Gregore Morin’s Studio Makeover

When setting up your jewelry studio, it’s crucial to consider not just your current needs, but also what changes might come down the road as you grow and evolve your line. Your tools and equipment should be organized for efficiency and flexibility.

In this article, we take a look inside the shops of jewelers who recently reworked their studio spaces one for aesthetics and ease of workflow, and the other to accommodate a new and rapidly expanding business. Discover how these designers keep their shop layouts practical, productive, and adaptable for any changes that may come.

Gregore Morin of Gregore Joailliers

One-of-a-Kind Operation
Santa Barbara, California

Many jewelers modify their studios to be more efficient. Gregore Morin renovated his studio not only for efficiency, but also for beauty and tranquility. With walls only partially dry walled and a ceiling with no drywall and insulation hanging down, Morin found the juxtaposition between what he makes and where he makes it humorous. But he recently decided that enough was enough and that perhaps it was time to spiff up the place a bit. Here’s what he did:

Natural Light

Almost everything in his workshop is located for the best use of space or light. Within his 20-foot by 20-foot shop, Morin moved his benches along the wall with windows, giving natural light to the work area that is used the most. (He is usually working alone in the shop or with his wife Jennifer, a jeweler.) He also made sure he positioned the benches for the best views out the windows. The benches take up most of the wall, but relocating a bookshelf gave him a small nook that would allow him to move his compressor and soldering gasses closer to them.

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Bench Organization

When creating the new layout for his shop, Morin gave the most thought to the workflow of his benches. He specifically placed his goldsmithing and setting benches side by side. Between the benches sits a stack of drawers that hold shared tools for use at both benches.

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Rolling Mill and Draw Bench Island

A bench located in the middle of the room serves as a center island for two rolling mills and a draw bench. He set up the island to provide a central location to lay out projects and drawings of work, as well as to do forming and hammering. Storage under the island allows him to keep the tools (dapping blocks, hammers, bezel blocks, and mandrels) he uses for metal manipulation close by.

Laser Welder

Morin’s laser welder was kept in place following the remodel because it is located in the only place he could get the 220 volts needed to operate it. Because this wall also holds the sink used for washing up, and he likes to keep all of the dirty things in one area of the shop, Morin also placed his ultrasonic and polishing system here. He modified the polishing system with wheels so it can be rolled to a new location in the event that he wants to move his stone-cutting center closer to the sink.

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Stone-Cutting Center

A third wall in the shop contains Morin’s stone-cutting center. Initially, when he was planning the remodel, Morin wanted to install a warm water supply in the stone cutting area. He looked into several options, such as on-demand heaters, but the cost was not worth the time saved from walking to get warm water for the drip system that was already being used. If his business involved more stone cutting, he would have chosen to install a 1-gallon mini hot water heater, but he has that option in the future.

The stone-cutting center includes a saw and polishing arbor

A lack of workshop space precludes him from having a larger system with multiple wheels. Although Morin admits this slows things down a little, he has found the system to be flexible, allowing him to tackle even challenging cutting jobs. All of the stone-cutting accessories, such as extra diamond wheels, laps, and diamond grits, are located in drawers under the center so they are within easy reach for changing out to the next smoothest grit.

Lathe and Mill

Morin keeps his machinist lathe and mill on the fourth wall of the studio, with the accessories for them kept within easy reach. The lathe is placed within a few steps of the stone-cutting center so that when stones need to be processed on both machines, the workflow is not interrupted too much.

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The award-winning Journal is published monthly by MJSA, the trade association for professional jewelry makers, designers, and related suppliers. It offers design ideas, fabrication and production techniques, bench tips, business and marketing insights, and trend and technology updates—the information crucial for business success. "More than other publications, MJSA Journal is oriented toward people like me: those trying to earn a living by designing and making jewelry," says Jim Binnion of James Binnion Metal Arts.
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