Workshops I’m Teaching This Year

Here are the classes and workshops I teach on a regular basis. Please email me if you are interested in booking one for your event, club, guild or group. I usually schedule about 6-12 months in advance, and I am willing to travel. My handouts feature step photos and comprehensive instructions — a career in publishing gives me the upper hand here, lol — plus, I can build kits for your students and ship them in advance if you need to get on with things quickly…
Interested? Contact me on the home page and we’ll email…

DESIGN CLASSES

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New York is inspiration central.

Helen’s Immersive Manhattan Design Experience: One
S
ession One of my ongoing, ever-evolving and always inspiring gathering of like-minded souls. When you join the collective, we will stretch your design vocabulary, help you see new things, open your mind, engage in out-of-the-box thinking and build a loose team in an environment of trust. Join us once, join us many times — it is up to you. I will say this: If you need to get out of a rut, take an art retreat, look at the world in a different way or learn to approach your work from a different mindset, join us. We will really investigate the Elements of Design using group and individual strategies to create a cohesive body of work that is both individual and collective. There will be homework!  Bring your walking shoes, an open mind, a Smartphone or camera, sketchbook and toolbox, and fasten your seat belts…

Syllabus
Day One:
Gather. We’ll meet up at the Studio to mix as members of the collective, distribute materials, discuss goals and directions. The official start will be an evening Museum or other visit with exposure to a plethora of food choices that evening for dinner. We will work and move together.
Day Two: Collect, Explore and Interact. We will hunt, sketch, photograph, look, learn and see. There will be games. You will develop both a sketchbook and a visual diary. You will learn how to document fleeting ideas so you can use them to develop work and begin to understand the Design Elements and Principles. This is a day of discovering what it’s like to be a studio jewelry artist in New York. A walking tour where you will work on your objective and meetup with the group to discuss and get started on our collective and individual goals.
Day Three: Make. We’ll have all day in the studio to explore our ideas and experiment with design concepts. Each member of the team will design their individual concept board and begin to fabricate one work based on their sketches and technical journal that solves the design”problem” they have chosen to solve. I will demo a group of design and fabrication techniques relevant to this class to get you started, but we will all work together as a design team to help each other reach the collective goal. You’ll go home with homework, and there will be a future Skype show and tell date too.

TECHNIQUE CLASSES

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Hammer Formed Botanicals — hammer and get your girly side out at the same time!

Hammer Formed Botanical Jewelry
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

This is a technique-intensive class on the rudiments of synclastic metal forming. First, you will learn how to saw out basic flat metal shapes in thin gauges of copper,  brass or NuGold and then how to use forming hammers, blocks of wood and simple stakes or punches to create luscious floral and leaf forms ready to rivet or join to pendants, sheet, wire, cuffs, earrings or otherwise. And, these forms are a great starting point for adding enamel, too.
You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can create sophisticated nature-inspired shapes and forms with just a few tools and no soldering required.
If you’ve got some small-scale forming hammers on hand, you’ve already got what you need to make these fun and beautiful flower forms.

 

Helen Driggs Bench

My bench should probably be listed as a superfund site

Metals 101: Jewelry Making Tools and Techniques
Level: Beginner

This is a technique-intensive class on safe and proper tool use for metal jewelry making. In it, I focus on building the basic skills needed for jewelry fabrication, including basic techniques like sawing, shallow metal forming, metal textures, and elementary solder joins. I stress proper use of tools, how to troubleshoot, and how to design and create basic metal shapes and forms for fabrication.
You will leave class knowing how to saw, how to file, how to form a ring on a mandrel, how to create a shallow 3D form, how to use a vise, how to use a flex shaft, when to use an anvil, how a bench pin and ring clamp are used, and get hands-on experience many other shop and hand tools used in jewelry making. If you have wanted to try metal jewelry making, but were unsure how to get started with tools, this class is for you!

 

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Green to die for!

Color on Metal
Level: Beginner and Up

This technique class will introduce you to the fun and fabulous art of adding color to metal sheet using colored pencil, crayons, oil pastel or paint. We’ll create a simple pair of earrings to get started, and then progress to other shapes and forms as time permits. If you love juicy color, this class is for you! And, don’t worry if you “can’t draw” — I have templates and stencils for the timid.
We’ll start with sawing out some sheet metal, prepping the surface to receive color, and I will show you methods of adding color in layers to create luminous work. We’ll discuss color theory, tools, techniques and materials, and I will demo several ways to mount your work to protect the color surface from wear and tear.

Adding Lapidary to your skills arsenal is never a bad choice.

Adding Lapidary to your skills arsenal is never a bad choice.

Beginning Lapidary: Create Your First Cabochon
Level: Beginner
Learn the fundamentals of the lapidary arts and how to trim a stone slab with a trim saw, use a grinding unit to preform, shape, refine and polish a cabochon. A wide variety of materials and techniques are demonstrated and discussed, and students are encouraged to bring stone materials they wish to develop independently using lapidary work. By the end of the workshop, you will have the confidence to create your own stone cabochons using a wide range of lapidary equipment, including a trim saw, flat lap and Diamond Pacific Genie.
This is a class for the beginner, no experience is needed.

