Helen's Apprentice Log — Day One, Friday

Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist managing editor Helen Driggs spent nine days in apprentice mode with master lapidary and jewelry artist Michael Boyd at his Pueblo, Colorado studio.  This is her day-by-day log of her experiences.

The first 20 of my 50-bezel quota.

The evening was spent in Denver at the Clear Creek Academy, viewing a slide show and presentation by Joe Korth and then Elizabeth McDevitt, close friends of Michael's. They had all recently traveled in India, where Michael had some of his first production line components designed and cast. We saw fantastic photos of jewelry making, enameling, and stone cutting at its rawest. I was amazed to learn that in India all stone cutting is done on a flat lap. And metalworkers hold things with their bare feet. And hulking, huge, black-smoke-belching, antique kerosene-fueled machines are still used in the small metals shops.

Michael had brought sketches of some work he wanted produced there, even consulting with a master carver, but was not happy with the stone work he would have received. Instead, he designed several clasp and connection units and some ring shanks in small runs of 100 each of 13 different components. They were produced in a state-of-the art facility and factory in Jaipur. It was a valuable learning experience for him, though, "Next time, I would produce the models myself and send them away for production."

Originally, we had planned to meet that evening in Boise, Idaho, for a lapidary workshop. I was to be the TA (teacher's assistant) but the class was cancelled late in the game for low attendance, so I never got the chance. Besides the wasted flight, the worst part of that cancellation was that we'd planned to drive back to Pueblo after digging for some sapphires in Montana. Sigh. Maybe another time.

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