Felicity decided that she wanted to be a jeweller and enrolled in a fine arts degree. After graduating from university she felt that she needed more specific training in practical skills in order to pursue her dream of becoming a professional jeweller. When a friend recommended Melbourne Polytechnic, she decided to enrol in the Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology (Jewellery).
“After I graduated from my degree, I knew how to be conceptual, but I didn’t have the metal working skills that I really wanted, to make jewellery,” says Felicity.
With each subject focussing on a particular skill, students are encouraged to master a technique before attempting to apply it creatively.
“At the end of the subject you got to design something of your own that incorporated the technique being taught, which meant that there were parts where you could go nuts and design something, with everyone coming up with different outcomes.”
And while studying at Melbourne Polytechnic, Felicity found that what she had to learn, in fact, was even broader than just jewellery making skills.
“You have to wear so many hats when you’re running a one person business. The jewellery skills are only part of it. You have to be good with business, networking with people, putting yourself out there. You just have to become a well-rounded person, I guess.”
Fortunately her teachers, all former or current industry professionals, were there to support her.
“My teachers were fabulous! There’s a lot of variety. Some of them have had careers as jewellers in the contemporary jewellery field, while others have worked as trade jewellers- sometimes both. If you had a question, you could ask three different teachers and get three different answers. It was great because everyone had a different approach as to how they’d go about things.”
A student exhibition to celebrate the end of the two-year course ended up being a stand out moment for Felicity, who was awarded best overall student.
“It was an amazing feeling to walk around and see what people had achieved. It’s something you can invite people to and be proud of, it was a massive highlight.”
Since finishing the course, Felicity has been producing jewellery out of her in-home studio. While no longer a student, she often consults her journals and notes from the course. “It’s been really helpful this year to be able to refer to my notes on what I’ve already done.”
And while the jewellery industry is a small one, Felicity is optimistic about her future.
“I can see it going either way, I would love to work for a jeweller and learn from them, but also I’m really passionate about making my own designs.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last few months working from my home studio, designing and making jewellery, so that’s been really exciting.”
Advanced Diploma in Engineering Technology (Jewellery)