SSL Certificate
Katja Toporski
Alternative Jewelry Basics

Session Two - June 9-15, 2019

Course Description
In this class we will be exploring a number of ‘low tech’ techniques that can be applied in jewelry making. Those techniques include - but are not limited to - porcelain slip casting, mold making, and alternative material casting, such as epoxy or concrete, which are newer techniques to the field. To begin, students will supply found objects that we will use as we apply these casting techniques. Then, students will use basic metal-working skills such as piercing, filing, sanding, and polishing on their individual pieces. Students will apply those techniques to create tab settings and metal formed pin backs. By incorporating all of these techniques, students will learn to make jewelry pieces where they set their castings and create different ways to attach their pieces to body or clothing.

Artist's Biography
Katja Toporski is a professor and instructor of all things jewelry, in the Washington DC area. She grew up in Germany where she almost apprenticed to become a goldsmith, but instead went to medical school in Hamburg, and Munich. She specialized in anesthesiology in the UK, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists. When her colleagues spent their time off in the pubs, she completed a City and Guilds certificate in Fine Jewelry as a way to decompress from the stress of the job. With her move to the US she switched careers to become a full time jeweler, and completed her MFA at Towson University in 2013. Since then her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions, both in the US and in Europe, and she has been honored with a number of awards, most recently for her work in the Fermenting Jewels (Gioielli in Fermento) exhibition in Piacenza, Italy by the Italian Association for Contemporary Jewelry.

Artist's Statement
Having been a practicing anesthesiologist in the past, my work is informed by philosophical thinking, and juxtaposes archetypal objects and materials to explore the limitations of our understanding of things. I aim to navigate the various roles of jewelry and explore its spiritual and amuletic nature in the forms I apply. I see jewelry as an art form, and the various bodies of work I create serve to explore concepts such as metaphysics and rituals. Reading (about everything) and writing (about jewelry) continually provide the topics I investigate in my work.

Artist's Website: Katja Toporski






Supply List:

Participants will be using: these will be available at the shakerag store

  • jeweler's saw and blades #2 and #2/0
  • needle files
  • sandpaper wet or dry (2 each of grits 220, 320, 400,600)
  • 3 paint stirrers (I'll bring a bunch)
  • 20 gauge copper sheet metal
  • 20 gauge brass sheet metal
  • 18 gauge copper wire
  • 18 gauge brass wire
  • drill bits. . .#70 (22 gauge), #56 (18 gauge), #54 (16 gauge) #51 (14 gauge)
  • small pliers. . (flat nose, round nose, chain nose) any or all.
  • solder: 6 in easy, medium, hard
  • general supplies: dust mask, safety specs, sketchbook thin sharpie pen

If you have these items (don't need to buy). . please bring:

  • chasing hammer
  • small bench vise
  • steel block
  • wooden spatula (never to be used for food again)
  • old yogurt containers
  • hot glue gun + around 10 sticks of glue
  • x-acto knife and blades.

Begin your application process now!

2019 - Session 3 Faculty Work

Michael Brennand-Wood

Christel Dillbohner

Keiko Hara

Sandra Johnson

Sylvia Plachy

Valerie Maser-Flanagan

Ron Roy + Liz Willoughby

Jason Schneider

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