If you’ve encountered an incredibly knowledgeable man with a fun loving attitude, who happens to be wearing a Hawaiian shirt …you’ve probably met Jeff Georgantes!  He is a great person to know for more reasons than one. In recent years we have been very fortunate to have Jeff as a member of our Board of Directors at Metalwerx and as a frequent teacher. You may have also met Jeff at Metalwerx Marketplace, where he can usually be found inside the Otto Frei booth giving demonstrations and teaching shoppers about the “do’s and don’ts” of tools.  This summer Jeff will be joining us for Summer with the Masters to teach “Weld it! Precision Pulse Arc Welding for Jewelers”. In anticipation of this great class, we wanted to know a little bit more about Jeff and how he got into precision pulse arc welding!

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So how did Jeff end up being the knowledgeable resource that he is today? Well, it all started in the 1970s in Northern California. The “West Coast Funk” Movement was in full swing, and artists like Robert Arneson and William Wiley had captured Jeff’s interest with their borderline irreverent style. Among his early heroes were the likes of Jim Cotter, Fred Woell, Gary Noffke, and Robert Ebendorf. Jeff remarked “It’s funny. Even after all of these years, I learned a way of thinking from them that still reverberates within me to this day. Most often I work in an assemblage structure. I find an object that speaks to me, whether it’s a beach or river rock, a found object, whatever. Then I build from there” After studying under the tutelage of David LaPlantz at Humboldt State University in Arcata California, Jeff found himself doing the jewelry store hustle. Long days spent working at the bench at jewelry stores, meant that Jeff became really well acquainted with repair, and all things relating to wax carving and stone setting! “Becoming good at jewelry repair is probably the best technical exercise there is in jewelry making. It teaches a person to see how something was made and on some level learn the thought process of the maker” Jeff said.

During his time spent in the Redwoods of California, Jeff co-created a thriving jewelry and metals program at Mendocino Art Center, taught at the College of the Redwoods, and received a MA in Sculpture from Humboldt State University. All of this would lead him to fulfill a life-long dream to become a full-time college professor. He went back to school and got his MFA in Jewelry and Metals in Southern California at CSU, Fullerton with Christina Smith. With his new diploma in hand he became the Jewelry/Metals Department Head at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire!

One of Jeff’s greatest qualities is his thirst for knowledge, so when a local jeweler in Hanover, NH gave Jeff unlimited access to his new laser welder, Jeff was eager to learn how to fully implement this new technology. Jeff spent countless hours tweaking with all of the settings and trying different types of welds and repairs.  Jeff quickly fell in love with this new technology. The laser welder was a great asset to his work, but the price of the laser welder made it unattainable for his home studio. So he began searching for a cheaper option and discovered the Pulse Arc Welder as the perfect alternative. “I was blown away by what was possible! Being able to hold parts together just with your hands, then tack those parts together before soldering and adjust for a perfect alignment was revolutionary for me. I’ve pretty much thrown away all of my third-hand soldering tweezers!”  The Pulse Arc Welder works very differently from the Laser Welder it was able to accomplish nearly the same tasks, at a fraction of the cost!

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So how does it work?  Jeff explains…

“Laser welders weld with a highly concentrated beam of infrared light, whereas the Pulse Arc welder uses electricity and tungsten inert gas (usually Argon gas) to create the weld! Positive and negative leads come together in a controlled way to create a really hot spark. The space between the two leads creates an arc, which develops superheated plasma; hence the term arc welding. While arc welding is a great technology to incorporate into any studio practice, it best serves as a complement to traditional torch soldering, not a replacement…I’ll tack weld all of the individual pieces together with the pulse arc welder and then solder all 10-15 joints in one solder operation”.

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Let’s be clear, soldering 10-15 joints at once sounds like a dream come true, but that’s not the only task the Pulse Arc Welder is capable of! Jeff explained it can also be used during enameling (instead of using IT solder before you enamel), and for filling pits and porosity in a casting, or even to resize a ring. One of the most amazing assets of the Pulse Arc Welder is its ability to weld next to heat sensitive objects such as pearls and enamel. The Pulse Arc Welder has had many improvements over the years, one of which was to allow the Pulse Arc Welder to heat the area being welded very quickly, while also cooling it back down in a millisecond, so you don’t have to worry about your stone our pearl cracking from the heat!

“Most people in our field think that advances in CAD/CAM and 3D printing have had the greatest influence on contemporary jewelry technology. While the influence of CAD/CAM and 3D printing is huge, I would argue that advances in precision welding for jewelry has just as big of an effect on our field. “Weld It! Precision Pulse Arc Welding for Jewelers” Class at Metalwerx is an amazing opportunity for participants to get hands-on, mentored experience with transformative technology”  – Jeff Georgantes

Join us this summer for “Weld it! Precision Pulse Arc Welding for Jewelers” August 14th- 18th!

 

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In February of 2018,  jeweler Corkie Bolton set out to make metalsmithing easier for makers all over the world by sharing jewelry making tips on her Instagram account titled “Metalsmith Society”. Little did she know it would grow to be one of the most popular metalsmithing account on Instagram with 70.8k followers!  The premises is pretty straight forward, if you have a great tip for metalsmithing just post a picture on Instagram with an explanation of how your tip works, and then you tag Metalsmith Society in the post. Corkie will then repost your tip for everyone to learn from! As the popularity of the account has grown Corkie has come up with creative ways to further involve her followers, such as creating monthly metalsmithing challenges. This months challenge is to create a “vessel”, and so far there are many gorgeous submission made by Metalsmith Society followers!

It was our greatest pleasure visit with Corkie in Rhode Island studio space, and get to know more about the amazing woman behind this amazing social media account!

