Light from the large windows illuminate the wood and metal elements of the studio. Six desks with lamps overhead sit neatly in two lines in the middle of the shop. Jewelry and gems scattered on the wall wink in the sunlight. A large anvil takes up counter space in the far corner of the room. One woman stands at a workbench torching copper plates. Another sits at a desk lit by a white light, shaping a piece of silver with a scalloped edge.
Brittany Golden, owner of B Golden Jewelry School, worked for 12 years to create such a studio space. Her younger years set her on the pathway to jewelry-making. She has always been drawn to art, as well as teaching. Golden worked on art projects almost everyday in her elementary school. She grew up in Provo, Utah giving ice skating lessons for 13 years. While she worked in the rink, she also opened a nail salon and taught nail technology as a Master Artist Educator. She taught for about five years before deciding to “reinvent (herself) a few more times.”
Her first experience with silversmithing drove her to pursue a jewelry-making career. She went back to college to take more classes when she discovered jewelry-making. Studying to be a Dental Lab Technician, Golden took a five-month jewelry class just for fun. She fell in love and quit making teeth. Since then she’s instructed a silversmith course at Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah, worked to create her own studio,and then started a self-run jewelry school. This new career perfectly incorporated her two passions-teaching and creating.
As Golden built her school, she collected instructors and added classes to offer her students. Golden currently offers six different jewelry-making classes for anyone who reserves a spot. She currently has nine instructors working for her, each skilled in their own craft. Offered as single-day classes, or multiple-week long programs, are techniques ranging from working with heat to shape metals, to glass-bead-making. She even offers a course allowing you to design and make your own wedding rings. Samples from each of her courses hang on the wall above the drawers, which hold metal scraps and neatly-cut stones.
The unique atmosphere of B. Golden Jewelry School in Salt Lake City, Utah, welcomes many. Karen Pino, a teacher at a local Wasatch-Waldorf charter school, rents out studio space to prepare projects for her students. Today, she prepares metal plates for her students. They will use the copper plates and wood to create bowls.
A friend told Pino about Golden’s studio. She comes to use the torches and other hard-to-find equipment. Pino loves “places like this” that are successful.
“They make us better people and [create] a better [local] environment,” she says as she drops a hot copper plate in a water bucket to cool down after torching.
Justin Boardman, one of the instructors at the school comes for the energy as well. He began as the cabochon teacher in 2014. He rockhounds and teaches the cabochon class on Fridays, all as a hobby. He has a “real job”, but Boardman says his work at the jewelry school serves as a “ying to my yang.” He used to create in a local rock shop, but he got hooked on Golden’s jewelry school because creativity is appreciated and encouraged. The rock shop focused too much on the mechanical aspect of rock-cutting.
There were two other schools that taught jewelry-making techniques without going to college, but they are both shut down now. Her teaching methods allow structure with a little bit of flexibility.
“My first priority is the student feeling successful in their jewelry making experience,” Golden said about the teaching methods at B Golden Jewelry School.
Sometimes people come to the jewelry school with ideas too complicated for their current skill level.
“I like to break it down into achievable steps so they can feel proud of what they made.”
The most unique aspect of Golden’s jewelry school: the 6-month jewelry business course. B. Golden Jewelry School is the first in Utah to offer a jewelry business certification program. Golden teaches students not only each of the jewelry technique classes she offers, but classes that will enable students to build a successful business. She balances out the art classes with others like “Creating a business plan” and “Building your visual voice.” She teaches students the same skills that made her school and studios successful.
“Seeing the need, and what I could offer, I created the program I wished was out there when I started and I am very happy with it.” Golden said. Learning the art of jewelry-making and business-building came mostly through trial and error for Golden. She wanted to make it easier for people to follow their passions, without the stress and financial troubles of traveling in and out of state to take different classes, like she had to.
A few graduates from B Golden Jewelry Business Certification Program teach classes at B Golden Jewelry School, as well as run their own studios.
Asia Dutson signed up for Golden’s business certification program without any experience with jewelry-making. She attended the January-June session in 2014. After graduating with new knowledge and experience, Dutson opened Asia Raine Jewelry and Art Designs. She says her business has leapt forward in progress because of the program and the contacts she’s made in Golden’s course. She’s also refined her techniques because she’s been able to research, continue her education, practice, and teach at Golden’s school.
Dutson teaches a total of five classes at B Golden Jewelry School-Fold Forming, Etching, Cold Connections, Enameling, and the Air Chased Cuff class. She loves working with students at Golden’s school. Her favorite part is watching “people light their creative spark” after they discover how to work with metal and stones.
All of Golden’s faculty seem to share the immense desire to share their talents.
Dutson says she chose B Golden Jewelry School because, “It was a natural fit for me to share my knowledge and help others learn and refine theirs.”
Golden plans to grow her business to help more people in their jewelry journey by getting a more spacious location, more instructors and more classes.
Recently, she applied to be an approved educational facility of Utah State Rehabilitation Services with the hopes to offer classes to those in the program.
“I am hoping it will provide a creative option to make a living to those who may not have the opportunity or resources for financial reasons.”
If all works out the way Golden hopes, students who qualify and complete a screening process will have free tuition for her business certification program.
Her greatest desire is to share the success she has had in her own jewelry business, without the same struggles.
“I am an avid learner and love to share what I learn.” Golden said.