany and Co. to invite him to train a new generation of stone setters for their manufacturing facility in Lexington, KY. Lewis spent six months in Lexington, training over 60 new Tiffany employees.

And in 2011, in response to student requests, Lewis made the decision to move the school to a more central and accessible location just south of Nashville, in Franklin, TN.

Considering a visit to Franklin and New Approach School?

If so, you should know that Blaine welcomes visitors and even invites them to watch during classes so they can see for themselves what sets this classroom apart. You should also know that Franklin is a vibrant place with abundant lodging options that is easily accessed from Nashville.

If you do decide to explore New Approach School, you’ll be rewarded by Blaine Lewis’ passion for teaching and a truly unique learning experience!

Comments (5)
  1. I was a student of Blaine’s when the New Approach School was still in Virginia Beach. It was the best education I ever received in the field of jewelry. Blaine is wonderful teacher and I’d highly reccomend his school!

  2. I had the pleasure of attending Blaine’s first class (Bench Jeweler Comprehensive) in the new location. It was AMAZING!!! I had never done anything past using pliers to close a jump ring and there were other students who were experienced jewelers who wanted to refine their techniques. Blaine’s approach allowed each student to learn and receive individualized attention. His enthusiasm makes the learning environment fun and engaging without ever feeling pressured. I learned an incredible amount in one short week and my jewelry professional friends are highly impressed with the projects I brought home. I can’t wait to take the Graduate Bench Jeweler program in the fall! Thanks, Blaine!

  3. I would love to take some of these types of classes in my area in North Eastern PA. How do I go about to find classes being offered in my area?

  4. Hello Keefer62,

    Thanks for your comment. The Jewelers of America website is a great resource in general and offers a list of jewelry schools & training programs.

    You may also want to give serious consideration to Blaine Lewis’ instructional DVDs, “Classroom in a Box”. They truly are excellent.

    If other commenters can recommend educational opportunities in North Eastern PA, please DO share!

    Best of luck to you!

  5. Thank you, Molly. I am considering the instructional DVD. I will keep searching my area for classes, I currently try to watch any and all videos I can and just teach myself. RIO Grande has excellent technical service and the products and service are fantastic!

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