Creative Side Jewelry Academy of Austin

Experienced jewelry makers help educate students in various techniques at the academy.

Experienced jewelry makers help educate students in various techniques at the academy.

Jewelry enthusiasts can forge metals into works of art at Creative Side Jewelry Academy of Austin, which celebrated its one-year anniversary at its current location in December.

Owner and Creative Director Courtney Gray said experienced jewelers can use studio space and take classes, but the school also invites beginners to take classes and work with experts.

"I love the permanence of working in both steel and [metals such as] gold and silver. Once you make it, its there, and its solid," she said.

The school is preparing to open Creative Side Metalworks, its metal smithing and welding division, at a 1,225-square-foot Thornton Road Studios suite at 2309 Thornton Road in May.

Gray, from Houston, said she originally wanted to be a welder.

"I decided at [age] 17 or 18 that I was no longer going to work customer service in the bakery at Whole Foods, that I was going to learn how to work with my hands," she said. "I approached the guys who were renovating the Whole Foods at the time and asked them for a job."

She started hanging drywall, renovating and working with sheet metal.

"My stepfather jokingly came to me one day and [said], 'We'll send you to welding school,' you know, and it was a joke," she said. "I went back to him about six months later, and I said, Really?"

She took classes in Houston and at Austin Community College. Years later she became a casting technician, started working on side projects and began making custom jewelry in a home studio. She studied welding technology in Germany.

"It was at the bench that I learned. I didn't go to school for jewelry; I went to school for metals and welding," she said.

Gray opened her doors to other artists in 2006, launching Creative Side, which moved Dec. 1, 2013, into its current location. The business attracts locals, international jewelers and college students with one-day classes, two-day workshops and weeks-long classes, Gray said.

Creative Side aims to offer a nurturing and cooperative space, Assistant Director Celina Zisman said.

Upcoming class offerings

  • March 14-15, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.: Jewelry 101: Bezel + Tab Setting with Shalena White. In this weekend course attendees can learn about core techniques and the tools and equipment of a metalsmithing studio.

  • March 17-April 9, 6-10 p.m.: Jewelry 101: Fabrication + Soldering evening classes with Deanna Pastel.For four weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays students focus on fabrication techniques, including soldering and stone setting. Beginners are invited.

  • March 21-22, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.: 201: Intermediate Projects with Shalena White. Experienced jewelers and students who have taken Introduction to Jewelry 101 can practice more challenging methods of setting stones and soldering.

  • March 30-May 8: 2015 Argentium Series, Led by Ronda Coryell, the six-week immersion course will educate jewelers on how to work with argentium, a new sterling alloy in the industry.

Class prices range from $99-$970, Assistant Director Celina Zisman said, noting students keep their projects.

Forged Together

People can come to Creative Side Jewelry Academy of Austin and make their own wedding rings as part of the studios Forged Together one-day workshops, owner and Creative Director Courtney Gray said.

Couples design bands, choose metals gold, platinum, palladium or silver and make the rings. Fees vary. More information is available at
By Kelli Weldon
Kelli joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter and has been covering Southwest Austin news since July 2012. She was promoted to editor of the Southwest Austin edition in April 2015. In addition to covering local businesses, neighborhood development, events, transportation and education, she is also the beat reporter covering the Travis County Commissioners Court.


A rendering of The Bend
ROUNDUP: 5 latest business updates from Southwest Austin

Here are the latest business updates from around South Austin.

Texas sales tax
Report: With boost in e-commerce, Texas sales tax receipts increased 4.3% in July

The loss of extra unemployment support could send numbers back down, however.

Classes in Austin ISD will begin Aug. 18 for the 2020-21 school year. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
7 things Austin ISD parents should know heading into August

From the upcoming board election filing deadline to virtual learning and administrative personnel changes, this is what Austin ISD families should know heading into this month.

The Texas State Teachers Association has asked the state to prohibit in-person teaching until at least Sept. 8. (Design by Shelby Savage/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas State Teachers Association demands TEA prohibit in-person classes until Sept. 8

The statement was released after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton earlier this week said that local districts have the sole authority to close schools due to the ongoing pandemic.

Overall in Travis County, there have been 21,214 coronavirus cases since mid-March as of Aug. 2. (Community Impact staff)
Travis County adds 247 new COVID-19 cases Aug. 2, continuing recent trend

Overall in Travis County, there have been 21,214 coronavirus cases since mid-March.

Homes continue to sell in Southwest Austin. (Deeda Lovett/Community Impact Newspaper)
DATA: See how the past year's home sales in Southwest Austin compared to the year prior

See which ZIP codes sold the most, average sales prices and how South Austin and Dripping Springs compare to other parts of the metro.

Officially closed since the July 4 weekend, Austin’s Barton Creek and Bull Creek greenbelts will reopen Aug. 8. (Courtesy Brent Hall/
In effort to manage crowds, Austin’s Barton Creek Greenbelt will require reservations for next 5 months

Closed since July 4 weekend, the Barton Creek and Bull Creek greenbelts will reopen Aug. 8.

Dr. Mark Escott, interim Austin-Travis County health authority, spoke at a news conference July 31. (Courtesy Austin Public Health)
Despite downward trend in COVID-19 cases, health officials say Travis County has 'long way to go'

Maintaining Stage 4 health restrictions may help the county prepare for the coming school year.

Protests march in the Justice for Them All demonstration June 7. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Council further commits to combating institutional racism with string of agreements

The resolutions ranged from deeming racism a public health crisis to formalizing Juneteenth as a city holiday.