what my students say
*** I asked all my students in April 2020 by email to share with you and me their experiences in my class room. I asked for their honesty and candor- good, bad or indifferent. I am honored by their words. I hope this helps you if you are a prospective student!
Should you have the opportunity to learn metals fabrication from Joanne, by all means DO. Her knowledge about jewelry is encyclopedic, her skill at technique is top notch, and she will teach you about so much more than just jewelry design and creation.
I came to know Joanne as a teacher in advanced level classes, but I am certain that she is an excellent beginner or intermediate level teacher as well, because she breaks everything down into understandable steps. She is never too tired, or too busy, to go over a technique, or answer a question, again and again, until it makes sense. Her class demos are marvelous, not just for seeing the process in motion, but because to watch a professional at work is a thing of beauty. She makes it look absolutely natural, because she IS a natural. She might have been born with a torch (or hammer) in her hand.
And the books...it's clear where some of the encyclopedic knowledge comes from; as her library is vast, and sometimes she will reference so many books, that you can't write them down fast enough! My Amazon budget is always getting blown when I'm in one of Joanne's classes. :)
All of this education is liberally sprinkled with her original and unique humor, and her love for the industry, the craft itself, and for her students (many of whom have been taking classes from her for years) is undeniable. Joanne Hernandez was born to teach, as much as she was born to fabricate jewelry. You will not regret a single moment (or aspect) of your metals education.
~ Jill Sharp
Class: Tab Settings
Fantastic class with a fantastic instructor. Joanne offers simple, clear, thorough instruction for concepts that would otherwise be quite challenging. She also includes notes that are easy to refer back to. I utilize her tab setting techniques in almost all of my work.
~ Cheryl Beverly
I have taken Flush Stone Setting and Torch Fired Enamels with Joanne, and both classes were so enlightening AND fun. I learned tricks and techniques beyond the scope of a one or two day workshop. Joanne's teaching style is comfortable and conversational; the knowledge she imparts is a testament to her extensive experience as a professional jeweler.
I can’t say enough great things about Joanne! I started taking jewelry classes with her over 4 years ago and haven’t looked back. She excels at explaining concepts and techniques verbally and then doing hands-on demos to provide visual examples to reinforce what she is teaching. Her technical knowledge is astounding! I have learned so much and my confidence has improved dramatically due to her nurturing approach. My favorite thing about Joanne is her willingness to let her students individualize our metal projects using the demonstrated concepts/techniques. She supports us in our efforts to take our projects in whatever direction inspires us the most and encourages us to challenge creative boundaries to fulfill our art jewelry dreams. She then works with us one-on-one to breathe life into our artistic vision and helps us come out the other side with a personalized wearable work of art!
~ Kate Nagy
Workshops: Cold Connections and Reverse Bezel Settings
Joanne’s instruction is invaluable. It allows me to push further in whatever work I have in process.
~ Cheryl Beverly
I would recommend taking a class from Joanne any day of the week or any level of learning or expectation you are at! I have taken Joanne's beginner class at least 3 times and will take it again when the classes reopen at the Spruill. I keep repeating the same class not because she is a neglectful teacher, but because she is so precise in her instruction, she brings out a sense of excellency in me! I desire to learn the basics with that excellency before moving on to the next phase of crafting and design. Her classes are NEVER boring, and her loving warm personality has the ability to make you feel you are the most important person in the class. Joanne has the ability to put you at ease about making mistakes so that you never feel like quitting. I just love her!
~ Mary Ann Klimek
Joanne Hernandez has an unwavering commitment to her students and is always armed with new ideas, a plethora of knowledge, and stack of handouts. She has a keen ability to problem solve and takes the time to give each student individual attention. She is very personable and will chat about anything and everything, but she always comes back to the task at hand. She is most of all a great mentor for both the nervous newbies and for those who are ready to take their craft to a more professional level. Her fun and playful creativity is not only evident in her work, it also keeps her students coming back session after session for more! I was lucky to slip into her beginner jewelry class off of the wait list several years ago and have held onto a coveted spot in one of her classes ever since.
~ Nicole Mermans
Joanne is an talented jewelry artist who is equally talented as a teacher and mentor. I retired in April 2018 and never had hobbies during the years when I was working full time and raising our son and I was looking for something to do that was completely new and exciting. A month or so before I retired, I was having lunch with a friend who I worked and I admired her earrings, asking where she'd purchased them. She said she MADE them and told me about her instructor Joanne at the Spruill Center for the Arts! I was a little reluctant (read: scared!) to try something so creative as I'd never been much of an "arts and crafts" person, but I decided to give it a try. I signed up for Joanne's beginning Jewelry and Metal Working class and have not missed a term with her since that time! Joanne meets you where you are, nurtures your creativity and helps you learn in a way that is fun! She helps you think through possible designs, how to bring the ideas you may have to the piece, and so much more! In the beginning class, there are projects she has designed to enable students to see quickly the fruits of their labor. I don't generally like larger pieces and have particular styles that I just am not interested in. I would talk with Joanne about ideas for other projects during the beginning courses (you take the beginning course as many times as you feel you need to before moving "up" to the Beyond the Basics and Advanced Courses) and she would help me implement ideas I had for alternative projects, incorporating the techniques that were being taught with the piece most of the class was working on. My son is in art school and before my first class, he showed me a beautiful sterling silver feather pendant and said he'd love if I could make him something like it in my class. I laughed, saying I was sure I would not be able to do something requiring that much skill for many years, if ever. Little did I know, while Joanne was teaching us to use the roller press in either my first or second term beginning class, I had an idea that perhaps I could find a bird feather of appropriate size while on a walk and maybe put it through the roller mill and surprise my son with the pendant he'd asked about. I found a feather and brought it in, asking Joanne whether what I envisioned was possible. She was very enthusiastic and we went about making it happen! I had an idea, but really did not yet have expertise or skills to bring that idea to fruition, but Joanne helped me to think through the options, what I wanted it to look like, and the skills to teach ME how to do it!! The end result is a pendant my son has worn proudly since the day I gave it to him! I so appreciated Joanne's willingness to do this which is indicative of her flexibility and multi-dimensional teaching style. I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND taking a course with Joanne to see if you enjoy being a maker of jewelry as much as I do!
~ Sheri Berrara-Disler