Spotlight On: Laurie Savage, Metalsmith & Jewelry Instructor copy

February 12, 2020

Laurie Savage with Jewelry Student

What got you started metalsmithing and making jewelry?

Growing up on the Jersey Shore, as a child I would collect shells and sea glass from the beach everyday. I would then dig through my mother’s stash of yarn and ribbon, and I would create jewelry for her. As a teenager I found working with beads and silver wire interesting. I started doing craft shows around my town and selling my work at Grateful Dead concerts. In high school, I found a class at a community college in my town on metalsmithing and I took it and fell in love with metal working. The first piece I made was a cast gold ring, and my sister still wears it everyday.

Do you have favorite metals and other materials to work with? Kinds of jewelry to make? Techniques to use?

I enjoy working in all metals, most commonly sterling silver and different colors / karats of gold. I create one-of-a-kind pieces for all special occasions, including wedding bands and engagement rings, as well as memorial jewelry. I also enjoy setting all kinds of stones and found objects, using both traditional and non-traditional techniques.

Other than jewelry, are there other things you like to make by metalsmithing?

I apprenticed with a knife maker for several years, so I enjoy forging metal, as well as working with different kinds of bone, leather and other natural materials for the accomplishments to the knives. I also enjoy creating metal sculptures, many of my jewelry pieces I consider wearable sculptures.

What advice do you have for those who are new to making jewelry?

Using metal as a medium in art making is really fun! Like anything else, learning takes patience. There are many tools that are needed to work with metal, it’s a good idea to take a number of classes to learn different techniques and have hands on access to the studio.

Many of your students have been taking your classes here for years. How do you cultivate that sense of community and continuity in your classroom?

I am very proud to have such a loyal following of students, some whom have been regularly taking classes with me for 20 years. Some of them have started off as beginners, and some have come from other programs, yet I continue to inspire and mentor each person throughout their projects, and as a group we’ve shared countless life lessons. We are a close-knit group of very talented individuals, and I cherish each relationship.

You have been teaching with CCAE for over 20 years! What do you enjoy about teaching your craft?

I enjoy the very beginning of a student’s journey into metalsmithing as much as I do the continued path of an advanced student. I love teaching, sharing my knowledge and passing along my craft is so special, it’s empowering and makes me so happy.