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Thread: Stone setting in London

  1. #1
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    Default Stone setting in London

    I'd like to get better at the stone setting I can do a decent-ish job of (bezel & tube). I can *sort of* flush set, but am as likely to make a failure as a success despite a fair amount of playing with it - which is what's spurring on this hunt for a course. And I will quite happily learn more - claw settings have always daunted me and maybe they should not. So I think a stone-setting course would be a good plan - both for firming up my existing skills and picking up more. And since I'm mostly self-taught I reckon that some time in a more formal session could be good for me anyway. I'm sure I have loads of bad habits and this might help me weed them out.

    I'd prefer a longer course - going away and having a bash at new methods between sessions appeals more than an intensive two or three days - and in that case it'd need to be London or west-ish-Kent (and public transport accessible).

    I'm looking at this one: http://www.citylit.ac.uk/courses/art...-stone-setting - does anyone have any experience of that, good or bad? Or know of anywhere else I should be looking? CSM have a similar-sounding course at twice the cost, and I can't find anywhere else in London that's not either 'meet a bezel' or aimed at a higher skillset that I think I have. Or are there are advantages to a shorter, more-intensive course that I might not have thought about?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I have hesitated to reply to this Marna, because I have once attended a complete turkey of a stone setting course, despite a preliminary interview, where I was assured that it was what I wanted.

    For instance, here is a blog by a disappointed student http://springjewellery.blogspot.co.u...ers-stone.html

    I can only judge by the wording of the prospectus you have posted, but:
    Is the college renowned for its jewellery department?
    Is the tutor not named because they have not been appointed yet?
    I don't like the loosely used term cut stone, meaning faceted stone, which seems unprofessional to me.
    The promise of one finished piece of jewellery might attract those with no other facilities, but would eat into the tuition time for setting.
    Why do they say that a preliminary interview is not necessary. I would say it was essential. Dennis.

  3. #3
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    Having carefully typed a lengthy response, I then managed to close the window I was working in by accident. Ho hum.
    For flush setting, I still think this is a damn good resource:
    http://www.newapproachschool.com/cat...-setting-video

    The review of the course was troubling - granted it's a few years ago, but it raised a few questions:
    Why was a tools list not provided? If you're going to be modifying tools then they really ought to be your own. I wouldn't expect students to bring a pendant motor, but basic hand tools aren't a major issue.
    Student:teacher ratio. Hmm. I know it's common for venues to be told the maximum number of students that can be handled and then add some but that doesn't make it right.
    No structure: Strange. I know others have done courses with Tony Tigg, it'd be interesting to see if there's any commonality. My style of instruction goes along the lines of "tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you just told them" - although it isn't one that would necessarily work for jewellery tuition.
    Individual briefings - inefficient. Stop everyone and tell them the next stage, assist where needed.

    It does have a few parallels with a truly dreadful weekend setting course I did at West Dean a few years back. A downright unpleasant, sneering, patronising ("who sharpened your gravers for you?") "tutor" who was more interested in the fawning adulation of his female groupies than actually doing any teaching. Class size too high, zero structure, individual briefings, "teaching" consisting of 30s demos with no explanation, exasperation at any request for clarification and having to wait half an hour for any assistance... We did not get along. I later learned he is not a setter in any way, shape or form. He is no longer employed by them.

    My experience rather underscores Dennis' comments and recommendations.

    One thing that I would comment on wrt the prospectus - that seems to mix mount making and stone setting. Strictly they're 2 separate disciplines.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Hi Dennis and Peter - thank you both for such useful and comprehensive replies! You've helped me figure out what to ask, and stopped me diving headlong into booking possibly the wrong thing.

    I've dropped them an email asking about the potential problems - class sizes, tutor, etc - so hopefully I'll hear back soon and can decide what to do next - either keep looking or go for it.

    I also (thanks for the inspiration, Dennis) did some googling around 'blog' and 'stone setting course' and Birmingham School of Jewellery was the stand-out place for glowing reviews. I think they just run week-long courses in the summer, though - and it's definitely too far to travel for an evening class.

