Jim  Richardson

Jim started making jewelry in 1977, which led him to many jobs in the jewelry industry. From being a polisher in a silver jewelry manufacturing facility, with years as a bench jeweler, Jim has kept learning new skills and perfecting old ones. Throughout the 1980s, his interest led him to study with a series of modern masters and innovators in the jewelry and blacksmithing fields. In 1995, Jim earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia in Jewelry and Metalsmithing. Even before earning his degree, he has been supporting himself for years working within his chosen craft. Jims love of teaching reflects clearly in the work of his students. His innovative teaching style, wealth of knowledge and enthusiastic approach make his classes fun and richly informative. Currently, Jim lives and works near Athens, GA, where he makes jewelry for private clients and does occasional shows. His interests include ancient metalsmithing techniques, innovative modern tools and traditional blacksmithing

Class List

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Fold Forming, Anticlastic, and Synclastic Raising - Jim Richardson
This class will focus on the different ways to form metal. We will energetically explore the plastic nature of the material by stretching, compressing and using a variety of techniques such as fold forming, anticlastic raising and synclastic raising, along with the use of stakes, hammers and a variety of traditional forming methods. This is a fun class where forms spark inspiration and ideas spring forth as fast as you can hammer them into being. We will be using copper for most of the exercises though some silver will be available from the instructor. This class will give you a vocabulary of forms and techniques to enrich your jewelry making experience. You will leave this class with an armful of copper sketches to augment your creativity. Although not a production class the opportunity exists to complete several jewelry items. Lab fee includes all of the copper needed for the class exercises, solder, flux and the use of the instructor’s tool

Lab Fee: $185.00
Estimated Materials Cost: $0+
Prerequisites: Silver I or instructor permission

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Silver I – Soldering Intensive - Jim Richardson
This class will emphasize the fundamentals of soldering: how solder works and why. We will cover other aspects of basic silversmithing such as piecing with a saw and drill, as well as filing and finishing. The focus, however, will be to develop a thorough understanding of the process of soldering silver and copper. Through a series of projects, we will explore different methods of soldering and find the approach that best suits your style. You may expect to make rings, a pendant, and a pin in this informative and instructional class. Lab fee includes all materials necessary for the basic exercises (both copper and silver), solder, flux and use of the instructor’s tools.

Lab Fee: $175.00
Estimated Materials Cost: $0+
Prerequisites: None

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Silver III – Gold I - Jim Richardson
In this advanced class we will explore the characteristics of 14 karat gold in relation to jewelry. Working from pre-made stock, we will fabricate several pieces of jewelry using an oxy-propane torch in 14 karat yellow gold to learn how the material differs from silver and what advantages it offers in construction and assembly .The student should be familiar and comfortable with fabrication in silver, have good eyesight, be able to work accurately. Pouring and milling your own stock will be covered later in the week if anyone wishes to bring some gold to melt and learn this valuable skill. Material will be available from instructor. Class fee includes 1/2 pennyweight of solder plus time and experience and use of tools of instructor.

Lab Fee: $350.00
Estimated Materials Cost: $250-$500 (Depending on market price and projects)
Prerequisites: Instructor’s stone setting and Rings class or the permission of instructor.

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Silver III – Rings - Jim Richardson
In this class, we will construct several rings of increasing complexity. These projects are planned to build your skill in design and fabrication while revealing some of the most popular solutions to issues in ring construction. Most of these rings will include gemstones in a variety of settings. We will be working primarily in sterling silver. Sterling and stones will be available from the instructor; however, students may bring their own silver and are encouraged to provide their own stones. You may choose to bring your own gold for accents, as well, though this is not a class to learn to how to work in gold. Students should bring their own magnification and tools, although some are available from the School. Good eyesight and the ability to work under magnification are essential, as are steady hands, depth perception and manual dexterity. Good soldering skills are also required. Lab fee includes solder, saw blades, drill bits, flux and the instructor’s designs.

Lab Fee: $250.00
Estimated Materials Cost: $0+
Prerequisites: Two Silver II classes

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Silver III – Stone Setting - Jim Richardson
The practice of setting gemstones can range from simple to complex. In this class, we will cover many of the popular setting types, including flush, bead, tube, bezel and prong. We will construct most of our settings from sheet and wire to enable you to work beyond the conventionally available commercial settings. This class is not about making finished jewelry, focusing instead on the art of setting gemstones using different methods. Good eyesight and soldering skills are a must, along with hand-eye coordination. Please bring a 7x or 10x Optivisor, or some other equivalent magnifier. Students are encouraged to bring their own stones for some mountings although all materials are provided. Lab fee includes some silver, drill bits, solder, flux, synthetic gemstones and use of instructor’s tools.

Lab Fee: $290.00
Estimated Materials Cost: $0-$75
Prerequisites: None

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Silver III – Tool Making - Jim Richardson
Have you always wanted to make your own tools? We will be constructing some of the basic tools in the jeweler’s bench. Hammers, tongs, graver, prong pusher and forming punches, along with many others, will be included. Personalizing your tools will also be addressed, as well as form and function. The importance of steel and its shaping and heat treatments will be covered, as well as the best materials for other tools. Lab fee covers tool steel for five stamps, round copper bar for tongs and use of instructor’s tools.

Lab Fee: $175.00
Estimated Materials Cost: $15-$50
Prerequisites: None

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