Opportunity Leads Learning–A Teaching Philosophy

Do you push yourself to learn new things, experiment with ideas even if they don’t usually work out or seek opportunities to do things that are likely too hard for you? I do! Often, I look for things to create that are just beyond my level of expertise in jewelry design.

I was struck by this philosophy as I cleaned my studio last week. I have numerous “dog bone” trays full of little things that didn’t work. There’s a tray of wire doodles, a larger tray of metal pieces and one or two of bezels, wire wrapped stones and partially strung necklaces. I would suspect that anyone who “makes things”, whether they are large pieces welded at the barn or small things soldered in a jewelry studio, has a container of things that didn’t work out as expected. It was neat to look through my piles and see that things that I couldn’t do months ago are now no longer a challenge. My prong settings are working well now . . .

goddess . . . as evidenced by the double stone piece shone here. This type setting certainly propelled by stone work forward and now I’m finally confident in trying all sorts of new styles. The first prong that I attempt were not so good!

Also, I found a small collection of torch enameled pieces that were pretty awful looking. (no, I won’t be showing a photo of them here!) I had to laugh as I looked at the newer pieces that I’m working on for an upcoming class. I’m glad I stuck with it.

enameling new earrings

My conclusion from this is that trying things that at first seem beyond my capability, actually holds the potential for improving my overall technique. The most important element seems to me that I must not yield to discouragement when things don’t work out, but rather look at them as opportunities for growth.