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!
- 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.
- 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.
Bilbao Reunion with Brigitte Huet, Silversmith and Jeweler
Our reunion with artist, jeweler, silversmith and dear friend Brigitte S. Huet has been in the making for over a year when Barbara and I first planned to visit Spain. Brigitte and her husband Ivan returned to France in early 2014 after making Oaxaca their home and creative inspiration for over 20 years. We miss them.
So, we made a meet-up plan for Bilbao, which is about four hours by car from the Toulouse area where they now live, to visit the Guggenheim Museum together.
Barbara asked Brigitte to bring a trunk show of collector pieces she had created in the early years. We spent time looking at designs we had never seen before that had been tucked away in Brigitte’s treasure chest in France. They included belt buckles, deeply carved silver beads, pendents, rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets.
Some of these, mostly necklaces and bracelets, are now available for sale. I have them with me and I will be posting photos and prices soon.
We reminisced, drank good red wine, ate stinky unpasteurized cheese, walked and giggled. It was wonderful to be with Brigitte again. They have not produced jewelry since returning to France.
There is no place where they live now to set up a casting studio. But, Brigitte has carved wax designs in preparation for what comes next and she has been carving wood, too. The creative life continues.
Enviando besos y abrazos de Brigitte y Ivan de Francia. Sending kisses and hugs from Brigitte and Ivan from France.
Posted in Cultural Commentary, Jewelry, Mexico, Oaxaca Mexico art and culture
Tagged artist, Brigitte S. Huet, France, jewelry, lost-wax casting, Mexico, Oaxaca, silver, silversmith, Toulouse