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Silversmithing Classes

This year, Brunswick Community College Southport Center, located on Lord Street, proudly celebrates five years in operation. This campus is a little gem in Southport offering studio-based arts classes from beginner to advanced adult education, and it is bursting with more opportunities and class offerings to get your creativity going. January 2021 Spring class registration is in full swing offering a wide variety of arts classes including writing, pottery, woodturning, glass, painting, music, and more with talented and diverse instructors to fit your needs. The Jewelry program at the campus includes experienced and multi-level instructors, offering beginning to advanced methods in silversmithing. Between all of them, their experience in jewelry making, designing, and teaching are impressive.

Multi-media artist and local musician Spence Hayden has been teaching at the Southport Center for four-and-a half-years. He was born in Virginia and raised in Iowa, and in addition to silversmith jewelry classes he teaches pottery and woodturning. His experience in metalsmithing and jewelry making is extensive starting in college and including his custom jewelry making and repair business, Hayden Studios. “I love all jewelry making processes with lost wax casting being my favorite. But I also love bezel making and wire cage construction,” said Hayden. Although beginning with metal can seem daunting, Hayden’s easy personality makes it a fun and engaging craft form to learn.

“We will start off with learning our tools and equipment, quickly moving on to Cold Forging copper wire and sheet, to better understand the properties of metals. This will also include Cold Soldering, sawing and texturing of sheet copper, bending and forming copper wire into non soldered rings, bracelets, links and necklaces. Finally, silver soldering our copper projects. We start off with copper in order to save money on rudimentary learning because mistakes can get expensive. Once confident enough, we will delve into silver. From here, we will learn basic silver soldering techniques, bezel making, ring making, stone setting, layering, even wax carving, mold making, centrifugal casting and PMC clay toward the end of the semester.” Hayden teaches Beginning Jewelry/Silver at the Southport campus. A list of supplies and tools will be available before the first class and will be handed out at the first class.

Aleah DeMore Smith, Silversmith and owner of Moonlit Metals, has been making and selling her gorgeous jewelry for the past 10 years. Her work is primarily comprised of silver and semi-precious, ethically-sourced stones. “My jewelry is inspired by the natural world, celestial bodies and the sea, and is intended to empower those who wear it. I focus on craftsmanship as well as sustainability in my personal home studio,” she said. She has been a Silversmith Instructor at Southport center since 2019.

“I was born in Raleigh and started working with metal in 2010 at Cape Fear Community College. I eventually went to East Carolina University where I got my B.F.A with a concentration in Metal Design in 2018. I now live in Wilmington where I sell my work locally at pop-up markets when I am not working my day job as the Assistant Innkeeper at the Beacon House Inn Bed and Breakfast,” she said. “I enjoy working with students from my surrounding community. The most rewarding part of teaching, what I love, is seeing my students find joy and pride in creating their own works of art. In my class we predominantly focus on enameling and stone-setting work.” DeMore Smith will be offering Intermediate Jewelry making.

Although Susan Machamer is new to the Southport Center, she is not new to teaching or jewelry making. An award-winning artist, she is also featured in three design books showcasing her abilities. She has been an instructor at Syracuse University in its Metalsmithing and Jewelry program and also at Cazenovia College’s Studio Art program. Susan is a professional Metalsmith, Designer, Graduate Gemologist, and Jewelry Instructor, and has been involved in the jewelry industry, owning several businesses including most recently Cazenovia Jewelry Inc.

“I have been mystified by jewelry and body adornment for as long as I can remember. I collected antique jewelry as a young child and remember being in awe of the magical pieces in my mother's jewelry box. Occasional trips to an intriguing local antique shop opened the door to a love of creating one of a kind jewelry. The selection of materials and techniques for my work have a strong connection to my adoration of natural forms. I get excited about the contrast of textures on metal surfaces. My work is primarily fabricated in silver and/or gold. I often embellish my pieces with unusual gemstones, for their amazing beauty and color.” Machamer will be teaching Advanced Jewelry making, PMC clay, and glass jewelry making.

For more information and to register for classes, check out the BCC website under Course Offerings. See the Spring course schedule in this issue of Southport Magazine.


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