I started my journey at the Revere Academy nearly 10 years ago and
learned from all of the instructors there to invest in good quality
tools, as well as how to set up a studio to work efficiently. They
also tried to teach me that there is no shortcut to getting good at
goldsmithing, but I didn’t listen.
If I hadn’t been so naive in the beginning, I would not have taken
all of the courses at Revere at once. I would have taken one course
of fabrication, or stone setting, or wax carving, every few months
so I could practice what I learned and feel somewhat confident in
that skill before I learned something else. I have copious notes,
but it’s not the same as when it’s fresh from the teacher’s mouth.
Marlene Richey taught me how to present myself as a professional,
about running a business, and the inner workings of the wholesale
trade. She also taught me that even master goldsmiths have days of
self-doubt, that it is a myth that the work comes easily for them
just because they look successful to the rest of us, and that even
the most successful have sleepless nights before a show because they
are worried about the reception of their new work. That made me feel
much better before my first show.
Right now, the biggest influence on my work is coming from Michael
David Sturlin. My creative boat was adrift at sea and he reeled it
back in and set my feet on solid ground. He helped me realize what I
want from my work, where I want to go with it, and how to get there
with carefully laid out plans. He knows I want to be a skilled
craftsman and he is teaching me the value and personal satisfaction
of using simple tools to work directly in metal. I mistakenly
collected tools all these years that I thought would do the work for
me since I was inexperienced. He says there is no shortcut to
getting better at making, and now I am listening.
Michael is also teaching me how to focus on the work in front of me,
not something I have been very good at. His mantra, “Focused
creative energy brings fulfillment and success” is now my mantra. He
has helped me pinpoint my own definition of success, instead of
trying to fill others’ idea of what it means.
This is what has worked for me personally. I hope it helps some of
your students in some way.