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View Full Version : self taught, apprenticed, night school or degree trained?



medusa
16-09-2014, 07:33 PM
I was struck by some of the 'hello' threads that a lot of us seem to be self taught. I'm avoiding real work at the moment so thought I would divert myself with a fun poll. Well hopefully fun poll.

I just thought it would be interesting to see where folks learned their skills.

medusa
16-09-2014, 07:39 PM
I am currently only self taught, but hope to get some more formal training under my belt next year.

enigma
16-09-2014, 08:38 PM
Im currently only self taught and SO wish I could take a course as I see so much amazing work from the professionals which is way, way beyond what I can achieve, but just don't have the time :(
One day hopefully.

Tabby66
16-09-2014, 09:08 PM
adult education evening class at college of FE, self taught and kinda apprenticeship arrangement for last3-4 years from a master jeweller......the latter has brought my work on leaps and bounds (in terms of mastering skills, understanding techniques/ design possibilities & finish)....wasn't sure which button to tick Medusa!!!!!

caroleallen
16-09-2014, 09:14 PM
I've said self taught and the odd short course. It's not entirely true as I did 2 years of evening classes in the first place.

BarryM
16-09-2014, 09:45 PM
Self taught but about to start evening classes

Hans Meevis
17-09-2014, 08:21 AM
I clicked self taught but of course that is strictly speaking not true.
No one is self taught, shown by the very fact that everyone on this site learns from others here as well.
Take enamel painting, which is what I am teaching myself the skill of.
But I have learned the tricks and methodology from other artists, web sites, books and videos.
All of those help me to increase my skill, but I learn from others.
Self taught is a more romantic term though.:)

Goldsmith
17-09-2014, 08:34 AM
I served a near 6 year apprenticeship as a goldsmith, started at the age of 15 and finished on my 21st birthday. I was lucky to work at a major company that had most skills of the trade covered, so I learned many skills by watching and experimenting.
I did not attend any colleges during my apprenticeship although most of the other apprentices at where I worked did, so I have no official college qualifications or paperwork.
The only qualifications I have are these; I am a Freeman of the Most Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, gained through service, a Freeman of the City of London and a Fellow of The Institute of Professional Goldsmiths.

James

silver70
17-09-2014, 09:53 AM
Self taught and odd course for now - hoping to expand this to longer courses!

art925
17-09-2014, 10:06 AM
I am amazed at your "self taught" enameling Hans, I am currently teaching myself enameling but with far less success as seen in your pieces...who have you been watching / reading?


I clicked self taught but of course that is strictly speaking not true.
No one is self taught, shown by the very fact that everyone on this site learns from others here as well.
Take enamel painting, which is what I am teaching myself the skill of.
But I have learned the tricks and methodology from other artists, web sites, books and videos.
All of those help me to increase my skill, but I learn from others.
Self taught is a more romantic term though.:)

Keia
17-09-2014, 10:24 AM
Self taught using books, videos and of course the advise of the lovely people on this forum.

enigma
17-09-2014, 10:26 AM
Im amazed that Hans is self taught, there is hope for us all then!
Seriously Hans, I had a look on your website and your work is absolutely fantastic.

We are all so lucky in these days of internet resources and so many generous folk putting their techniques out there for us to learn, its a wonderful thing.

CJ57
17-09-2014, 11:11 AM
I did a a 4 year diploma course at Edinburgh College of Art 74-79 They amalgamated with Heriot Watt University during my last year and it then became a degree course the following year. Still learning from books and forums

Gemsetterchris
17-09-2014, 12:00 PM
I did a pre-apprenticeship course followed by 5 yr apprenticeship, also working in a workshop with a couple of goldsmiths for a few years helped alot in understanding both setting & goldsmithing (for everyone).
Since that I`ve learnt alot more from the internet, discussions & good old experimentation...you never stop learning & adapting.

Hans Meevis
17-09-2014, 12:57 PM
"I am amazed at your "self taught" enameling Hans, I am currently teaching myself enameling but with far less success as seen in your pieces...who have you been watching / reading?"

Nothing amazing. Just doggedness. I have boxes of failures in my cupboard.

I am teaching myself enamel painting but before that I painted oils for many years, so that helps.

Normal enameling like cloisonne and plique-a-jour I have been doing since the early eighties so I am not really a beginner.

I think James and those that did an apprenticeship would agree with me when I say that the apprenticeship is more about teaching the discipline of the thing first.

