Courtney Gray is the creative force behind The Creative Side Jewelry Academy in Austin, Texas, which is one of the most forward-thinking jewelry schools in the US. Within 10 years of starting her career in custom jewelry, welding and metal sculpture, Courtney decided to open the doors of her studio in 2006 for other jewelry artists to collaborate, share equipment, learn and expand their knowledge. The school now hosts almost 2,000 students per year and offers over 75 courses.
As the founder and creative director of Creative Side Jewelry Academy, her goal has always been to provide accessible courses that teach real skills at the bench and to inspire and build passion both personally and professionally for artists. Courtney started Creative Side by writing and developing curricula for beginners to advanced jewelry students. She carefully selected instructors, first from the Austin area and now from all over the world, who provide their expertise and share their techniques to create success in the craft for students of all skill levels. “Seeing students succeed," says Courtney, "not only as makers and entrepreneurs, but watching them build confidence, unleash their true potential and live in their passion as they grow alongside others in this community lights me up!”
As the school has grown, Courtney has realized her passion is not only nurturing the students' skill set, but also being a “Creativity Coach” for aspiring jewelers, teachers and entrepreneurs. Through consultations and training with individuals seeking her advice, she is helping develop and nurture the next generation of instructors and professionals in the jewelry field.
Courtney has certificates in Art Metals and Metal Sculpture and received recognition as a Certified Welder in Koblenz, Germany, at HandWerksKammer. She has been invited to speak at the Society of North American Goldsmiths Conference as an education dialogue Session Group Leader in 2016 and 2018. She is currently on the board of Bead and Button.