Keep calm and carry on: Developing your skills from home

With the recent announcement of lockdown measures in the UK, many jewellery students and professionals no longer have access to the facilities they need to carry out their craft. But that doesn’t mean you have to put your jewellery journey on hold: there are a whole range of resources, activities and online jewellery courses that you can take advantage of from the comfort of your own home. Here are five ways to keep growing as a jeweller during lockdown.

Take an interactive online jewellery course

One of the best ways to continue your development is by taking an interactive online course. There are a wide range of different programmes available, from short courses to options requiring a more significant time commitment. But whether you’re looking to learn a specific technique or improve your general jewellery skills, there’ll be something for you.

Many online jewellery courses and programmes are now supported with innovative e-learning environments. These platforms give students a well-rounded experience, providing a space where learners can complete activities or communicate with each other. Some of the best online courses feature live video demonstrations and tutoring sessions, meaning that you can receive personalised feedback in real time.

Create a new collection in CAD

Computer aided design (CAD) is an exciting and fast-moving field in the jewellery industry, with new developments being made all the time. CAD’s benefits compared to traditional design include greater accuracy, easier alterations, and the possibility of experimenting with 3D printing. So why not use your computer to design your next jewellery collection?

Popular software used by jewellery designers includes MatrixGold, Rhino, 3Design, and Adobe Illustrator. If you’re just getting started with CAD, some of these platforms offer free trial periods, meaning you can try out new software without making too much of a financial commitment. There are also a range of online courses providing an introduction to the essentials of each of these programmes.

Practise your sketching and rendering skills

Maybe you don’t currently have access to a workshop space or jewellery manufacturing tools. Now could be the time to concentrate on getting your design abilities up to scratch. After all, in order to get started all you need is a pencil and paper!

Hand sketching and rendering are crucial skills for jewellery makers who want to design their own pieces. If you’d like to improve your drawing, there are plenty of educational resources online. You could take a look at some video tutorials on YouTube, see what tips your favourite Instagram artists have to offer, or even sign up for an online class.

Network online with other jewellers through online jewellery courses

Just because you can’t go out, doesn’t mean you can’t meet new people! Networking with other jewellers online is a great way to gain contacts in the jewellery community. This will help you discover new opportunities in the industry, both for education and professional development.

Speaking to other jewellers also allows you to swap ideas and experiences with them. In this way, you can explore new sources of inspiration, or trade tips and suggestions. If you’re looking to start networking, BAJ has a Facebook group where you can meet jewellers from all walks of life. Why not check it out here.

Polish your social media presence

These days social media is important for all creatives, and that includes jewellers. Sharing your projects and creations through these channels opens the door to a whole new world of followers and potential customers. Social media is often the first contact that people will have with your work, which is wonderful – but there are no second chances when it comes to first impressions.

Maintaining a strong and effective social media presence takes practice and dedication. From knowing which platform is best suited to your needs, to working out how often you should post new content, there’s a lot to consider. Take some time, do your research, and polish your social media presence until it shines!

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