The ground work is all important in any craft, be that goldsmithing, gem cutting or setting.

And also having someone show you is wonderful. It really cuts down the time in learning.

But in the end the learning process can be summarized down to four stages.

1 Unconscious incompetence : you do not know what you don't know.

2 Conscious incompetence : you do know what you don't know

3 Conscious competence: You know how to do something well.

4 Unconscious competence: When you teach others and you realize you have forgotten how difficult it was to learn the process in the beginning.

medusa
17-09-2014, 03:38 PM
I clicked self taught but of course that is strictly speaking not true.
No one is self taught, shown by the very fact that everyone on this site learns from others here as well.
Take enamel painting, which is what I am teaching myself the skill of.
But I have learned the tricks and methodology from other artists, web sites, books and videos.
All of those help me to increase my skill, but I learn from others.
Self taught is a more romantic term though.:)

quit picking apart my terms! I'm NEVER romantic! But yes, I (begrudgingly) suppose self-taught is a misnomer. Like Sarah I was really surprised that you were self taught. I imagined you had done the apprenticeship route.



The only qualifications I have are these; I am a Freeman of the Most Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, gained through service, a Freeman of the City of London and a Fellow of The Institute of Professional Goldsmiths.

James

You make those sound like a CSE! I really think the gold standard (no pun intended) is an apprenticeship. If I had had the foresight at 18, that is the route I should have taken.





And also having someone show you is wonderful. It really cuts down the time in learning. agreed.

But in the end the learning process can be summarized down to four stages.

1 Unconscious incompetence : you do not know what you don't know.

2 Conscious incompetence : you do know what you don't know

3 Conscious competence: You know how to do something well.

4 Unconscious competence: When you teach others and you realize you have forgotten how difficult it was to learn the process in the beginning.

Excellent breakdown. I'm half way between 1 and 2.

ShinyLauren
17-09-2014, 06:23 PM
BA in Jewellery and Silversmithing after getting the metalwork bug doing a jewellery elective in the 6th form, then just tinkered on my kitchen table for a while. After that I worked Saturdays for a proper old-school jeweller who had left school and done an apprenticeship - learned way more practical skills from him than I ever did at college! Very much still learning and wish I had the time and money to do more courses - the stone setting one I did last year was invaluable.

Wren
17-09-2014, 07:57 PM
BA Industrial Design/Jewellery and Silversmithing 1972-75 Birmingham

Worked for myself until the late 80's had a 20+year break then rediscovered my studio and tools in 2012 have been re-learning all over again since then

Gemsetterchris
17-09-2014, 07:59 PM
Taking a lesson wether a short specific course or a long apprenticeship will get you on the right track fast..but...It's a long trip from there on.
Experience & practical doing has no shortcuts..to be able to overcome or avoid every obstacle you come across takes a while.

Nowadays with the new tools available & the internet, It's so easy to get the basic idea & result..you just need a shed load of practicing with different projects & It's very important to make mistakes, because you can't master something without making a few & learning from them :)

camalidesign
17-09-2014, 11:49 PM
Mainly self taught using books, online tutorials, videos and a lot of trial and error. Did one day a week with a silver/goldsmith for a about a 6 month period a few years ago, which did move me on a lot, but couldn't carry on when he moved and I got pregnant... If I had the chance to start again from scratch I would definitely do an apprenticeship. Hoping to do some short courses in future, especially stone setting.

Carin

Stirring Moose
18-09-2014, 09:43 AM
I'm self taught on the jewellery side of things, albeit with a fair bit of help and advice from people on here. I did have a bit of a head start in that I was a qualified engineer and reasonably experienced fabricator before I started on jewellery, so at least the basic notion of manipulating materials and making stuff from scratch wasn't new to me.

S.M.

medusa
18-09-2014, 11:15 AM
Taking a lesson wether a short specific course or a long apprenticeship will get you on the right track fast..but...It's a long trip from there on.
Experience & practical doing has no shortcuts..to be able to overcome or avoid every obstacle you come across takes a while.

Nowadays with the new tools available & the internet, It's so easy to get the basic idea & result..you just need a shed load of practicing with different projects & It's very important to make mistakes, because you can't master something without making a few & learning from them :)

not true. As you can see from the pole, MzG emerged as a fully functional maker :D

mizgeorge
18-09-2014, 12:38 PM
not true. As you can see from the pole, MzG emerged as a fully functional maker :D

Only because none of the others quite fitted!!
(and, of course, very much tongue in cheek....)

medusa
18-09-2014, 03:26 PM
Only because none of the others quite fitted!!
(and, of course, very much tongue in cheek....)

