Make Mexican Sterling Silver Jewelry: Workshop in Oaxaca

Learn to make sterling silver jewelry — rings, pendants, earrings — using the ancient lost-wax process.  This is an excellent introduction to wax carving and sling casting techniques, plus the finish work needed to laminate, stretch, cut, file, solder, polish and buff your piece.

Comprehensive 3-Day Silver Jewelry Workshop: $325

             Offered most Fridays-Saturdays-Sundays throughout the year.  Contact us to schedule a custom workshop to suit your travel plans!

Class size is limited to 4 people.

You do not need to be experienced.  
 Beginners welcome.
We work closely with each participant to suit each person’s individual learning styles and needs in a safe learning environment.   Whether you are a visitor to Oaxaca and want to add this experience to your travel itinerary or you live here, we welcome your participation.  Brigitte and Ivan speak French, English, and Spanish and they are happy to translate as they teach.

Workshop Schedule:

  • Day One:  9 a.m. to late afternoon, with a lunch break (bring your own lunch).  We may end at 5 or 6 p.m., depending on group size.
  • Day Two: 10 a.m. to late afternoon, with a  lunch break (bring your own lunch).  We may end at 5 or 6 p.m., depending on group size.
  • Day Three: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with one hour lunch break (bring your own lunch).

During the first two days, you will:

  • Choose and reproduce a design based on ancient Mixtec, Aztec, Mayan and Zapotec symbols
  • Carve, build-up and sculpt a 3-dimensional Kand-art design in wax for a pendant or a ring
  • Prepare the casting flask with plaster for your piece
  • Attend to the oven with the flask in the charcoal
  • Participate with supervised instruction to cast the silver in the mold
  • Learn how to use the sling to cast your own work in the future
  • Hand-finish, buff and polish your piece so it is ready-to-wear

All materials, tools, instruction and your sterling silver piece are included in the course fee.

On Day Three, you will have an Introduction to Classical Jewelry Making.  You will learn to use classical jewelers’ tools: the laminator, pliers, saws, electric motor, solder torch, and do finish work using different grades of sandpaper to clean, polish and buff.  In this session you will learn how to melt the quantity of metal you will need, laminate it, stretch it, cut it, and solder the different elements of a design together.  Using the techniques you learn, you will build up a small silver pendant or a pair of earrings ready to wear, choosing a design among the ones we offer you.

Sue Baldassano from New York says … I spent two lovely days  learning to  make jewelry with Brigitte and Ivan in Oaxaca, Mexico. It felt great to be in a working studio with artists.  They were both passionate about their work and seemed to enjoy sharing their knowledge. They were patient, kind and open to my personal artistic style. The  surroundings were comfortable and I never felt rushed in any way.  I came home with not only a beautiful necklace but an appreciation for  the art of jewelry making.

About the Lost-Wax Process.  In many cultures in South America, as well as Africa and India, gold and silversmiths used the technique of lost-wax casting to create complex and delicate shapes.  The item to be cast is first modeled in wax and a clay mold is built around it with a small hole piercing the mold.  The mold is baked until the wax melts and runs out of the mold through the hole.  The molten material is then poured through the same hole into the empty cavity.  After it cools and hardens the mold is broken open and the casting is removed and cleaned.

Lost Wax Workshop Photos: The Process and the Product

    

All materials, tools, instruction and your sterling silver piece are included in the course fee.

I had a wonderful workshop experience.  Thank you for the class of a life-time. For a serious jewelry student, this is an opportunity that I doubt is available anywhere else in the Americas – and certainly not at this price.  –Beryl Simon

  

    

Carol Egan from New Jersey says … I absolutely loved the three-day workshop for making Mexican sterling silver! I learned how to carve in wax and cast a sterling silver pendant/ring. I also made earings and a carved ring. I found the casting in the ancient sling facinating! Absolutely everything is done from scratch as it has been done through the history of silver jewelry making. I worked with three master jewelers. You will love the work of Brigitte, Ivan and Ricardo! I learned to saw metal and solder using the torch, and then polish my piece. If you really want to learn how to make silver jewelry this is the class. The teachers are very kind and professional. They are also patient guiding you through each step. If you wish to make some of your own designs this must be organized a head of time. They have this down to a science. If you are serious about making silver jewelry this is the class for you!

Photos of Classical Jewelry Making Process and Product

           

Who Should Attend: You do not have to be an experienced jeweler or artist to participate!  Beginners are welcome.

  • Artists
  • Hobbyists
  • Jewelry designers
  • Aspiring jewelers
  • Anyone who wants to have fun and make something special

About Your Workshop Leaders—Brigitte Huet and Ivan Campant, Kand-Art Jewelry Workshop

Kand-Art creations are inspired by pre-Hispanic symbols and carved in high relief.  The jewelry has been exhibited and sold in galleries throughout the United States and in Oaxaca, and many have collected their work over time whenever they return to Oaxaca, or when Brigitte and Ivan travel to the U.S. for private shows.  Kand-Art Jewelry designs are in private collections throughout the world.

Brigitte Huet.  Brigitte Huet attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts and majored in art history at university in France.  She was the first young woman apprentice accepted into the studio of a Lorraine, France, master jeweler where she learned to work in silver before emigrating to Oaxaca in 1993.  Brigitte is an experienced classroom teacher as well as a talented jewelry designer.  Her designs are fluid, interpretive and elegant.

