Am I ignored by the jewelry class instructor?

Hi all,

I have a question I want to put out there and get some feedback on.
What do you think about this: You want to enroll in a jewelry making
class with a teacher well known for his specialty. You contact the
teacher, and you are told to make an appointment to speak with the
teacher, and bring any jewelry you have made. You get to the
appointment, and you meet with the teacher, who looks at your
jewelry, and asks if you have any questions. You find out that there
are only 5 available spaces for students, and there is a waiting
list. You are told that you will be put on the waiting list, and
that basically is the end of the “interview.”

Upon visiting the teacher’s website, about three months after your
interview, you realize that there are classes starting up soon, so
you call the teacher, and he says no, there are no spaces, some
students are not leaving yet, and he will call you when there is a
spot. When asked how long the waiting list is, your question is

Well, it has been 10 months since that interview. I am wondering,
what would you think? Would you think that the waiting is list is
so long that it goes on for years ;), or that you are being blown
off? I myself don’t understand why I can’t get an answer as to where
my name is on this list. I don’t think it is too much to ask. I also
think that perhaps there is no list, and the choosing of students is
totally at the teacher’s discretion.

So, what does one do? You want to take a class, and feel like you are
being refused for whatever reason? I would really appreciate thoughts
on this, because I am at a loss at what to do without making a pest
of myself and alienating the teacher.

I would rather not name the teacher, to keep it impartial.


My husband took a watercolor class like that once – where you had
to wait for someone to die or move to get a spot in the class.
People just took it over and over and over again, it was the
strangest thing.

Don’t know if your class is like that.

I’ve never heard of a metals class in this area being run like that.
All the art centers I know just take people as they sign up, close
the class when the room is full, add more classes if possible.

If I were you, I’d go somewhere else. Easy to say, not knowing what
your other options are are what this person’s specialty is.

That kind of set up doesn’t sound open and welcoming. I don’t teach
that way and I wouldn’t want to take a class in a situation like

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

I am on a waiting list for a course from a local silversmith. By the
time I get contacted if ever I will have learned all the basic things
by religiously following the list and researching sources. Don’t sit
idle waiting for that teacher. Look it up and practice new
techniques. Most times I think teachers of the arts overstretch
themselves and are so daily bombarded they cannot remember half of
what they need to do in a day. Don’t take it personally just take it
as an indicator that you are going to have to trial and error and
maybe not ever get the course.

America’s Only Cameo Artist

Bayla, I would move on. There are lots of classes, lots of teachers
out there. Life is too short to keep banging your head against a
wall. I am sure there are people on this list who can suggest a
great class for you in your area. With a great teacher.

Best of luck,

I had a similar experience last fall with a class offered through a
local university. The teacher is fairly well known in metals arts
circles. However, after signing up for the class, it rapidly became
obvious that the woman had no interest in being bothered with a
middle-aged non-art major. Furthermore, the class was woefully
underequipped (3 torches for over 40 students and one of them wasn’t
really much good for anything other than annealing) and the emphasis
was not on technical skills (such as soldering and fabrication) but
on “art design” - basically making stupid useless little pieces out
of plexiglass and base metals that were SUPPOSED to be
non-representational and nonfunctional. It was part of the “design
process”. There was also a student in the class who spent the vast
majority of her time loudly proclaiming that she was a “design
major” and therefore somehow above the level of the common kine. She
routinely swiped materials from my station and criticized my
(admittedly not artsy) design attempts. This behavior was at least
tolerated by the instructor if not subtly encouraged. Her designs,
btw, were totally uninteresting, IMNSHO.

Run, do not walk, away from this guy. It doesn’t matter why he’s
blowing you off, he is, and if you somehow managed to worm your way
into his class, he’ll just blow you off while making you pay for the

Just my opinion, YMMV.

Why don’t you just look for a reputable jeweler’s school in your
area instead?

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

Sad to say, but some people are too full of themselves. You should
not put up with that, they are not worth your time. Go somewhere
else, Revere Academy or some of the fine schools elsewhere. That
person cannot teach you anything that you cannot learn elsewhere.
Then, when you have mastered what you have learned, teach as many
people as you can and don’t be like him.

Just my .02 cents

It could be that the teacher has radically different opinions on
metals than you do and they don’t want to confron that issue. I’ve
seen that happen.

I would move on, if it hasn’t come together by now, then if it does,
it’ll probably be uncomfortable for you and/or them.

Bayla, Based upon your description, IMHO, you’ve been judged and
found wanting!

