My .02 from lots of teaching. First off adults are destination
driven. If the first several classes will be on safety and nothing
else, you will lose your audience immediately. Every class is
different and everyone teaches different things. For the beginners,
we teach how to make a simple silver band ring, a pendant or brooch
with a set stone. Along the way we give them demos every week in
roller printing, hammer textures, soldering, piercing, cold
connections, measuring, flex shaft tips, drilling and integrate
safety throughout. For the first class, or even before the first
class, I ask the beginners to make a found object necklace with a
theme. All the necklaces from my previous classes are hanging up in
the studio. Bringing the necklaces and talking about them is a good
Intermediate courses range from more stone setting, epoxy inlay,
design, forging, fold forming, hydrolic press, photoetching, hollow
forming, etc. Adults want to take home jewelry. They want to make
something for their cousin Hilda. If they keep coming back, then
they settle down and get much more into process and less destination.
For my intermediate students, I have them transform a shoe and bring
it to class. It is nothing about metalsmithing, but pure creativity.
I have gotten some very cool shoes!
Somebody mentioned on this forum, that no matter how small the size
of the class, a certain percentage will be quick learners and be very
motivated. Another percentage will move along at a steady pace, and
a few, no matter how much time and effort you put in, will never get
it. And if you find one that is dangerous to themselves and others,
you have the right to send them packing. It only happened once to
me, but I was glad I took the inititative.
Don’t worry about screwing up a demo either. It happens to me from
time to time, and the students love to see that you are human. The
hardest thing the adults are going to find is that their vision will
keep them from seeing tiny objects like sawblades. When I gave them
a dozen in their kit, they were amazed to find how small one of those
Bring in work of your own, slides of others’ work and laugh a lot.
Your background in art history will be an asset.
You will be great I’m sure. Best of luck and let us know how you are