New Approach School for Jewelers

By Karen Misher ’88, Assistant Professor, Metals and Jewelry

Each year, Arcadia faculty can apply for Faculty Development Funds to aid in their professional research. While many times in the past I have utilized this opportunity directly towards a project with materials or equipment, this year I put myself back into the role of student. In February 2017, I attended the New Approach School for Jewelers in Franklin, Tennessee, for a five-day comprehensive stone setting course. The owner and director of the school, Blaine Lewis, is a master jeweler with decades of experience in the intricacies of jewelry design and advanced stone setting. Drawing from his training of setters for Tiffany and Co. to his many years of teaching, this course was a treasure of technical information that cannot be learned any other way. The course was intensive, packing in over forty hours of work in five days. We covered multiple setting styles, utilizing a mix of traditional tools combined with handmade alternatives—unique combinations that only come with experience and many years of figuring out the tricks of the trade. 

It is a fallacy to believe that as professors, with advanced degrees in our field, we don’t have more to learn all the time. It was simply amazing to work in a studio environment with Blaine Lewis, a master artist who is highly adept at sharing his skills. I now look forward to bringing those same, newly enhanced skills to my students and am excited to see what new work they create!

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