Blow off this teacher and find someone else to learn the craft from.
If he hasn’t the simple courtesy to answer your direct questions,
he will not be a good teacher to you, no matter how good of a teacher
he is. It sounds like he has made the executive decision to only
confer his blessed knowledge upon those individuals who measure up
to his pre-conceived notion of greatness…

If he ever did have to condescend himself to teach you, he would
never put his heart into it, and therefore your learning experience
would be considerably diminished!!!

Steve Stempinski… (Whose opinion is worth exactly what you just
paid for it!)

Steve’s Place
Jewelry Repair

Dear Bayla,

Would you elaborate as to what type of setting this instructor is
in, studio, university, an independent jewelry school, a museum or
independent art classes associated with an art organization. Are the
people this person instructs students or apprentices? If someone were
an apprentice it would be reasonable for him or her to look at your
work before teaching you.

I most definitely think you are being blown off. Number one you are
not being told where you are on a waiting list because somebody is
not being straight with you and may have something to hide. Number
two why would someone want to see your work before they are willing
to sell instruction to you? If there is a prerequisite for the
classes that should be clearly stated. If I may be so blunt this
instructor is not worthy of your time, talent or money. Take your
very precious curiosity and drive somewhere else to learn more and
report this person to the Better Business Bureau.

Thanks for your post and best wishes,

Cathy Wheless

Hi all,

I wanted to say thank you for your feedback. I can take a bit from
everyone, and learn from it, as well as laugh. Yes, I could take
other classes, I just wanted to know what was “wrong with me,” but
in fact there is nothing wrong with me.

I have learned in life, you have to give the benefit of the doubt to
someone, after you have exhausted all avenues of determining that
they are not totally rejecting you and purposely trying to make you
feel bad (sarcastic smirk inserted here…)

I will move on, and I say thanks to everyone, because reading your
similar experiences made me laugh and know that we all have similar
things happen, and we don’t have feel so weird.

I am lucky, I live near a large city, so I do have a choice of

Yes, Elaine, this class is like that…and students can bequeath
their seat to offspring…just kidding…Thanks Elaine, what you
said is true.

Nancy, I have the icepack on my head as I type this, and I took a
tylenol, you are right.

Zen, I am sure it was not amusing at the time but I FOTHLMAO about
your art design class. Thanks.

Tom, I can always use two cents.

Don’t buy into the hype. We are all worthy.


To all.

How are we to know who is good or bad for us when we don’t even know
what questions to ask them.

I remember when I started in 1972. I started out repairing French
and English dore’ bronzes (candlabra etc.) I borrowed 200.00 from a
friend to buy a skrew driver and a plumbers torch and a small
assortment of hand tools. I began my business. Shortly I sought a
teacher. I found one. She was the curator of gold at a certain
museum in Bogota Colombia. She asked me one day, “what to wish to
accomplish?” I said that I was very interested in the art of Carl
Faberge and that I wanted emulate the techniques. Completely
unsolicited she replied if there ever was a Faberge, it was her. I
blushed at her arrogance as I hadn’t seen any thing she had made that
so much as even resembled Faberge’s work. I completed here course
where in the interim she showed me a tiny wagon she made. With glee
she pointed out how the wheels would spin. … OK.
Whuuu. I was impressed…NOT. By that time I had already seen
and held a good many of genuine Faberge pieces so I was quite
familiar with what Faberge was. Long story short, after that
experience, I took it upon myself to ferret out the info on my own
which I did for about 30 years by traveling to Europe, New York etc.
I weaseled my way in to work rooms like Harry Winston, and many
enameling and silversmithing shops in Florence, Italy where the
craftsmen were only too willing to allow me to watch them work. Only
now am I willing to take lessons. This is what I am going to do in
July. I have always wanted to master the art of scroll engraving as
seen on many great works of art. I also want to learn scripting. I
have found a teacher who I think is probably the greatest master of
engraving living today, Sam Alfono. I plan to go to Louisiana in
July for private instruction. I am very excited and can only say to
those who are having difficulties, don’t wait as long as I did, dig
um out and toss em away if you don’t connect. You are not going to
hurt their feelings, as they are too busy being narcissistic. Life
is too short to sit around and listen to conceded wanabees. Believe
me there are more lousy artists and teachers out there than you want
to know about, so search well.

Another suggestion is to buy as many videos as possible on your
subject of interest, become educated and then seek out a teacher.
You may find the burning drive to go to class somewhat calmed.