Studio Notes: Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist is Crammed with Tips

I’m going page by page through the March/April 2018 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, because it’s full of ideas. This is just a sampling; I don’t want to give away the store.

ABOVE: Open and Close Carved Metal Clay Bracelet with Hidden Hinge by Janet Alexander, from the March/April 2018 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.

Hint: The last bulleted item is very valuable for some of us.

  • See Cathleen McCarthy’s Net Profits for the best airlines to fly if you are a jewelry artist or in the jewelry business and travel to shows a lot. Here’s a freebie: Her sources say the best credit card is Capital One Spark. Fine print: Business owners earn a one-time $500 cash bonus if they spend $4,500 in the first three months; they also earn two miles for every dollar they spend. (Here’s Cathleen’s bonus travel info for jewelry artists.)
learn to use flex shaft attachments and burs with Andy Cooperman

The flex shaft’s many accessories make it extremely versatile in the studio.

  • Jewelry artist Helen Driggs writes about a Foredom tune-up kit. It is one DIY way to repair your flex shaft if it is acting up. Driggs notes you should inspect, clean, and lubricate your flex shaft after every 50 hours of use. Oops! I’ve got 10 years of use on mine, so I’ll get right on that. Besides,  Foredom offers a free video on how to do this.
  • On page 18, jewelry artist Jeff Fulkerson has a quickie article on rolling mills. To find out how to make this tool pay for itself, see Jeff’s instructions for turning your solder-free scrap sterling silver into new sheet.
  • Metal clay jewelry artist Janet Alexander uses her computer and printer to create a pattern for precious metal clay links in a bracelet (photo, top of page). In Step 2, she offers a simple computer trick that lets you factor shrinkage into your pattern before firing.Sorry I am skipping over great articles on stones, recycling, a unique cabochon setting and a chain maille project. (I did say the magazine was loaded.)
silver jewelry making: silver beads by Michael Anthony Cheatham

Silvery Spheres Sterling Silver Beads by Michael Anthony Cheatham, from the March/April 2018 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

  • On page 38, Michael Anthony Cheatham provides instructions on how to make classic Southwestern sterling silver beads in 13 steps. See Steps 5-7 on how to create a completely round bead.
  • You may wonder who would wear a metal lobster and life-sized platter necklace made by art jeweler Brad Nichols. McCarthy returns with another article, titled Steelworks, which features his work. Keep an open mind here. Nichols is an artist, who got his master’s degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art near Detroit. In a companion piece on page 74, he demonstrates his technical know-how to create a museum-quality copper daylily, step by step.
metalsmithing: Metal Daylily Sculpture by Brad Nichols,

Metal Daylily Sculpture by Brad Nichols, from the March/April 2018 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

  • Students, like Nichols, had to start somewhere, and for some lucky people high school is the place. On page 80, high school teacher Jim Landon writes about how he was inspired to create a student jewelry competition through the Yakima, Washington, school district and local rock club. It’s something you could organize in your community, too.
  • There are more than 20 educational opportunities for the jewelry artist listed in the magazine, including Stuller’s annual bench jeweler’s workshop March 23-25 in Lafayette, Louisiana, and the Idyllwild Arts summer metals workshop June 10-14 in California.
  • Then, of course, there’s my stuff–one article on FREE MONEY and another on wax carving. But the most vital tip can be seen in Lee Richards’ photo from page 86 (and below) of me and noted instructor Don Friedlich. Effortlessly, I was able to conceal my lumpy figure behind a work bench and cover my sagging neck with my right hand so that I look 40. Like jewelry making, all it takes is practice.
jewelry artist Betsy Lehndorff and Don Friedlich.

Photo by Lee Richards.

Betsy Lehndorff has been writing for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 2010. In this issue, she wrote “Go for Gold: grants for artistic jewelers” and “Hep Cat: 3D technology takes wax carving to new heights.” You can reach her at

Get this info-packed issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist now!