Chicago Jewelry and Lapidary Art School and Classes

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Home >> Instructors

Dale Cougar Armstrong

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Dale Cougar Armstrong is a diehard rockhound, lapidary, and a full-time wire jewelry artist, instructor and author; with a background in the fine arts, cloisonn and repouss prior to making wire jewelry. With more than 40 years of combined experience, Dale uses absolutely no solder or glue in her traditional wire jewelry designs, and teaches how at jewelry making events around North America, Russia and Ukraine. Her award winning work is sold in galleries and gift shops and has appeared in many printed publications. Author of numerous magazine and Internet articles and the bestselling book, Wirework: An Illustrated Guide to the Art of Wire Wrapping, Dale has made several series of instructional DVDs for, and is the Education Consultant of She has appeared on the PBS broadcast show Beads, Baubles & Jewels™; is a member of the Beadalon Design Team; a representative for both Euro Tool and Jewelry; has made instructional DVDs for, and works as an instructor and live presenter for Jewelry Television. When Dale is not travel-teaching, she creates new designs in Southeast Tennessee with her family, furry friends, gardens and lots of rocks. For inspiration, visit her website:


Jackie Truty

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Jackie's passion may be Art Clay, but her mission is to empower women through its use. She is determined to provide an opportunity for women to establish a place for themselves in the high-end art arena with a minimum investment and a maximum return both financially and creatively.
Jackie Truty began working in flat glass as a hobby. When she finally settled on fusing glass for jewelry full time, she began studying the mechanics of dichroic glass, researching its beginnings and ultimately writing a book, published in 2002. She added wire wrapping and lapidary arts to her skills as she searched for the perfect outlet for her creative expression. 
In March of 2001, she accepted a position as one of two Directors of Education, flying to Japan for her Masters training. In 2002, she acquired the rights as exclusive, North American distributor of Art Clay products and moved her newly acquired business, Art Clay World, USA, from Torrance, California, to Oak Lawn, Illinois. She continues to run the day-to-day operations from Art Clay's 9500 square foot headquarters, which was purchased in 2003.
Art Clay World, USA continues to grow, with wholesalers and Instructors stretching from Montreal to Hawaii. Jackie has taught Art Clay in such diverse places as Milan, Montreal, and Johannesburg, South Africa. Her books, Art Clay Silver and Gold: 18 Projects to Make in One Day, and "Metal Clay: The Complete Guide," are sold internationally.


Margaret Aden

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Margaret Arden Jewelry WorkshopsAs a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and former Naval Officer, Margaret traveled extensively and draws upon many cultural influences when creating her funky, modern designs. Having taught in Tucson during the Gem Show for the last several cycles, she is expanding her geographic reach in an effort to take the world over with wire.  Currently, she is teaching textures achieved by weaving and traditional silversmith techniques, along with the creation of unique patinas.

See Artists Gallery


Patricia M. Castronova, RGA

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Patricia has had a passion for gemstones and jewelry since childhood. This passion led to a formal education to become a Registered Gemologist Appraiser in recent years and to start the gemological services business “Many Facets”.  In addition to customary gemological services of gem identification, colored stone and diamond grading, jewelry appraisals, wholesale sales of Oregon Sunstone and consulting she has developed educational programs for the hobbyist, senior living communities and a professional program for the insurance industry on damaged jewelry. Her goal is to share her love and knowledge of gemstones and to be an advocate for the consumer. Memberships in the Jewelers Ethics Association, World Gem Society and National Association of Professional Women are avenues to continue to meet that goal


Vladimir Shifrin

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A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Moscow Russia, Vladimir Shifrin eventually moved to America to pursue his dreams of working with precious metals and gems. In his 35+ years as a jeweler, Vladimir has had the opportunity to guide many in the art of jewelry making.

Recently retired, Vladimir spends most of his time painting anything he can get his hands on. He does not discriminate against medium when it comes to art. Metal, canvas, wood, no matter what the material is, Vladimir finds a way to shape it into something beautiful. It was not until after he retired that Vladimir decided to combine his skills and experience in the educational field. His focus as an educator is not only to teach the trade of jewelry, but to teach passion and patience.

Work Gallery of Vladimir Shifrin

See Metalsmith Classes Instructed by Vladimir


Georgia Philippe

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Georgia Philippe graduated the University of Illinois with a BFA in metals.  She has worked her entire career as a goldsmith and jeweler.  In recent years she has taken up enameling, and it is enameling that she spends her personal artistic time pursuing.
"I love the intensity and purity of colors that you can achieve in enameling.  Each piece has a depth and fascination that you do not find in any other art form.  I am continually pushing my personal envelope in terms of design and technique."
Georgia has studied under some of the most well known and respected enamelists of today.  She is a member of the Enamelist Society and GLEG (Great Lakes Enameling Guild).
Her work can be seen at The Gems of Nature and online.

See Georgia's - the Enameling Artist Gallery


Malgorzata Jankiewicz

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Malgorzata Jankiewicz - Artist's Statement
My work combines beading, wire work, polymer clay and metals in inventive techniques to make pieces both complex and one of a kind. I have worked with my hands my whole life and creativity has kept me imaginative, sane and courageous. I've learned a lot about the history of beads and gem stones and have gained great knowledge from being a member of the bead society of greater Chicago. I continue to learn and grow in my techniques by working in Evanston art center and in my home studio.


Nancy Sickbert-Wheeler

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Educated at Chicago Academy of Fine Art, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and University of Oklahoma.

Teaching experience includes The Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago. Also currently teaching at Art Center Highland Park. Designs and fabricates enamel jewelry and sculpture. Belongs to the Enamellist Society and Chicago Metal Arts Guild. Exhibits local.

Nancy's process varies but each piece is generally composed of a fine metal with precious stones/pearls or etched copper coated with enamel. Each piece is one of a kind and inspired from nature. Though no piece can be replicated, Nancy welcomes inspired commissions.

See Artist Gallery


Valentin Yotkov

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Valentin YotkovValentin Yotkov has taught Chasing and Repousse for over 30 years. He developed a unique teaching method which allows students to easily understand and learn the technique. More than 1700 students, professional jewelry designers and silversmiths have attended his classes. Among them are members of the Tiffany & Co.'s silverware department. Through carefully designed step-by-step demonstrations and personalized instruction Valentin introduces his students to the magic of sculpting in metal.
Valentin Yotkov is one of the worlds leading experts in the ancient metal techniques of Chasing and Repousse.  He has devoted his entire life and artistic career to reviving these techniques in art metal.
Trained in the Old world apprenticeship system of Europe, at the age of 22 he became the youngest member in the history of the National Silversmiths Guild of Bulgaria. Three years later he was elected the President of the Guild.
Mr. Yotkov has received numerous prestigious awards including two gold medals for highest artistic achievement in metalsmithing.

Learn more about Chasing and Repousse at


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Location and Hours

Our Location on Milwaukee is closed Now. We are looking for the new location.

You can contact us, if you wish to be updated, when new location will be available.

We are working on organizing Jewelry Making Retreats in Costa Rica now with Permanent Location there.

We Currently have ONLY Wire Wrapping and Chainmaille Classes, contact us for more information from the 
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