Ivan Campant.  Fascinated by the Mayan culture, Ivan is an accomplished self-taught artist and musician.  His jewelry designs are detailed, intricate, textural and complex and incorporate many of the Mayan symbols that intrigue him.  He began carving wax designs for the jewelry soon after he and Brigitte arrived in Oaxaca from France.  An older Zapotec jeweler – a master craftsman – taught Ivan how to use the traditional sling for casting the silver in the ancient technique.

Workshop Location.  The workshop will be held in the Oaxaca, Mexico home studio of Brigitte and Ivan, in a neighborhood about 10-15 minutes from the historic center of Oaxaca.  Transportation at your own expense.  You can take a taxi (40-50 pesos [$4-5 USD] one-way) or a local bus.  We’ll give you more details and directions after you register.  Brigitte and Ivan will call a taxi to return you to the historic center at the end of the workshop day.

Meals.  All meals are on your own and at your own expense.  Most of our participants bring their own lunch.  There is a lovely local market, Mercado de Santa Rosa, two blocks from the studio, where you can shop and bring your food back to the studio.  There is a lovely patio garden where you can take lunch and refreshments.

Lodging.  All lodging is on your own/at your own expense.  This gives you the flexibility to choose the level of accommodation that best suits your travel preferences.  You make and pay for your own hotel reservations. We can offer suggestions and contact information for places to stay.    If you are interested in recommendations, let me know.

Marty Knight from North Carolina says …  I recently spent a few fabulous weeks in and around Oaxaca.  A highlight of the trip was the lost wax silver “experience” with Brigitte and Ivan.  With their clear and masterful  instructions and their hands-on teaching techniques I never felt overwhelmed. One of the many benefits of taking classes with them was learning about the highly developed pre-Columbian Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations.  Their positive and always helpful attitude made me want to go further.  And, in fact, I did.  I extended the original class to make a beautiful, original design ring that has received many compliments and even offers to buy it off my finger! I have taken jewelry courses as a hobby for several years but this was the most enlightening instruction to date.  I’m looking forward to more instruction from Brigitte and Ivan and Ricardo, a local silver expert, in the future.  Do yourself and favor and spend some time learning from Brigitte and Ivan.

Reservations and Cancellations.   Full payment is required to guarantee your spot.  We prefer Payment with PayPal.    We will send you an invoice. If cancellation is necessary, please notify us in writing by email 45 days before the start of the workshop and we will refund 50% of your course fee.   After that, no refunds are possible.

We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation, baggage, emergency evacuation and medical insurance before you begin your trip, since unforeseen circumstances are possible.

To register or for questions, contact us by email or Skype: oaxacaculture

This workshop is produced by Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.

18 Responses to Make Mexican Sterling Silver Jewelry: Workshop in Oaxaca

  1. Hi Norma:
    Are there any “lost-wax process” courses being offered ? I will be in Oaxaca from early March on-wards.
    Thanks a lot, Coleman
    P.S. … I greatly enjoy your postings….

  2. Hi there-
    Do you know if there are any openings for the silversmithing workshop for the weekend of January 17th, 2014 or the following weekend of January 24th?
    I have no experience.

  3. I’m wondering where I can find a schedule of upcoming classes for Sterling Silver Jewelry Making: Lost Wax Casting and Classical Techniques.

  4. I am interested in doing a wax carving/casting course on July/August 2013. What dates are available? What scope is there for exploring different carving techniques, as I already have some carving experience!

    • Helen, the class is offered on any Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Please tell me the dates you prefer. Give me a choice of two sets of dates and I will check with Brigitte and Ivan. The classes are customized to levels of ability, and you will be able to explore carving techniques during the first two days. The third day is devoted to traditional jewelry making. Looking forward to hearing from you. You can email directly at normahawthorne@mac.com

    • Helen, we have a workshop scheduled for July 5-7, 2013. Can you make these dates? Thanks, Norma

  5. would love to find out what dates that you may have openings in your class.
    i live in the washington dc area and have a flexible schedule. thank you in advance for your time and consideration. sincerely, natalie

    • Natalie, the class is offered Friday, Saturday and Sunday and can be scheduled any weekend to suit your travel schedule. Please let me know your preferred dates and we will make the arrangements and let you know. thanks, Norma

  6. Hi,
    I am not an artist or jewelry maker, but would love to learn this art. Will you be having any classes in June 2013? Thank you.
    Annemarie

  7. Will you be giving any courses in Jan ? I have experience in silversmith and spent a year with Billy King in San Miguel de Allende , but would like to learn lost wax casting, is this the course for me ?

    • Maya, tell me the dates you will be available in Oaxaca and I will check to see what we can schedule for you. The course description fully explains the lost wax casting process. Only you can decide if this is the course for you :) Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll be glad to answer them. Thanks so much for your interest. -Norma

    • Maya, January is coming up and I wanted to know if you would like to enroll in this course. Thanks, Norma

  8. Is this class still available (for October 2012)? The ‘contact’ link was not available.

    • Elaine we will hold this workshop on October 26, 27, and 28, 2012 — for 3 days. Let me know if there is any other information you need and when you are ready to register. I will then send you a PayPal invoice. Thanks so much, Norma

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