I've have this bizarre image of your mother as a kind of durston rolling mill squeezing you out with pliers in hand :D

mizgeorge
18-09-2014, 04:32 PM
I've have this bizarre image of your mother as a kind of durston rolling mill squeezing you out with pliers in hand :D

If you ever met my mother, you'd know just how very bizarre this is ;)

I did, however, acquire my first pliers as a toddler...

Dennis
18-09-2014, 05:22 PM
I bought my first pliers from Woolworth as a boy and still use them. My school was banned from Woolworth as they were renowned for stealing things. I never did though no.

Stirring Moose
18-09-2014, 10:20 PM
Think all my pliers are pretty recent, although one of my files does have a long and proud history behind it ;)

S.M.

Aurarius
18-09-2014, 11:58 PM
My school was banned from Woolworth as they were renowned for stealing things. I never did though no.

The first time I ever saw anyone steal something was as a young boy in Woolworths, in probably 1968-9. Two boys were filling their pockets with sweets while the assistant was looking the other way. One reason Woolworths were so vulnerable to petty theft from schoolchildren was that they used to have their sweets piled high in great big (glass?) display boxes ranged in tiers. They looked fantastic, and clearly the temptation was too much for some.

Wallace
19-09-2014, 07:54 PM
I have had help from here, books and videos and a couple of courses on stone setting (14 days ish worth) and a focus course on mechanical movement in making jewellery, although jewellery really was not really accurate with the end results. If I had found this sooner, I would have gone for formal schooling.

medusa
20-09-2014, 06:19 PM
If you ever met my mother, you'd know just how very bizarre this is ;)




I'm so glad you took that with the humour intended. I almost deleted it. I also suspect I'm just projecting about my own mother:-"


. If I had found this sooner, I would have gone for formal schooling.
same here. I am intending to get better next year but I'm starting to get pushed into academia a bit more. I'm not too sure where I'm going to go. I need a careers advisor. Preferably one who won't tell me I should consider nursing because my spelling is too bad to be a secretary.

CJ57
21-09-2014, 01:35 AM
I was contacted by an art student at a local college the other week asking if I'd help her with her project on creative processes and one of the questions was why I chose the path I did. It was quite strange to go back 30 plus years and answer that!

metalsmith
26-09-2014, 10:10 PM
a recessive artistic gene, OCD and dogged determination - what skills I have anyhow: work in progress

LydiaNiz
27-09-2014, 07:05 PM
I ticked self and the odd course, if 1 term of a City & Guilds counts as the odd course!

Gemsetterchris
27-09-2014, 07:46 PM
I ticked self and the odd course, if 1 term of a City & Guilds counts as the odd course!

If it's any consolation I walked out of a city & guilds exam due to hangover from hell, & my official apprenticeship papers never got handed in apparently :(
Nevertheless I had to prove by doing.
I do have a handfull of average cse's though :D

Tabby66
27-09-2014, 08:05 PM
Nevertheless I had to prove by doing. :D

I think that is the bottom line with this business.....your work speaks for itself....

caroleallen
27-09-2014, 08:12 PM
I think that is the bottom line with this business.....your work speaks for itself....

That's so true. No-one ever asks what my qualifications are.

Gemsetterchris
27-09-2014, 08:20 PM
Starting an apprenticeship I was told to forget anything learnt at college...the "mentor" taught his way.
Later on you realise your " mentor" only knew so much...& you progress past that & still always accept the fact there are things you don't know or haven't realised just as a "stone setter"
Trying to master everything & be a complete jeweller in one lifetime isn't possible.

Tabby66
27-09-2014, 08:27 PM
Starting an apprenticeship I was told to forget anything learnt at college...the "mentor" taught his way.
Later on you realise your " mentor" only knew so much...

Yep, and you start to realise that it can limit you, yet you still have so much to kern from them!!


& you progress past that & still always accept the fact there are things you don't know or haven't realised just as a "stone setter"
Trying to master everything & be a complete jeweller in one lifetime isn't possible.

or what ever your aspect of the trade is....mine is closest to the 'model maker'....and absolutely....mastering everything in a lifetime is impossible!!! (if only)!!!!

Gemsetterchris
27-09-2014, 08:56 PM
It's the development of tools that have changed the game rather than the theory...a lot quicker & easier these days.

caroleallen
27-09-2014, 09:35 PM
That's true up to a point Chris but the ability to design comes into it too.

