Are you are looking for your your next jewelry-making class? Or perhaps your very first? Give yourself the gift of furthering your jewelry-making skills in a formal classroom, right here at Rio Grande! Our fall classes have been filling fast, but we still have some seats open in the next few months. Just come as you are—we provide all tools and materials.

Here’s a run-down of upcoming classes:

Clasps x 2 (2 Clasps / 2 Days)
September 16 & 17


Clasps x 2 (2 Clasps, 2 Days) Class

You’ll learn from John Cogswell, a metalsmith and jeweler well versed in stone setting, metal forming, casting, forging, chasing, patination, repoussé, fabrication, and more. He’s been featured in dozens of publications and his work is part of permanent collections in museums and galleries all over the world, including The Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is the author of Creative Stone Setting. He’s a master!

In this class, you will:

  • Get into the nitty-gritty learning about the mechanical devices and attachments that really make a clasp do its job . . . pin, clasp, hang, and open your designs.
  • Practice and broaden your fabrication skills as you learn how to make finishing alternatives to those mass-produced parts that are often “tacked onto” otherwise completely handmade pieces.
  • Explore the design and construction of two unique clasps, one per day. You’ll watch John in action first, then create your own lentil clasp and hinged bracelet clasp.

Hydraulic Forming
October 1 & 2

Hydraulic Forming Class - Rio Grande

Hydraulic Forming Class

*Only 2 seats left!
You will learn from Peter Gilroy of Bonny Doon Tools, an instructor and jewelry artist with a background in art and architecture. In the classroom, Peter loves seeing students light up with excitement at the new design possibilities taking shape in their mind’s eye when they learn a new technique.

In this class:

  • You’ll learn about the die-making process, including design and layout, starting with simple die-making techniques then progressing to more complex techniques.
  • You’ll gain an understanding of “appropriate engineering” and “appropriate designing” so that you can use the simplest and most effective techniques to get the desired finished piece.
  • Get fired up and ready to try the thousands of ways you can add more dimension and volume to your work and to realize your designs in three dimensions.
  • See what it feels like to manipulate metal with 20 tons of strength as you get hands-on practice using a Bonny Doon press.
  • Learn fundamental techniques including doming, forming, bending, and embossing while you become familiar with urethanes and their various applications.
  • Get hands-on experience using both the innovative silhouette die kit and the synclastic bracelet former.
  • Learn all about press tooling safety and maintenance.
  • Finally, you’ll quickly discover that with hydraulic forming, there’s no limit to what you can do with metal!

Intermediate Hydraulic Forming
October 3 – 4

Intermediate Hydraulic Forming Class

Intermediate Hydraulic Forming Class

You will learn from hydraulics master G. Phil Poirier, owner/operator of Bonny Doon Engineering in Taos, New Mexico, a company that develops and manufactures hydraulic presses and tooling systems for the jewelry industry. He’s a designer, craftsman, and engineer who has been maneuvering and manipulating metal into the unimaginable for years.

Here’s what you will learn in this two-day class:

  • You’ll learn about the WHY and the HOW in making face plates for use with silhouette dies before moving onto instruction using conforming and non-conforming dies.
  • You’ll learn tricks-of-the-trade and the nitty gritty details of the hydraulic forming technique that will help you create designs that are uniquely yours.
  • After in-depth instruction, carve your own acrylic die; watch a demo on carving, hardening and tempering steel dies.
  • Watch and learn about new ways to create much more volume, size and detail in metal.
  • Continue to build a strong framework using the press to dome, form, bend and emboss metal.
  • Understanding that there are numerous ways to form bracelets, learn when and how to use the right technique with the right die to get the desired results.
  • Get hands-on experience forming bracelets and using the deep-draw technique to make shaped forms including hemispheres and egg shapes.

CAD 3 Design
October 30-November 1

CAD with 3Design Class

CAD/CAM with 3Design Class

You will learn 3Design, the jewelry industry software for CAD, from David Swallow, a 3Design software certified trainer and application engineer for Vision Numeric. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and specializes in 3D modeling and design. Add to that eight years of CAD jewelry-making experience, including seven years as a software training instructor, and you have the ideal mix of doing and sharing. David has taught numerous 3Design CAD classes for both beginner and advanced students.

In this class, you will:

  • Get familiar with the program’s tools, create and manipulate simple forms and design your own ring.
  • Continue learning CAD at home with a 30-day license of 3Design, over more than five hours of online video tutorials and access to the Rio Technical Support team!

