Sunday, 13 February 2011

Teaching a workshop

Something surprising happened last week. I was asked by a friend if I would consider conducting a jewellery-making workshop for a group of mothers whose children attend a local arts academy. My friend has been volunteering at this arts academy - which holds subsidised classes (in art, music, drama, cooking etc) for children who display creative talents but don't have the means to pay - for close to a year and thought I would enjoy helping out there too. It seems the people who run the academy are hoping to start a series of workshops for parents (mostly mothers) so they get to learn something and have some fun while waiting for their children to finish with their classes.

So the upshot of all this is: on 5 March, I'll be teaching a group of women how to make rings. I've never taught a workshop before so it's a little scary. But I think it might be good for me to get out of my comfort zone. Since there isn't enough budget to cover the cost of tools, which is a shame really, I decided that I'd rely on just a handful of beads and some monofilament wire to make something pretty. After a lot of thought, and discussion with the academy director, I chose the following two rings as the items the women will be learning to make. I might change up the colours, and possibly the materials (eg metal beads in place of plastic) as well but I'm not quite sure. What do you think? I'd love to hear from you if you have ideas on changing up the 2 rings.

Thursday, 3 February 2011


Warning: this is not an upbeat post. If you're looking for sunshine and flowers, you'd do better reading another blog today. But please check back next week. Regular service should resume then.

I don't usually voice this out loud but, a lot of times, I feel like a charlatan when it comes to my jewellery-making. Growing up, I never thought of myself as being creative. Truth be told, I used to fail most of my art assignments in secondary school (high school). And by fail, I mean really badly - like 30/100 badly. I couldn't - and still can't - draw. Or paint. Or sketch. Or any of the things you expect creative types to do. I appreciated art though - art galleries are some of my favourite places - but I decided early on that I couldn't do art. After all, that was what my teachers repeatedly told me. And good student that I was, I listened to them and believed.

Until I was in mid-twenties when I began dabbling in crafts. To save my pennies, I made presents for friends and colleagues and got seriously into stencilling and decoupage. I stopped when work got hectic and I found I didn't quite have the time. Then about 3 years ago, in a bid to add something else to my life apart from work, I took a beading class at a community centre. I've been hooked on beads and jewellery-making ever since. But even now, I find it difficult to tell people I make jewellery. I'm regularly visited by self-doubt and I almost always question my design ideas. I still don't think I'm creative and I certainly don't see myself as an artist. I'm sure this perception holds me back. In fact, I know it does.

But I then I read this blog post about what it takes to be an artist. It was something of an eye-opener for me and although I'm not quite at the point where I can confidently announce to the world that 'why yes, I am an artist', I think I just might be on my way there.

I'm going to stop my navel gazing and post some eye candy now. Partly to thank anyone out there who waded through my rambling. Partly to add some colour to an otherwise boring post. But mostly to reassure myself that I am capable - on occasion - of thinking up (fairly) original and pretty designs.