The last time I was in college it was sort of a horrific experience. I was in graduate school and I constantly felt on the brink of imploding. That was three years ago. I’ve avoided any sort of academic pursuit like the plague since. Sure I took some lapidary lessons, but that was off campus and in a weird, smoke filled warehouse. It felt as far from academia as possible.
Lately I’ve been feeling a strange pull to get back to school. There’s this nagging reminder that I used to love learning (its why I tried grad school in the first place). I especially loved my art courses in undergrad, which had nothing to do with my psychology degree and everything to do with giving me a creative outlet in order to stay sane. My friends Ali and Mary started prodding me about six months ago to step out of my comfort zone and try a few courses, and I had some extra money saved for business investments this month. So when I saw that my local community college was offering an introductory metalsmithing and jewelry fabrication class, I took the leap and signed up.
I’ve attended two class sessions so far. My anxiety each day has been through the roof leading up to the class, but the moment I get there I’m totally fine. The classroom is a big, open studio with a ton of jewelers benches, tools, and anvils. I recognize a couple classmates as fellow local vendors, and everyone is there to learn at their own pace. Its exciting and fun and a little intimidating, but I’m okay with that.
I have a few goals for the semester to focus myself so that I’m not just flailing at sheets of copper. The skills I want to learn are:
- Sawing and Piercing
- Using a File (Properly. I don’t think I do it properly right now.)
- Patterning Metal
- Chasing/Shaping Metal (Again, properly. My stuff is a little haphazard at right now.)
- Riveting With Open/Closed Rivets
I know better than to think that I’ll master any of these techniques in 8 weeks, but they’re things I’m curious about and want to get a basic grasp on. I started sawing and piercing for the first time tonight, and I’ve decided to keep a running count of how many saw blades I’ve broken for the semester (so far I’m at two).
I’ll post more updates as I learn new skills and make shiny things. Thank you guys so much for your support- without you I wouldn’t have had the money to take this class!