    The college (City Lit) has a very good reputation - anyone I know who's studied there has had only good things to say about it - but I don't know anyone who's taken a jewellery course at all.

  5. #5
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    Is Faversham too far for you? When I was looking at setting courses a couple of years ago, Tony Tigg was well reviewed. He does a setting weekend here: http://creatstudio.co.uk/workshop-an...stone-setting/

    I ended up doing one miles up North in the middle of nowhere in the end!

  6. #6
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    It was interesting to read that blog as it did resonate a bit with me. Wallace and I did a course with him a few years ago. I think Wallace did a splendid job but I really struggled with it all. We did have to queue for attention and I also remember waiting my turn to make my tools. I think if you're an expert who's being setting for many a long year, it's difficult to understand that some people don't find it so easy. I concluded that it just wasn't the right course for me as I also would have preferred a course where we made our own settings rather than using bought in settings. I realised at the end of it that pave setting is not for me. Maybe if I'd had time to practice afterwards, I'd eventually have got the hang of it.

  7. #7
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    I did a course at In The Studio , Kegworth which I found very useful.
    I suppose it depends what one hoped to get out of it but ours was 5 days with 6 students and certainly wasn't enough for a beginner to do everything including making the settings.
    I was disappointed that we didn't make settings as I really struggled with that at the time and have a lot of orders for them but 5 days wouldn't have been long enough so they do that in a different course.
    We also didn't get to doing Pave, again through lack of enough time.
    We did, however, get to learn claw setting in various designs, bezel setting, channel setting, tube and gypsy/flush setting and also some work on star setting so the beginnings of pave.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by caroleallen View Post
    It was interesting to read that blog as it did resonate a bit with me. Wallace and I did a course with him a few years ago. I think Wallace did a splendid job but I really struggled with it all. We did have to queue for attention and I also remember waiting my turn to make my tools. I think if you're an expert who's being setting for many a long year, it's difficult to understand that some people don't find it so easy. I concluded that it just wasn't the right course for me as I also would have preferred a course where we made our own settings rather than using bought in settings. I realised at the end of it that pave setting is not for me. Maybe if I'd had time to practice afterwards, I'd eventually have got the hang of it.
    Oh that's a shame - when I was researching I read good things about his teaching. I'm glad I went for the Guy Whitney one in the end. It was miles away, but I got two days of one to one tuition and learned loads.

    I sucked at pave though! I might have another go one day, but I was more interested in learning the styles I use most in my jewellery, so rubover, corners, claws etc.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2015
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    Lauren, I think I came across your writeup when I was trawling blogs for recommendations, and it sounded great! (But far away, which would mean catsitting and organisation.)

    I've read a couple of glowing write-ups of the Tony Tigg course out in Faversham but I have two things I have promised to attend that weekend, so that's out of the running.

    Anyway, I've had an answer back from CityLit about the class I was wondering about. It will include some toolmaking (yay!) but there will be up to sixteen people in the class, which is a lot. On the other hand, it's (relatively) cheap, would get me into town and working with other people once a week, and I can always look somewhere for a day of tuition to top up the bits I've not grasped, or the things I want to focus on. Still contemplating it I think....

  10. #10
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    Marna - I've done a few short jewellery courses at City Lit - currently also doing Mandarin there and also starting a day jewellery class at the end of the month. I've enjoyed all the courses that I've done there - 16 is the maximum number they enrol but the largest class I've been in was 12. If you like to spread out a lot, the bench space is quite small. They have a very good range of tools, but only a couple of pendant motors and I think only 5 soldering stations. I also do an evening jewellery class with my local education authority which has only a very basic range of tools, but where each workbench has its own torch. We are 13 in that class. At City Lit I miss having my own torch; at the local adult ed I miss the tools.

    If you're worried about large class size, you could always phone up and ask how many are already enrolled?

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