Metal Jewelry Making at the Folk School

In January, I had the wonderful privilege of taking a week-long class at the John C Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. I have done jewelry in the past but it has taken a back seat to my Shibori dyeing for the last eight or so years. While I have taught at the school and will be again, being a student is a very different and exciting experience! 

Seeing the John C Campbell Folk School sign always makes my heart jump a little and I was ready to dive in as soon as I arrived. Our class, "Make it Metal" started on Friday night after dinner. The meal is served family style so you can meet people from all over who have come to the Folk School to take a class.

Located on "Studio Row" at the Folk School, the wonderful jewelry studio is in a rustic building, built of locally-grown pine. It is well equipped for jewelry making and has a great variety of tools. Although I didn't do very well, I worked with the jewelers saw and learned that I need tons of practice!

We worked mainly with copper and bronze for our pieces and sterling wire for earring wires. By soldering copper wire together in circles, I made a very long chain. In addition to circles, I made some into ovals, textured them with a hammer and added a patina before it went into the tumbler. You can see my work above.

After many years away from jewelry making, this was a great refresher course for me! I also made several pairs of earrings and a hot riveted necklace. These were cold rivets with several kinds of soldering. We had a rolling mill to add texture to our metals and to change the shape of pieces. 

At the end of the week, all classes at the Folk School put together a display of the work created over the week. It's a wonderful time of sharing and inspiration! The picture above shows the pieces our class created under the guidance of our marvelous teachers. 

I met some really nice people in class and we all had a great time learning and working together. The picture above was taken on the porch of the Jewelry Studio. 

Our teachers were Gena Murfin (right) and Emily Rogstad (left). Both women are experienced, skilled jewelry makers and it was an honor to work with them. Gena was very generous with her time and let us work from 9 to 6 everyday. It was such a joy!

If you'd like to see Gena and Emily's beautiful work, you can visit their web sites and/or follow them on Instagram. Click here for Gena's site. Her Instagram is @genamurfin. Click here for Emily's site. Her Instagram is @emilyrogstad. Gena has an IG post specifically about the Folk School class that you will enjoy. Click here to read it. 


Spending a week at the John C Campbell Folk School is an amazing experience! I wholeheartedly agree with Gena Murfin, who says in her Instagram post "I’m beyond thankful for my time there and can’t wait to return." I am thrilled that I will be returning in June to teach Shibori! The class is full, but you can add your name to the wait list if you'd like.

To see more opportunities to take a class with me, click here to view my calendar. I'll be teaching in Hawaii in April, at my home studio class in May and many other places throughout 2024. I'd love to see you in class!


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