Today we're thrilled to chat to Corkie Bolton, a talented metalsmith from New York. We chat to Corkie all about starting the Instagram account, Metalsmith Society, a space to connect with fellow jewellers by sharing tips and trade secrets.
The page has become a huge hit among jewellers from across the world and it has become a community space for jewellery makers to get involved, whether they're a beginner or full time metalsmith!
Let's hear from Corkie all about the inspiration for starting the account, her favourite tips she has learned along the way and how you can get involved too.
I started my jewellery making journey in High School, I was so fortunate to have that experience because I fell in love and knew I wanted to study jewellery in college. I went on to get a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Since then my path has not been linear. After graduation I worked for jewellers then started a new career as a personal trainer, then came back to teaching jewellery and finally launched my own collection in 2016!
There were two main reasons I started Metalsmith Society, the first was I desired more from my Instagram experience. I had been hustling hard with my @corkieboltonjewelry account and I felt like I was putting maximum effort into my work, images and content with very little engagement.
I decided to start a page where I would not care about the amount of followers I had but instead focus on sharing interesting information that would help myself and others. That brings me to my second reason I started the Metalsmith Society page - I found myself as a jeweller with very few people I could turn to when I needed to troubleshoot a problem.
Historically the jewellery industry has been tight-lipped about their trade secrets, many taking their knowledge to the grave. I knew there were others like me, that would be happy to help others and share what they knew. I am constantly filled with gratitude by the generosity of the members of this community in openly sharing what they know.
I post a daily tool, technique or tip from jewellers all over the world. As long as it's not proprietary information that would allow another jeweller to copy someone else's work I will share it. I've also begun a mini-series recently where I am showing off a rolling mill over the course of a few months, as a tool like that requires multiple posts to show off all that it can do!
I believe I was not alone in looking for a community. The three pillars of Metalsmith Society are "KINDNESS, COMMUNITY, + EDUCATION", I think it's crucial that people feel safe and comfortable to ask questions. We were all beginners at one point and there are no stupid questions and no judgements. I also know that the numbers of self-taught metalsmiths
1: Using a binder to store and organise your metal from @re k.inc
2: Using distilled water in your pickle pot, tumbler, ultrasonic (essentially everywhere) instead of tap water which can be quite hard (and filled with iron).
3: Using a refillable watercolour brush to paint on your patina (must be entirely made of plastic) from @williamcobbjewelry.
How it has connected me with
I think our community is wonderful because it's comprised of artists and small business owners who all understand how much we depend on the support of others for our businesses to succeed
Before investing in tools I would absolutely take a workshop or class. It's such a wonderful experience to do a project under the guidance of a more experienced
I LOVE receiving tips! Please email me at corkie@metalsmith society.com, you will need to include at least one image (multiple images and videos are great) a caption explaining the tip, and your Instagram handle. If you don't have an Instagram handle I can credit you by name.
Yes, please visit my website metalsmithsociety.com which has a blog, a list of book recommendations and a (growing) page that lists