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How do you find time to post so frequently?

From the beginning, I’ve posted daily, and I know my consistency has really paid off. In order to keep that going I sit down a few times a week and create drafts for future posts. On days where it happens to be a holiday or I’m focusing on spending time with my family all I have to do is post something I already planned in advance!

How do you balance making things with being a mom?

While my two young kids are definitely my main priority I also prioritize my own self-care. For me this includes working out 4 times a week and having regular, designated evenings that I go to my studio and get work done. I don’t know I would be as happy as I am, as a stay at home mom if it weren’t for my ability to create my jewelry and have adult time.

Corkie and her cute kids! Corkie and her kids!

Are you from Rhode Island? If not, where are you from and how did you choose to live here?

I grew up in Ossining, New York a suburb outside of New York City. I moved to Rhode Island in 2014 with my husband who grew up here. It’s an amazing place to live!

In high school you began to make jewelry. Did you have a jewelry / metals program in your high school? What first got you started?

Jewelry making and enameling were introduced to me my junior year of high school and I fell in love! One of my teachers Mrs D had experience with jewelry making and she would allow us to do it if we wanted to! 

Did you attend Pratt knowing that you would graduate with a jewelry degree?

My experience in high school definitely influenced my decision to major in Jewelry at Pratt. I really loved this idea that I could create jewelry that was functional, could last forever and even be handed down from generation to generation.

You have really nurtured the Metalsmith Society into a wonderfully inclusive and sharing community! What spawned your interest in starting this profile and did you think that it would be as successful as it has become?

One of the major reasons I started the page was because I wanted to connect with other jewelers out there that were open to sharing knowledge with others. I just think it is wonderful to be able to ask others their experiences, get support when you need it or just see someone do something in a way you never would have considered. Doing this in a space where kindness is a main objective has really resonated with a lot of people, but I never dreamed the page would grow to be this big and in such a short amount of time. I feel very grateful.

MetalsmithSociety A tip for cleaning wax files from Metalsmith Society’s Instagram

What is your studio set-up like?  Do you have it at home or in a separate location?

My studio is in downtown, Providence in an old paper mill and I have three studiomates. My set up basically consists of four areas, the main being my bench, then there is a polishing and forming area, a desk where I design and measure which also has my rolling mill and a soldering table.

What are some ways that you seek out inspiration for your work?

My work is always evolving, last summer I became OBSESSED with gardening. Spending hours daily outside with my kids tending to my garden and cutting my own bouquets. It only made sense to then work on a botanical collection. I am also very inspired by techniques, so I will set a goal to get better at a particular technique by creating a collection around it. In this way I’m always growing and becoming better at what I do.

corkiesjewlery The Wide Zinnia Band , and Illumination Zinnia Ring by Corkie

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Sitting down with Corkie Bolton of #MetalsmithSociety

April 26, 2019

In February of 2018,  jeweler Corkie Bolton set out to make metalsmithing easier for makers all over the world by sharing jewelry making tips on her Instagram account titled “Metalsmith Society”. Little did she know it would grow to be one of the most popular metalsmithing account on Instagram with 70.8k followers!  The premises is […]

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Bill Heher from Rare Earth Mining

March 26, 2019

You may know Bill Heher as the friendly and enthusiastic vendor from Rare Earth Mining at Metalwerx Marketplace. Rare Earth Mining is a small and family owned gem company that offers fine and unusual gem materials. Bill collects and sells some amazing and rare specimens of gems and minerals from all over the world.  Metalwerx recently sat […]

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Tucson Rocks!

February 27, 2019

Tucson Rocks! This February, Metalwerx director Lindsay Minihan and I were fortunate to venture to Tucson, AZ for the Tucson gem show. Every February, thousands of vendors from all over the world come to Tucson to sell their gems, stones, tools and various other goods. The entire city is inundated with over 45 shows, each housing […]

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Pauline Warg: Setting the Pace with fARTlek Jewelry

February 7, 2019

Metalwerx instructor Pauline Warg has been dedicated to making jewelry since childhood. With 35 years of professional experience Pauline has picked up countless skills and techniques over the years.  In fact, Pauline’s love of jewelry began when she was given a trinket kiln to play with as a child. Pauline became infatuated with the glossy […]

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Barbara Seidenath and the Opulence of Glass

January 4, 2019

Sifted, wet packed, and fired to perfection.  Perhaps it’s the warm heat of the kilns set to 1550 degrees, the melodic sound of Barbara’s voice, or the excitement of students revealing treasures from the kiln that makes being in one of Barbara’s enameling classes such a unique and rewarding experience. An enameling class with Barbara […]

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Thank you for an amazing 2018 at Metalwerx!

January 4, 2019

As another year at Metalwerx comes to a close, we are once again blown away by the incredibly supportive and creative community that surrounds us at Metalwerx.  It is a feeling that can be hard to explain to anyone outside of these four walls lined with tools and metal dust… perhaps it is just the […]

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Metalwerx Maker Kelly Bollman: The Woman Behind Stone, Spirit, & Fire

November 30, 2018

Every once in while you come across a business that feels so genuine and good that you can’t help but want to support them.  Stone, Spirit, & Fire is one of those small businesses.  When Metalwerx studiomate Kelly Bollman started Stone Spirit & Fire, she knew she wanted her jewelry business to be ethically sourced, environmentally friendly, […]

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Metalwerx Ornamental Peace Project

November 2, 2018

Metalwerx is happy to announce another year of the Ornamental Peace Project.  In the wake of a national tragedy, we often find ourselves questioning what is “peace” and how do we obtain it, and more importantly how can we maintain it?  As community of jewelers and metalsmiths, Metalwerx invites you express these feelings through making. […]

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