FAQ: Where Can I Take Jewelry Making Classes / How do I learn to Make Jewelry?

Every now and then I get asked about how I got started making jewelry and if I have any recommendations for people who want to learn. I started out making handmade jewelry for Peggy Li Creations completely self-taught, but have gone on to take a few classes and read books on new techniques. What's great about jewelry, however, is that it is so easy to get started and learn. Just some beads, wire and pliers! But if you're looking for more instruction, here are a couple of ways I've found to learn about the art of jewelry making!

1) Check out your local community Parks and Recreation Center. They often have quarterly classes/events, with sections on arts and crafts that may include jewelry making.

2) Community colleges or even universities are a great resource -- see if they have summer courses or what they call "extension" courses in fine arts. If they don't have classes available for that quarter/semester, they still may have "open studio" time where you can use their art studios.

3) Bead shops. Great community bead stores often have folks with great experience behind the counter, even if they don't hold formal classes. Some big Bay Area bead stores include Global Beads in Mountain View, Baubles and Beads in Berkeley and General Bead in San Francisco.

4) Jewelry arts colleges do exist! I've taken an amazing seminar at The Revere Academy in San Francisco (which offers diploma courses and full on technician training) and have applied to FIT's jewelry design major.

5) Apprenticeships. Ask local jewelry designers if they are willing to teach! Up and coming designers often need some extra hands on big orders, or want to push of some repetitive work onto a helper. Get some practice and learn from someone more advanced in skill.

6) Online resources. OMG, there are many online jewelry supply companies that are offering video or printable jewelry how-tos. Not to mention You Tube!  Do a search and you're sure to find a lot of different resources.

7) Magazines and books. There are countless magazines with great basic tips (and ads for the biggest jewelry suppliers around) and great books that can teach you everything about jewelry making. Try your library and peruse the choices before buying.

8) Local instructors. The DIY movement is only growing. Do a search for local artisans/instructors/classes and you are sure to find some. The Bay Area is lucky to have vibrant local artist communities and I've found awesome independent studios who also offer instructional classes.

Still don't know where to start? Stop by your favorite bead store and ask! If anyone is in the know, its people who love beads as much as we do.

Peggy Li


Victoria L said...

There are also some jewelry making classes at places like Hobby Lobby and Micheal's. I always want to take them. That and the cake decorating classes :)