Tabby66
27-09-2014, 09:59 PM
and the ability to understand what the tools will and won't do and how that blends with traditional theory/techniques....

Gemsetterchris
28-09-2014, 07:39 AM
That's true up to a point Chris but the ability to design comes into it too.

That's a topic I'll avoid. Plenty of "designers" are clueless of the practical side of things.

caroleallen
28-09-2014, 08:31 AM
That's a topic I'll avoid. Plenty of "designers" are clueless of the practical side of things.

I'd say the ability to design and to produce the work is what makes a jeweller. A designer is just a designer.

vernon
02-06-2015, 05:24 PM
I worked in workshops 40 years ago then in early eighties went to epsom art school and got a Higher Surrey Diploma in jewellery making. Have only got back into it as a hobby in the last 4 years as I have been off work for many months with severe back pain. I have a small home workshop and have been only working in Silver, because I like it! I am still using tools from college days and now buy the best I can afford.

rockshelley
16-09-2015, 03:26 PM
I am mainly self taught (by that I mean you tube and online tutorials). I inherited my late great uncle's lapidary and jewelry making equipment and supplies when he passed away and that is what gave me my start... but I am really hoping to start taking some silversmithing classes offered by one of the local shops where I live. I have learned a lot online but I can't help but think that there is something more to learn from an expert in person.

Rock Shelley

Edward Fleming
28-09-2015, 10:15 AM
had to vote 'something else'

I entered the trade with various jobs at the bench before learning how to use CAD and then doing some short coureses. You could loosely describe my time as the bench as an apprenticeship but it certainly wast structured or organised as they are now. The trade is so much further on in terms of training than it was 10 years ago.

Unhindered
06-10-2015, 10:35 AM
I did a degree initially but then sort of an apprenticeship where i was kind of left to my own devices most of the time but I learnt a lot doing it that way. I now work for a jewellers mostly doing repairs but have my own business too.

Helen
24-02-2016, 11:29 AM
Started with a years adult education evening classes, with lots of internet videos and tutorials and lots of books...if I see something that interests me I will try to work out how it was made and have a crack on my own version. These forums are invaluable too. I recently did a gem setting course at Creatstudio in Faversham which was brilliant...interestingly enough out of the 8 in the workshop 6 had recent jewellery design degrees and were doing the course because they had not been taught the actual practical skills necessary to work with metals. All that money spent and they still had to pay to learn how to make anything...they could knit a necklace out of carrier bags but couldn't actually solder anything!!!

Patstone
25-02-2016, 06:58 AM
There are a lot of academics like that. My daughters lodger is highly qualified something in the science field I believe and he can barely tie his shoelaces, but can work anything out on paper. Which would you rather be, I know my choice, you can get by in life being practical and doing most things, but unless you can find someone who can work to your plans on paper you are stuck.

Gemsetterchris
25-02-2016, 07:29 AM
I had a chat with a CAD expert with a well known casting company a while ago, lots of "designers" submitting files that just simply won`t work since they have zero knowledge of the process required to turn a model into an actual piece.

Helen
25-02-2016, 08:09 AM
The one thing they did seem to have that I lack is the self belief...I really struggle with 'owning my work' and having faith in it as something worth peoples money...this despite knowing that people have seen pieces and loved them enough to part with the readies! I still have to quell that inner voice that says What you really like this? Are you sure? Perhaps it's the wonderful arrogance of youth....that said, my eldest is off to uni this year to study creative writing and it's taken a lot of soul searching for both of us to decide that the debt he'll incur is worth it...

Tabby66
28-02-2016, 12:00 AM
The one thing they did seem to have that I lack is the self belief...I really struggle with 'owning my work' and having faith in it as something worth peoples money...this despite knowing that people have seen pieces and loved them enough to part with the readies! I still have to quell that inner voice that says What you really like this? Are you sure? Perhaps it's the wonderful arrogance of youth....that said, my eldest is off to uni this year to study creative writing and it's taken a lot of soul searching for both of us to decide that the debt he'll incur is worth it...

Oh, Helen,
I still have this continual debate with myself,.......but I also know the value of materials that go to making a piece,.....and that is the basic cost, no brainer, as it were, I tend to use 1mm sheet minimum, some things are 0.8, but (for me) there would be a very good reason if anything was in any less thickness. So that's the basic cost, no work, no design, no on costs......and in my head I still try and justify this......

