As one who has both taken and taught jewelry workshops (primarily in
the use of Precious Metal Clay), I would like to offer several
- Taking Workshops
I have often felt when taking a 3-day workshop that I still had more
to learn by ‘doing’ and would have preferred to remain in the studio
to continue working. Anything more than the three days, and a little
break is needed, even if for a few hours ‘recess’ of doing nothing,
but longer for me would have been better.
Having been fortunate enough to be able to take a two-week workshop
years ago, I learned that, with that kind of intense learning
experience, one needs at least one day in the middle to 'breathe’
and refresh one’s brain cells. Very rewarding experience.
I guess, if I had to offer advice, I would say, find the time, make
the time to take longer workshops.
- Teaching Workshops
I generally teach 3-day workshops and have to pare and prune the
I want to share so that it fits into the time allotted.
I dislike eliminating but it’s a great exercise for me
to do this and my students generally tell me that they are filled to
overflowing. I like to hear that. I know that they will be able to
use the I’ve given them. I also make certain they have
in writing, too, with hand-outs.
However, I would prefer to teach longer workshops; five days to two
weeks. This permits extensive time for independent work, personal
attention, time for slides, etc. and a well-structured demo and
lecture time. It also is more practical for me in terms of time away
These longer workshops are more difficult to fill for the 'schools’
because (1) they are more expensive and (2) they require potential
students to make more time available. But, they are rich learning
There are such pluses to teaching. I am always rewarded by the
pleasure my student’s take in receiving the I give them.
I always learn something from my students. I get paid (that’s only a
good thing). It’s also not bad being respected as The Authority;
definitely nourishes one’s ego. Except for the time away from my own
studio (including travel time, too), teaching has been and continues
to be a positive, enriching activity for me.
All that being said, I teach because it is essential that whatever I
KNOW about making jewelry should be passed on to another generation
of jewelrymakers. I learned so much of what I know from generous
jewelers I met at craft shows, who were willing to share information
with me and from taking a range of workshops over the years. I
remember when those of us in the field spoke of the one person who
re-discovered (had to re-discover) how to do granulation, because
the technique had been lost. My skills are certainly different from
that, but I can pass on traditional jewelry making techniques and
techniques for using metal clay. My students will carry it on.