Nice things about JA Magazine

I was asked by Merle White, Lapidary Journal editor in chief, to
write another “How To” article for Jewelry Artist Magazine. I was
happy to oblige since I enjoyed working with Helen Driggs on the
last article. Well, they put my bracelet on the cover which was very
nice, and really made an effort to edit my messy writing into a
coherent article. The look of the magazine in general and the other
articles in this issue make me proud to have been asked to write.
This is a good magazine, worth reading. It is a craft magazine with
technical articles which will be a help to anyone interested in
jewelry making.

When I teach or write I try to show the real world and my real world
seems to include making mistakes. During the making of the bracelet I
did for the article I broke the chisel I had designed the bracelet
around. I was tempted to start over and not let anyone know I had
done that but then I decided to show the readers that things like
breaking a tool happen. Rarely do I mess things up enough to scrap
all I have done. While teaching I usually show 3 things to my
students each week, 1) Cool Tool ( a tool which I have that I know
they will be interested in), 2) Mess Up of the Week ( where I have
made a mistake and how I corrected it and 3) Victory of the Week
(where I have finished a piece I had preveously shown that I
started) I was very pleased that the editors of Jewelry Artist
Magazine included the part about having to make a new chisel. To me
that shows a dedication to the readers.

Now it’s easy for me to say nice things about JA Magazine since my
article is in this issue but, I will keep my eye on it and hope you
do too. I had a great time meeting the Lapidary Journal crew at the
Orchid dinner Dave Arens organized in Tucson during the February gem
show. To me this is Orchid at it’s finest, a place to meet the
people in the jewelry world.

Thank you Jewelry Artist for the opportunity and Orchid for the

Sam Patania


Congrats on the article and cover of JA!!

I just wanted to add my complete agreement about showing students
your goofs. A big part of the educational process is learning how to
recover from mistakes. I don’t feel like I’ve given my students a
complete education unless they learn how to repair things. In one of
my more advanced classes I actually have them intentionally break a
piece just so we can work on repair techiques. I also have a few of
my own more spectacular failures set aside as examples rather than
fixing them or tossing them in the recycle box. They serve as
illustrations for the concepts I’m teaching every bit as much as the
pieces that worked.

Pam East

I was very pleased that the editors of Jewelry Artist Magazine
included the part about having to make a new chisel. My first
article for them was a pin with three different setting types in
it-- partial bezel, prongs and tube. It included a piece of
reticulated silver, and I melted it while soldering on a prong
(not thinking at all about the lower-melting-temperature alloy
next door to the job at hand). I had to do some major re-working
on that one! I wrote it up as a sidebar, complete with a picture of
the pre-repair damage, describing what I did wrong and what Ihad
to do to fix it. It said something like "Don't despair! You can
fix it.." 

I did it for the exact same reason you did-- everyone needs to
realize that even “the professionals” (and their teachers) mess up,
and don’t just toss it and start over (mostly). I must say, it never
occurred to me to doubt they would run it. I considered it extra
value for their money!


Hi Sam,

I really enjoyed what you had to say. JA was a delight to work with
for me too. I was most impressed with their patience since I’m not
the most computer savvy. Thank you for sharing your human side about
the chisel. It’s refreshing to know that even the pillars of our
community make mistakes and actually tell about them! Keep up the
great work, Jewelry Artist!


Sam -

I’m glad you went ahead with it. I like to say that while I learn
the most from my mistakes, I prefer to learn from others’ mistakes!
(That way my mistakes are really far out and I do in fact learn a

While yours was not a mistake, I had a great sense of satisfaction
knowing a new way (mentally, physically, emotionally) of recovering
from a setback.

best regards,