MJSA's 'At the Bench Live' Returns to AGTA GemFair

MJSA, the trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, will again present its signature 'At the Bench Live' program February 3-8 at AGTA GemFair Tucson.
 
Running twice daily in the Tools, Technology, and Supplies Pavilion, the interactive demonstrations will offer advice and insights for everyone from bench beginners to experienced pros who want to make their bench work easier, more productive, and more profitable.
 
The presenters will be:
Gary Dawson, owner of Gary Dawson Designs, an online custom design operation that was once featured as a "Best of the Best" by Instore Magazine, and Dawson Distribution, a supplier of CAD/CAM solutions for jewelers. He has over 35 years' experience in carving waxes and creating designs that capture the personalities and stories of his customers, and he is a frequent contributor to MJSA Journal. He has also delivered seminars and presentations at numerous events, including AGTA GemFair, Portland Jewelry Symposium, and the Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing Technology.
Tira Mitchell, who has more than 15 years' experience in engraving customized designs on everything from jewelry and knives to musical instruments, cars, and filigree eggs. She conducts frequent workshops on engraving techniques and also moderates the Engraver's Cafe, an online forum. In addition to her custom engraving business, she is the owner of Engraver.com, a supplier of the latest tools and supplies for hand engraving.
 
Arthur Anton Skuratowicz is co-owner of Anton Nash LLC Independent Jewelry Appraisers in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was the first instructor at the Gemological Institute of America to teach both gemology and jewelry manufacturing arts. He and his wife, Julie Nash, are co-authors of Working with Gemstones: A Bench Jeweler’s Guide (MJSA Press).
 
The sessions are as follows:
 
February 3
 
A Cut Above: Common Jewelry Engraving Patterns
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Presenter: Tira Mitchell, Engraver.com
You've created a beautiful ring or bracelet, and you want to enhance it with an engraving; now what? Mitchell will present some common jewelry engraving patterns—wheat leaf borders, running leaf borders, geometric patterns, and more—and demonstrate how to create them. Starting with scribed markings, she will show how to combine basic cuts into complex patterns, and create an engraved surface that truly enhances a design. Basic to Intermediate
 
Mixing Metals: Techniques for 24k Gold Inlay
2:30 to 4 p.m.
Presenter: Tira Mitchell, Engraver.com
Add a splash of color to your jewelry and enhance its value! Mitchell will demonstrate techniques for inlaying 24k gold wire into stainless steel, titanium, and other non-precious metals. Topics to be covered include sizing gold wire, properly excavating gold lines and cavities, seating the gold, and finishing the design. Intermediate to Advanced
 
February 4
 
The Well-Dressed Bench: Tools That Make a Difference
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Presenter: Arthur Anton Skuratowicz, Anton Nash LLC
Learn how to make your bench setup work best for you. Skuratowicz will not only focus on the tools essential for specific tasks—from sawing and piercing to stone setting and finishing—but also how to best use those tools and arrange them for maximum speed and efficiency. Note: Copies of The Jeweler's Bench Book by Charles Lewton-Brain (MJSA Press) will be available at a special 50 percent discount. Basic to Advanced
 
The Flat-Top Bur and Other Tool Tricks for Easier Setting
2:30 to 4 p.m.
Presenter: Arthur Anton Skuratowicz, Anton Nash LLC
Whether you're trying to accommodate a particularly challenging gem shape, do multiple settings in quick time, or just want an easier way to maneuver around tight spots, the right setting tool makes all the difference. Skuratowicz shows how to modify and even rejuvenate your existing tools to gain greater precision, avoid stone damage, and ensure a secure fit. Intermediate
 
February 5
 
Wax Work 1: Precision Carving Techniques
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Presenter: Gary Dawson, Gary Dawson Designs
In the first of a two-part session, Gary Dawson will show how, with appropriate layout preparation, your wax carvings can be more precise and ultimately cast better. The session will include demonstrations of general carving techniques, design transfer, and detail work, and cover the appropriate tools that make carving easier (your new best friend may be your calipers). Whether you specialize in hand-carved waxes or want to know when hand carving is preferable to CAD/CAM, this session will ensure your wax models are in peak condition. Intermediate
 
Wax Work 2: Integrating Gems into a Design
2:30 to 4 p.m.
Presenter: Gary Dawson, Gary Dawson Designs
Think beyond stacking! Rather than plopping a gem on top of a design as an afterthought, consider how to integrate it into a sculptural work of art. This second part of the "Wax Work" series will discuss both the process of accurate centering and the technique of creating “balance without symmetry." Whether you're working with calibrated shapes or fancy cuts, discover how to showcase your gems to maximum effect. Intermediate to Advanced
 
February 6
 
To the Point: Easy Ways to Build up Prongs
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Presenter: Arthur Anton Skuratowicz, Anton Nash LLC
Retipping prongs is one of the basic bench tasks—which doesn't mean there still aren't ways to do the job faster, more efficiently, and more profitably. In this session, Skuratowicz will review various ways to build up a bead on top of a worn-down prong, including tricks for repairing micro pavé settings. Intermediate to Advanced
 
Down to the Wire: Replacing Prongs and Gallery Wires
2:30 to 4 p.m.
Presenter: Arthur Anton Skuratowicz, Anton Nash LLC
Sometimes a prong just can't be retipped, but has to be replaced. In this follow-up session to "To the Point," Skuratowicz will demonstrate cost-effective ways to replace the prong by grafting in a new wire. He'll also demonstrate how to best replace worn or broken gallery wires, with a few tricks for easily positioning the wire and keeping it in place. Advanced
 
AGTA GemFair Tucson will take place at the Tucson Convention Center.
 

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