I think it takes time, experience, market research, market testing to 'get it right'.........but even then, you continue to wonder why something did or didn't sell :confused:

Lynn.D
06-03-2016, 03:03 PM
The one thing they did seem to have that I lack is the self belief...I really struggle with 'owning my work' and having faith in it as something worth peoples money...this despite knowing that people have seen pieces and loved them enough to part with the readies! I still have to quell that inner voice that says What you really like this? Are you sure? Perhaps it's the wonderful arrogance of youth....that said, my eldest is off to uni this year to study creative writing and it's taken a lot of soul searching for both of us to decide that the debt he'll incur is worth it...

I lack self belief too Helen and only started selling stuff in a small way two years ago. I'm 61 soon and know that my skills are limited and not likely to reach the standard I would have wished if I had got into this game earlier.

However, the enjoyment of seeing someone willing to pay for something I have spent hours fiddling around with makes it all worth while.

I've actually got a hoard of stuff I never put on sale but when friends pop round for supper and I tip it out and say "Do you fancy any of this" They say "Oooooh I like that!! I think Oh flip I should have tried to sell it lol

Patstone
13-08-2016, 07:43 AM
I did a college night class for beginners (one evening a week for ten weeks) about 6 years ago which taught the basics of soldering and tube setting stones and the very basics, which i managed without too much difficulty despite only having one eye. It took hold as a hobby and eventually I had so much stuff that I had to sell. I started doing craft shows during the summer and went to one local show only to end up in the same tent as my teacher, only to be greeted by "huh, if I had known you were coming I wouldnt have come". I replied by saying thank you for teaching me so well, to which there was no reply.

Dennis
13-08-2016, 10:15 AM
Everyone who saw this laughed their heads off. Dennis.

ps_bond
13-08-2016, 10:27 AM
It's a lousy teacher who doesn't recognise that their students doing well also bolsters them.

1711
14-08-2016, 06:19 AM
Funny to read this as I was feeling depressed today after realising that I am too old... I'd like to think I'm not one foot in the grave but I don't have the entry qualifications for a formal course and by the time I do an access course and a formal course I will be taking a chunk out of my working life.

Oh to have had the foresight and self belief to pick creative choices rather than proper work lol..

I have mainly learned some techniques from a local jeweller/teacher who used to run evening classes at the college until funding stopped. So I pay by the hour and do something new each session.

I have a night time habit of watching Soham Harrison on YouTube... I find his voice alone distresses me and the videos are short enough that I don't nod off before they finish lol..

I also love the work and techniques of filigreenus on YouTube.

Anything else is dogged trial and error.. (21 hours of failure soldering a bezel before I discovered my refillable torch just wasn't up to it...)

I'm hoping that investing the equivalent of full time course money in one off training days and weekends will be a good alternative to college for me as a mature mature student 😆

Sent from my SM-N910F using Tapatalk

joyerico
13-07-2017, 08:03 AM
Self taught here too: buying equipment, trial and error, vids, more errors, lots of errors .......

It's interesting to notice this is the choice for around 80% of people.

eekoh
02-02-2018, 02:44 PM
Great poll - I was wondering this very question just yesterday!
I've done a bit of beading and lots of other creative, crafty type things but I'm just starting out with metalwork so there is huge amount of new skills to learn - probably loads of things that haven't even occurred to me as a novice!
At present I'm mostly intending to just experiment with simple things guided by the usual sources like books, youtube tutorials and forums but I've already found a couple of reasonably local studios that run workshops and classes that look good.
I would love to do more extensive formal training but unfortunately I have to work full time and it isn't always easy to fit regular appointments in around that job as the hours aren't a straight-forward 9-5 arrangement.

Ceri
08-02-2018, 12:49 PM
From birth also tongue in cheek but my mum still has some of the first pieces I made at nursery including a painted pasta necklace (where I insisted on a symmetrical colour pattern) and a necklace made with beer bottle tops (38 years ago the nursery I attended let us use real (miniature) hammers, nails and blocks of wood. I made holes in all the bottle tops and threaded them. I think I must have got an adult to remove the nails as I don't remember there being any pliers!
At primary school I discovered fimo, macrame and seed beeds....
At secondary my designs were far too complex for the equipment and I hated compromising.
Had a chequered education and work history but still kept making which eventually led to building my own workshop in my garden and working on commissions.
Love to experiment with new materials and techniques but not sure whether I'm an artist or a jeweller.
I would love to have a more formal education but I can't afford it either financially or in terms of time!