 

A Dremel or Flex Shaft is one of the more essential tools to master.

A Dremel or Flex Shaft is one of the more essential tools to master if you are serious about metalwork.

Rotary Tool Intensive One: Dremels Only!!
Level: Beginner

A rotary tool, like the popular Dremel brand, is an important tool to master for making jewelry of all kinds with confidence. I focus on safe and proper use of these tools, uncover the mystery of the collet, and demonstrate the many different attachments available to grind, sand, cut, carve, polish and buff all kinds of materials.

Rotary Tool Intensive One: Flex Shafts Only!!
Level: Beginner

The flex shaft tool for making jewelry is an essential piece of equipment for drilling, sanding, polishing, and refining your work. Safe and proper use of these tools is a must, and you’ll learn about the many different attachments available to grind, sand, cut, carve, polish and buff all kinds of materials.

Rotary Tool Intensive Two: Advanced Techniques
Level: Intermediate

Be it a hand-held Dremel or other rotary tool, or a traditional Flex shaft system, there is so much you can do with this class of tools. We will step it up a notch and explore polishing, drilling glass, stone and other jewelry materials, and learn about the hundreds of types of attachments for these tools. Note: This is a class for students who are familiar with their equipment, basic safety, and can change their attachments and use their machine independently.

Cold Connections are versatile and fun to use for connecting anything to anything.

Cold Connections are versatile and fun to use for connecting anything to anything.

Cold Connection Boot Camp
Level: Beginner

You can create professional connections and learn how to connect anything to anything without using a drop of glue. Using rivets, tabs, staples and other connections, explore the possibilities of uniting plastics, metals, wood, ceramics, papers and fibers with clean, sturdy, museum-quality connections that last. We will focus on jewelry pieces, however any type of artwork is welcome.

 

 

Textures and Patinas is a fast-paced class with the option to create samples or objects or both.

Textures and Patinas is a fast-paced class with the option to create samples or objects or both.

Textures & Patinas Boot Camp
Level: Intermediate
and/or Advanced versions available
Students will learn how to create dozens of textures by direct or transferred techniques using their regular tools plus some handmade tools and uncommon objects.
In the Intermediate class, we will learn to prepare metal for successful patination on copper, brass and jeweler’s bronze with commercial and home made solutions.
In the Advanced class, we will explore the rich and varied world of color patinas from Japan, including Niage, Su Tanpan, and Rokusho. Either class is a one day, or schedule both for a comprehensive Patination experience.
Potential students should have basic metalworking skills and be adept at sawing, creating hammer texture on sheet and clean finishing jewelry metal. Some drilling experience or riveting experience is helpful but not essential.

OBJECT-MAKING CLASSES

My Multi Metal Cold Connected bracelet has been very popular since I created it in 2007.

My multi metal cold connected bracelet has been very popular since I created it in 2007.

Multi-Metal Cold Connected Bracelet
Level: Intermediate

In this class, we will learn to texture metal by direct and transferred methods, saw, drill, use a disc cutter, and cold-connect mixed metal circles with rubber O-Rings, anodized aluminum tubing and micro hardware to create an unusual, adaptable bracelet.
We’ll discuss patination options and alternate connection methods, plus the importance of unit construction in jewelry design. I can supply kits or a comprehensive tool and supply list for each student.

 

Spirals looks like it was unearthed from an archaeological dig.

Spirals looks like it was unearthed from an archaeological dig.

Spirals Bracelet
Level: Beginner
to Intermediate
If you know basic wire work, have some familiarity with tools, and are into hammering, this class is for you. We’ll create a unique copper and stone nugget bracelet with the appearance of an unearthed treasure from antiquity.
This project features the timeless form of the spiral, highlighted with patinas, hand hammered textures and simple soldered links. You’ll also learn to fabricate a great clasp that is secure and sturdy, too. By using a variety of stone beads or patina colors you can explore changing the look, and the use of design variation, tool making and creating a jig from household tools will be covered. I can supply kits or a comprehensive tool and supply list for each student.
Plus, you’ll get to wear something home…

 

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My Urban Conchos class is great fun, and we add some basic leatherwork to the skillset.

Urban Conchos
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Let’s reinvent the ubiquitous concho into something more urban; fashion forward and environmentally friendly. In this class, we’ll explore upcycling combined with cold-connections and rethink a classic ornament icon. We’ll use a wide variety of materials and creative problem solving in this urban approach to a classic motif. Design, fabricating with mixed materials, and cold connections will all be discussed and demonstrated, in addition to patinas and metal texture. This is a fun class and a feast of experimentation with a wide range of materials. I can supply kits or a comprehensive tool and supply list for each student.

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