Back in the studio…kind of
Classes began last month, and for the first time in years, I’m back in a studio class – I had been teaching our senior class which focused on critique, writing, exhibiting and presenting the students’ work. But this fall, I’m back to teaching intermediate and advanced jewelry. With my absence of a practice, particularly a technical one, I was worried – I hadn’t done some of these processes in years. Turns out, it’s like riding a bike. I used to think being a great teacher meant you had to know every process and technique in your discipline, so I would practice and practice so I would be viewed as an expert – now, I know that was based on lack of confidence. I am much more comfortable telling my students, “I don’t know. Let’s figure it out.” Being in the jewelry studio makes me realize HOW EXCITED I am to get back in the studio after all this time
I decided I wanted the students to explore contemporary jewelry – what is it? Why do we wear it? So I wrote a series of problems for the semester – “jewelry as….” is the theme. The first was “jewelry as purpose,” and the second is “jewelry as symbol.” The final will be “jewelry as decoration” (I think???). I was hoping to broaden their minds and have them understand why they make jewelry….turns out, the short investigations I’ve had them do between major assignments are much better. For the first one, we did a quick piece – the first was a piece that transformed when you took it off the table and put it on the body. For the second, I handed them a bag with 11 objects in it – they had to make a piece that connected two parts of their body, using the objects – they had two hours and they weren’t allowed to talk. That’s when they made some jewelry.