One of the first things I do in a classroom is to ask the students why they are there and what they hope to learn by the end of the class. Students often share their desire to learn to create brilliant transparent colors and to be able to blend them seamlessly. Some students will talk about their frustration with the many myths and misinformation they've discovered in books and online. Some will even say that they just want to know everything I know.
That last request is pretty much how I approach a class. In my more than 43 years of enameling experience, I've discovered quite a bit about enameling and jewelry-making. But I've also learned about what it takes to become an artist. When I began enameling in 1976 after graduating college with a degree in Psychology and absolutely ZERO experience with art, I just hoped that I could make something I liked using what I hoped were beautiful enamel colors. With a little bit of help from a few knowledgeable teachers, my skills quickly developed and I was left with the bigger question: What do I do with these skills?
As I said, I initially just wanted to make something "pretty". But that takes some skill at designing, which I didn't have because I had never even thought about design before discovering that I loved enameling. It required considering self-expression, or "what I wanted to say or communicate" with my enamels. Again, I had never much thought about having a "story", being aware of my feelings, or even why I would want to share these parts of myself.
And it required confidence: believing that I was good enough and could risk failing as I learned these different but necessary aspects of the art making experience. I've had to teach myself most of these lessons. I want to share my experiences as a designer, maker, seller, and instructor so that you can see not only what might be important for you to explore, but also to inspire you to believe that you can do this too. I wasn't born an enamel artist. I became inspired and created a Quest to one day make the piece which be the best piece I could possibly make.
As I look back over my career as an artist, I'm content that I've pushed myself to create some enamel pieces which fall into the category of "extremely proud". They are my "happy dances". I'm now challenging myself to discover a new "happy dance": the same sense of pride when a student "gets it"!. Not just the how-to technique, but the understanding and awareness required for them to create their own "happy dance".
Video Coaching to help you discover and embrace YOUR happy dance.
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