Japanese Metalworking

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Traditional japanese metalwork is both elegant and influential. In this class, we dive in to the history of metalwork, covering forms, techniques, alloys, and use in Japanese culture.

The Japanese aesthetic has been influential on the jewelry and metals world since it was introduced to the rest of the world. In looking at the design hallmarks of various eras, as well as the design methodology, students will be able to translate what appeals to them into their own pieces.

Shakudo, shibuichi? Sure! We will learn about how to alloy, work with, and patina these uniquely Japanese and beautiful alloys.

The world of Japanese patinas is broad and detailed. We will dive into metal preparation, base patinas, and overcoat patinas in this class. All techniques you can do in your home!

Japanese metalwork is known for its surface treatments. In addition to the patinas we will be covering traditional and modernized inlay techniques.


What’s covered in this class?

  • History and forms of Japanese metalwork
  • Design aesthetic, hallmarks, and inspirations
  • Alloys and their uses
  • Nunome Zogan traditional inlay with chisel and silver leaf
  • Ten Zogan inlay- traditional and modernized
  • Surface preparation for patinas
  • Traditional base patinas on silver, bronze, copper, shibuichi, and shakudo
  • Overcoat patinas on the same metals
  • Fabrication of a layered nesting box (inrō)
  • Wax carving
  • Casting a bead and toggle plaque
  • Sweat solder applique designs
  • Finishing techniques 


This course is available as a live online class.

This course meets for 6 weeks, 3 hours per week, for a total of 18 hours. Your instructor is also available during free Zoom office hours for questions and help.

PLEASE NOTE: there will be no class on January 31.

A kit of materials is included with this class and will be mailed to you.


Tools for this Class

This is a list of tools you’ll need to practice the techniques shown in class. A list of tools with recommended suppliers for the best prices will be sent to you after registration If you have questions about the tool list, please contact us.

  • Bench pin
  • Saw frame
  • Saw blades
  • Half round hand file
  • Set of 6 needle files
  • Wire cutters
  • Ring mandrel
  • Half round/flat pliers
  • Soldering set-up: soldering board, pick, flux, pickle
  • Torch- large butane, acetylene/air, or propane/oxygen
  • Dremel/flexshaft
  • Sandpaper assortment
  • Chasing, goldsmiths, or riveting hammer
  • Burnisher
  • 1mm drill bit
  • Cheap brush for applying patinas
  • Salt (not iodized)
  • White vinegar
  • Pot
  • Hot plate or stove burner
  • Scotchbrite
  • 4 nails
  • Container for daikon radish


Read what students have to say about our online classes on the testimonials page.



Previous experience and comfort with soldering, piercing, and the flexshaft are highly recommended. Jewelry 1 and 2 or equivalent experience. This class is designed for the experienced beginner through advanced students.


Jenn Parnell Kirkpatrick

If a class is online, or is a combination online and in-person session, all students receive a link to a recording of the class demonstrations. In-person only workshops are not recorded. For staff instructor classes, students have access to the recordings for one year. For guest instructors, access is 30 days. 

If a kit is included with the class, online students will have them mailed to them. Kits for in-person students are delivered at the beginning of the first class. More information about the kit is included with the supplies list which is emailed after registration.

International students may be charged an additional amount for shipping, because of the increased cost to ship abroad. Also, shipments to other countries may incur a tariff payable by the student. International students are welcome to contact us re: these costs and options for their materials. Please be sure that the address with your payment is the correct one for shipping.

If this class is offered online, it uses the Zoom app/website. Through Zoom, you’ll be able to see demos and follow instructions, ask questions and interact with your instructor. Zoom is easy to use and free for students to use for class, and works on most devices, like phones (iPhone, Android, etc), tablets (iPads, etc), and computers (Mac or PC).

Your instructor is also available during free Zoom office hours for questions and help.

For classes that include work time, online students work at home or in their studio. All of our recommended tools and the kit materials are chosen to be home studio friendly. Links to preferred vendors are provided in the supplies list sent after registration. Some classes, like our short demo only classes, don't require tools or materials to attend. 

We remain committed to keeping everyone as safe as possible while continuing to move forward and adapt to the current circumstances for our in person classes and open studios.

We recommend that in person students be vaccinated, but it's not required. 

Face masks are encouraged while at the school, but no longer required. Students must bring a particulate face mask (N95, KN95, KF94 or similar) to protect against dust and particles when needed and required during class work time.

If you have tested positive for COVID, have symptoms that could be COVID, or feel ill, please don't come to class. Contact us for more information. 

And now the fine print. Payment in full for class fees is due at the time of registration to reserve your place. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and PayPal. Checks and cash are accepted only if you register at school. If you mail a check, your registration is not processed until it clears and the class may fill during the wait. 

If the workshop is canceled by our school for any reason, all class fees will be refunded, or you can transfer to another class, or you can keep a credit on account with us for future classes or purchases, 

Students can cancel, receive a credit or refund, or transfer to another class up to 21 days before a workshop, whether it is online or in person. No cancellations are accepted after the 21-day deadline, however, we will do what we can to try and sell your place to a qualified student. If we can sell your place, you can receive a refund less a $50 cancellation fee, keep a credit on account with us, or apply your fees towards a transfer to another class. 

If you can’t make it to class, you may send a participant who has the necessary prerequisites in your place. Please call or email us immediately with any changes in the student participant information. If a class includes an online section, your class will be recorded and you can watch later to make up a class you miss. 

Students must be at least 15 years old to attend a class, and students under 18 must have a legal guardian sign our liability waiver form. We have had younger students attend classes, on a case by case basis. If you’re interested in enrolling your child, please call or email us. 

If you sign up for a class and fail to have the required prerequisites as listed in the class description, you are still subject to the 21-day cancellation policy, listed above.

Lodging and meals are not included for in person classes.

If you don't come to class, there are no refunds, credits or transfers.