Essay on Why I Taught Jewelry Making Techniques
Whenever I develop a new technique or figure something out that enhances my artistic expression, my first thought is “This is so cool! I need to share this!” I think being itchy to share what I learn is the natural progression for my particular species of humanity. Perhaps you’re the same way. Welcome to the club. We are the teachers.
When I first started teaching jewelry-making techniques, I didn’t give much thought to why I teach, or its importance. That changed one day when, early in my jewelry teaching career, a student referred to a primitive and particularly soulful piece of mine that she had seen online. “I burst out crying when I saw it,” she told me.
My guess is that if the moment had been captured on film, you would see my mouth opened in a soft “oh,” eyebrows furrowed, eyes alert. Had the camera been able to peer inside my head, you would have seen me thinking “Wait a minute. This is about more than making jewelry. This is about art capturing feelings in a way that words just don’t. She is here to learn that. This is about way more than the wire and the clay.”
My understanding about my responsibility to my students shifted that day. Up to then, I aimed to show students how to make what I make. I wanted them to have a good time and emerge from the class with a thorough understanding of how to master whatever technique I was teaching.
After that day, I wanted my students to understand that they have a unique voice, and it is beautiful. For some of…