The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts: Tribute from Lynette Cederquist

Editor’s note: The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco may have closed its doors at the end of 2017, but its impacts on jewelry artists, jewelry education, jewelry creation, jewelry arts and design, and the jewelry business are still felt and will be for a very long time. Former students who have gone on to pursue successful careers as jewelers draw on what they learned every day, and pass it forward through informal and formal teaching themselves. Beyond that, the Revere Academy was the first of its kind in the U.S. and has undoubtedly influenced jewelry arts education in the U.S. for the good, for good.

In “The Revere Effect,” which appears in the March/April 2018 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, Sharon Elaine Thompson discussed the Academy with several of its alumni. Here are additional thoughts from jewelry designer Lynette Cederquist, a student in the first Jewelry Technician Intensive offered by the Revere Academy in 2000.

Lynette Cederquist was a 47-year-old teacher of gifted children when an accident and a head injury put an end to her career. “I couldn’t read or write and had to relearn that. I was wondering what I was going to do, because I couldn’t go into the classroom. I needed an occupation that was quiet and solitary.”

ABOVE: Lynette Cederquist’s pendant with amethyst, pink tourmaline, 22K gold granulation; photo courtesy Lynette Cederquist.

A neighbor, a jeweler, invited her to his studio. “He asked if I wanted to try a few things,” Cederquist shares. “He showed me how to file and saw.” Although she had made jewelry in college as a reward when her academic load was heavy, she had not thought of jewelry arts as a career until that day. “He told me, you’re a natural. You need to be a jeweler. He told me about Revere.

“I didn’t know anything about jewelry schools. I didn’t know how good my decision would be. But I knew I wanted a high degree of technical expertise when I finished. I knew Alan [Revere] was classically trained in Germany.”

She took a chance. “I took a three-day class, set up a small studio in my living room, had a show, and sold a lot of [what I made].” While she had been taking that class, “Alan came in and asked me if I would be interested in doing an intensive.”

Lynette Cederquist opal garnet pendant jewelry arts

Pendant by Lynette Cederquist with Australian black opal, spessartine garnet, 22K gold; photo courtesy Lynette Cederquist.

It was difficult, but she moved into the city and found a cheap place to live–in a hotel that rented rooms by the hour. Despite what you might think, says Cederquist, it was clean and safe, as well as very inexpensive. Revere found this amusing. “Alan used to ask me every day, what had happened in the hotel the night before. When I told him ‘Nothing,’ he said, ‘Lynette, you have to make something up.’ So every day, I tried to come up with a story about what happened.”

In one of her first classes, a student wanted to know a short cut. “Alan said, ‘The best and fastest way to do something is right the first time. That resonated with me, in life as well as in jewelry making. I still have [that quote] on my bench with a picture of him.”

Struggling with her injury and the new skills, Cederquist began to doubt herself. “About three weeks into the program, I thought, I can’t do this. There were so many projects coming at us non-stop. The course was a lot of money, and I wasn’t keeping up. Then I was in the elevator leaving with Alan one day, and he asked how it was going. I said I was not very good at this. He gave me a pep talk and said, ‘You’re going to be the top of the class.’ I thought, if he thinks this, and he knows what he’s talking about, I was going to believe him and just do it. I was there first in the morning and I was the last to leave. I just really immersed myself in it and every day, I loved it more.

“I didn’t realize at the time [that] the projects didn’t have to be perfect at that time, that you could finish them later, that everything was designed to build on each skill you had. In four weeks, I’d caught up.

“I realized there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. You just had to put your head down and stop thinking about not doing it.”

Cederquist now teaches her own students. “When I teach, I always try to mirror his kindness and infinite patience and encouragement, and his focus on technical proficiency.”

SHARON ELAINE THOMPSON is a freelance writer based in Oregon. She has written for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 1987. You can learn more about her and read previous articles at Jewelry Art Diva. She also blogs frequently about birthstones and other stones for us here at Interweave Jewelry

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