The Life of a Jeweler's Apprentice

In the past six months or so, I think I've been one of the luckiest girls in the world. I've gotten to learn many new jewelry-making techniques through face-to-face interaction with masters at their arts. I learned to enamel on copper, and I spent an awe-inspiring day learning lampwork glass bead making with glass artist Marcy Lamberson.

Here's Helen, soldering away at the apprentice bench in the Pueblo, Colorado studio of master jeweler/lapidary Michael Boyd.

Most amazing of all was the few days I spent learning to solder with the incredibly talented Lexi Erickson in her personal studio. I felt like an apprentice working in her jewelry shop with her. She taught me how to do things the long, hard, right way–and then she shared with me the jewelry-making tips and tricks that she has mastered during twenty-five years of teaching jewelry-making classes to very lucky students and aspiring jewelry artists.

Lucky student indeed! My time with Lexi was probably the closest to a jewelry apprentice I'll ever be, and I loved it. I first got enamored with the idea of being a jewelry-making apprentice in Helen Driggs' blog here on Jewelry Making Daily about nine months ago. It was before I became the editor of Jewelry Making Daily–and little did I know what was in store for me! I just loved reading about her metalsmithing experiences (SO fun!) and was inspired by how much even a master jewelry artist and goldsmith like Helen was learning–and subsequently sharing with readers here on JMD–from her time with master jeweler and lapidary Michael Boyd. (If you had a subscription to Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist at the time, you would have also been privy to projects and tips that Helen learned during her apprenticeship, including how to arrange an apprenticeship with a jeweler that you admire.) We've grown so much since then that I suspect many of you missed Helen's apprentice log, so I'm bringing it back to share with you. Enjoy, and forgive me in advance if it makes you too jealous–it sure did me!

Fortunately Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist is still the best place to see artisan-quality jewelry projects and how-tos, great jewelry-making tips, learn lapidary skills and tricks, and keep up on what's new and exciting in the world of jewelry and gemstones. Subscribe to Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and create your own personal jewelry apprenticeship!

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