Behind the scenes at London Jewellery School: Developing a new class

Have you ever wondered how a new London Jewellery School class comes into being? When one is added to the timetable, there is a plan, a series of projects, photographs and details of what you will learn but it takes a lot more than an idea or a class title to bring a new workshop to you.

As Zoe Harding was in the workshop this week testing ideas for a possible class on drop casting, it seemed an ideal time to talk about how we develop a new course or workshop.

Ideas for classes come from all sorts of sources – trends in jewellery design, new skills developed by tutors, wanting to help students develop further, student requests and so on. But it is a long way from the idea to a finished class on a timetable.

We need to work out a number of things:

  • Is the class viable with the equipment in the workshop or what else would we need to deliver it?
  • What would we have to charge students?
  • What materials would we need?
  • Are there achievable projects that could be taught in the course of a day (for example) and will these provide enough variety of techniques or opportunities for the students to experiment.

We might also need to think about health and safety and how many people could be included in a class – in some cases this might mean that a class isn’t practical.

These matters will need to be talked over with the tutor developing the course and often they will come into the LJS studios to test out the projects and make samples.

For example this week Zoe was look at the possibilities for a class in drop casting. This is when you melt silver (or other metals) and then drop the molten metal into water, or another medium such as rice, to create unusual, organic shapes.

drop casting

As with all our class research Zoe tested various techniques and approaches to melting and droping the silver

Zoe was testing various options for melting the silver and for dropping the silver – and considering what techniques might work in someone’s home workshop. As well as how much silver was need to create useful shapes. She then went on to consider what type of finished jewellery could be created from the silver shapes she created.

drop casting silver

During the tests, all sorts of shapes of silver came out. The peices were divided and labelled per test so we could assess which techniques would work best in a class

As with all our classes once Zoe has refined the projects and come up with a plan for the class, she will need to create class notes and agree the timings with the school. Then the notes and samples will go to Bronagh, our marketing co-ordinator who will take photographs and create the web page for the class, before making sure you all learn about it through the website, blog, newsletter and social media.

Even then the work isn’t over. We will monitor the class carefully and take feedback from students (especially at first) so we can refine the course further and ensure you get a great jewellery learning experience.

We are working on a number of new class ideas right now so keep your eyes open for news of drop casting and other new learning opportunities.

 

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