School’s Out Forever For This Art Teacher Turned Jewelry Maker

Meet Sugarloaf jeweler Amanda Hagerman

While students and teachers everywhere are setting their sights on another school year, Amanda Hagerman, a former high school art teacher, works in her home studio according to her own rhythms, no longer governed by the school calendar.

After graduating from college with a double major in metal work and teaching, she started her teaching career thinking she eventually incorporate metal work into her curriculum. Unfortunately, it turned out that the MD school where she taught wasn’t set up to accommodate her jewelry making machinery. Meanwhile the other demands of full time teaching left her little time or energy to pursue her artwork on the side. Her dream of continuing to make jewelry while also teaching was starting to seem unattainable.

The equipment sat unused for a long time but she just couldn’t bring herself to get rid of it.

Difficult Balancing Act

When she and her husband bought a new home with extra space in 2013, she quickly began setting up a home studio. She decided to treat her jewelry making as a business instead of a hobby and started participating in craft shows. Before long it was getting more and more difficult to juggle jewelry making with teaching and she knew she would have to make a decision between the two.

Taking the Plunge

In January 2016, she went full time with the jewelry making. Right now she is still building a following, doing as many craft shows and galleries as she can. She’s passionate about creating truly handcrafted art for the public. Her jewelry pieces are all made from scratch.

Even as a handcrafting artist, she realizes she has a responsibility not to add to the over consumption problem. She buys almost 100% recycled  argentium silver and she researches the sourcing of her diamonds to find conflict-free stones. She does not want to support the abusive practices rampant in the diamond industry.

Though she isn’t a school teacher anymore, she still schedules summer vacations. This year she traveled to the Pacific northwest with plans to spend as much time in nature as possible. While her former colleagues are crafting lesson plans, she’ll be carefully forging the shapes and textures of nature into new jewelry pieces.