The past 2 weeks, I've been busy making special orders from customers in MN. It's been fun, but I've been making things I already know how to do. Not really stretching myself or experimenting very much. It almost feels like I've taken a step backward by making things that aren't challenging me. Mind you, I'm not complaining, I do appreciate the orders. I still need to make several things for summer and fall delivery to the shops I'll be selling my work at in MN, but I have some flexibility in what I'll have available to offer them when that time comes.
While I enjoy re-creating past success items and tweaking/improving them a bit, I also like to explore new techniques and keep growing with my jewelry designs. There are so many jewelry techniques I'd like to learn; soldering, piercing, rings, bezels, etc... The list goes on and on. I feel like such a novice when I think about how much I don't know yet.
At one of my classes this year, I was told by a classmate to take a look at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle. I did just that and I'm so excited! I have signed up for 56 hours of jewelry/metalsmithing classes this summer! Today, I picked up 2 books that they recommended, "The Complete Metalsmith" by Tim McCreight and "Jewelry Making Techniques Book" by Elizabeth Olver. I've been perusing them all evening and drooling over things I want to learn. My classes don't start until mid June, but I'm already sketching things I want to try. Pratt has full jewelry and metalsmithing studios available to rent on an hourly/daily basis, so after my classes, I'll be able to go back and use some of their equipment that I don't have at home. Fire, here I come! Controlled fire, of course :) I feel like Tim Allen, grunting Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh oh...... at the possibilty of new toys!
For May, (I try to take at least one class every month) I'm going to take a couple of advanced riveting classes from 2 of my favorite instructors, Tracy Stanley and Janice Berkebile from Wired Arts . One class will be making riveted rings and the other covers making riveted amulets. I could probably do both right now, just looking at the photos of what we'll be making, but Tracy and Janice always give such fun classes and helpful tips that it's well worth it to take their classes.
I'm looking forward to a summer of creative learning and growth. Always evolving. Jewelry making is becoming a full time job for me and I couldn't be happier!