Beginning PMC
October 31

Beginning PMC Class

Beginning PMC Class

You’ll learn from jeweler Yvonne M. Padilla, a PMC enthusiast and expert. She exudes a wide-eyed enthusiasm for jewelry-making, metal clay, fashion trends, and art, all while encouraging—insisting—that students embrace design freedom and let their imaginations run wild. “I love watching the light bulb moment when students get it,” she says. “I also love seeing their designs and interpretations!”

Here’s what you’ll learn in this one-day class:

  • Learn about this amazing medium called Precious Metal Clay™ (PMC®), its workability and the tools you can use to sculpt, carve and shape it.
  • Get hands-on as you make a pendant from a mold.
  • See how easy it is to texture PMC using stamps as you make “5-Minute Earrings.”
  • Make a custom bail to use with your pendant.
  • Discover PMC’s versatility, even in its dried state, as you sand, texture and carve in preparation for firing.
  • Learn about firing kilns, the firing process, and watch a demo of torch-firing.
  • Discover the remarkable things that can happen when you learn how to “correct” those happy accidents and how easy it is to fix mistakes at every step of the process.
  • Try out beautiful post-fire finishing techniques you can achieve by hand, as well as patinas to add color to your pieces.
  • Finally, enjoy open studio time when you can let your imagination run wild, creating anything you like!

Beginning BRONZclay
November 7 & 8

Beginning BronzClay Class

Beginning BRONZclay Class

Yvonne M. Padilla will also teach this class. She’s an expert on BRONZclay and author of the book Bronze Metal Clay. She’s a fabulous teacher (I’ve taken this class from her, so I can attest!).  She’ll guide you through forming, teach you tricks to healing cracks, lead you through the ins and outs of firing. . . you’ll get a great experience that will allow you to go down the path of BRONZclay with success from the beginning.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this day-and-a-half class:

  • Learn about BRONZclay and FASTfire BRONZclay and the tools you can use to sculpt, carve, shape, and mold.
  • Get hands-on practice as you make a pendant from a mold.
  • Carve a rubber block with a custom design, then use the block as a stamp to make a pair of earrings.
  • See how versatile BRONZclay is even in its dried state as you sand, texture and carve in preparation for firing.
  • Learn about the firing kiln and firing process.
  • Discover the beautiful post-fire finishing techniques you can achieve by hand or with a flex shaft, as well as how to use liver of sulfur to create an oxidized finish.
  • Finally, enjoy open studio time when you can let your imagination run wild, creating anything you like, using BRONZclay and FASTfire!

December 6

E-Coating Class

E-Coating Class

This class is taught by Ashli Brooke Taylor, an instructor and a member of the Technical Support team at Rio Grande. Ashli helps customers every day with jewelry-making challenges and in her classes she brings a fun spirit and a lot of expertise as she encourages students to experiment with different materials and techniques. “I enjoy the look I see on a student’s face when they first realize a method or a material works for them,” she says, “the excitement of discovery.”

Here’s what you’ll learn in this half-day class:

  • The electro-plating and E-Coating equipment you need to plate your metal pieces.
  • The various ways you can use e-coating and how it can be an exciting alternative for finishing your jewelry, especially to add color and protect pieces from tarnish.
  • Hands-on, step-by-step instruction on the E-Coating process.

Basic Plating
December 6

Basic Plating Class

Basic Plating Class

Pamela Engel teaches this class in the afternoon directly following Ashli Brooke Taylor’s E-Coating class. Pamela appreciates both the science and art of working with metal, setting her career course as an expert in electroplating. “I realized that metal is fluid rather than rigid,” Pamela says. “I fell in love with the properties of different metals and the ways metal is used in everyday life.” Today, she focuses on designing jewelry that electroplating will enhance and beautify.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this half-day class:

  • An understanding of general electroplating theory.
  • How to design and prepare surfaces for plating, for lasting results.
  • About the important chemical safety considerations for working with plating solutions.
  • About the techniques, applications, and required tools and supplies for bath plating, pen plating, and electroforming.
  • Hands-on instruction as you electroplate several metal findings.
  • Watch a demo on plating metal clay and organic objects.

If you have questions about these classes or about any other classes that Rio Grande offers, post them here!   We’ll be happy to answer them.  Also, if you’d like to take a class that is not listed here, check out Rio Grande’s class webpage. Whatever you do, keep on learning&mdash:and let us know how we can help along the way!