Hi Jo et al
but do this to pass on the old school skills that we have learned
Same as me. While I work in a school a deal was struck when it came
to my jewellery class.
I RULE THE ROOM, NO IFS OR BUTS, STUDENTS DO AS I SAY OR THEY ARE
OUT. THEIR LOSS.
In other electives the students think it is their right to be in the
room. In my class it is a privilege.
In class the other day a student who had made their silver band
wanted to do some bead work, good showed enthusiasm. Did not clean up
beads left all over the bench. Guess who will NEVER be back in my
In the same class was a very shy and polite girl, who tackled
everything asked of her with quiet determination and did a great job
at her first task. Then told me how she loved making things and at
her last school had made a clock from wood and set the mechanism in
it. Stayed and helped make sure all tools packed and room cleaned.
Welcome every time.
For safety reasons, as these are raw beginners, I take the pieces to
my work shop and polish them.
Gave a boy back his silver ring, he kept on thanking me, until I
told him to shut up and said, “You did the work, it took you half an
hour to make this all I did was polish it for I minute, got it.” It
sunk in that it was his work, and I just polished it, (hey this is
not slight to professional polishers I know how hard a job that is).
He now “owns” the piece but still can’t believe that he did it.
He showed other students, they said it was BS until I said no he did
that and then showed them other students work.
Usually they hide it so it won’t get stolen. They all want to make
one and all will get the chance, if they get to continue depends on
them. Except, seriously, the ones whose psych evaluations say “not to
be near sharp objects”
While we are working at the very rudimentary level, making silver
ring bands. What it means to these kids to actually have something
they made that is as good as the jewellery store down town, often
better, is soul building.
These are the worst of the worst, most have been expelled from
mainstream education and many are on court orders for attendance. But
in my jewellery class they all have the chance to make good quality.
While I get paid $80 an hour to teach these kids, that’s nothing to
the million dollar minute (the feeling I get) when they see the
polished piece and their faces light up with pride and hope.
If I could tell you the lives these kids have, the law prevents me,
you would all shed a tear.
My point is that jewellery making can change peoples lives for the
better. A new world opens for them and even if they only want to make
one ring and then leave they wear it with pride or impress their girl
friends with the hand made gift.
These kids are always being told they can’t, I tell them they can
and they do. The art and visual design teachers are in the same
situation, while kids will leave or hide to avoid maths or English
they annoy us to get to get into class BEFORE the bell.
A sign in one of my wholesalers says “Making Jewellery is cheaper
than therapy!” For these kids it is therapy.
While making jewellery may not change the world it can change
peoples lives for the better.