Here it is Sunday afternoon, and it’s rainy/snowy and messy outside. I’m glad to be inside, and putting the final touches on my class packets for Beadfest in Santa Fe. This is my first time to teach at Beadfest, and I’m really excited about it. I can’t think it will be very different from teaching my adult beginning jewelry classes at the college, but one never knows. The class is called “Soldering With Success”, and I don’t know what level of students I will be getting. Some will be beginning, I know, but some may be fairly accomplished, just with specific soldering problems. I have promised them I can solve their soldering problems, whatever they may be. I sure hope I haven’t let my mouth overload my rear end!
Being a teacher is a tremendous responsibility. I want to make sure I am giving my students reliable information, so I continue to research every new technique that is out there. Tevel Herbstman at Allcraft Tools recently made a new wire solder for me. It comes in a rod, like a piece of 16 gauge wire, so I will debut that. It’s great for “soldering from the stick” or “stick soldering”. Also I’ll be teaching pick soldering, sweat soldering and my own way of soldering rings and jumprings. What constantly amazes me is that something I think is “old hat”, is brand new to so many people, and that’s the fun of teaching. I teach all the tricks and bench tips, and hold nothing back. Why have students re-invent the wheel? They can take where I leave off and maybe invent a better wheel.
But being a teacher is, like I said, an awesome responsibility. I have a 30 page hand-out for them. So there is writing the handout (mine is a compilation of my writings for the last 3 years plus some new stuff), colating, exroxing, and putting them in their orange folders (the color of a solder flame). Yes, I even think about the color of their folders. Then I have to order their supplies, like solder, silver, flux, solder picks, everything that will be in their supply bags, and don’t forget to order the zip lock bags, too. Then putting everything together, cutting the solder, silver, making sure you leave nothing out of someone’s bag. Its harder than you think, and takes a lot of organization. Then after that’s done, I have to put together my classroom sets of pliers, files, etc., clean and pack my pickle pot, check the torches, and at the last minute, find out that I cannot take my acetylene tanks!!! So we will be soldering with something that runs cooler than I’m used to. But that’s OK, I am used to the torch we will be using, since that’s what I used in Chile for 3 years. In fact, it’s the torch most of the world uses. But I will miss my trusty Smith torch!
But I do this because I love teaching. Doing all these things are what I love. I mean, its not like taking the dishes out of the dishwasher or folding clothes. (Gag) I love writing and making packets and organizing. I know that at the end of my last class I will have the satisfaction, that really good feeling, from sharing with my students the techniques and information that will help them become a better jeweler. Teaching is a tremendous high for me. I make so many new friends from students, and to me, that’s what life is about.
I look forward to all of you who are coming to Beadfest in Santa Fe. I hope to be teaching at the newly announced Beadfest Dallas, Oct 1-3. Even if you are not taking my class in Santa Fe, if you are there, please make yourself known. I know one of my favorite cutters, Gary B. Wilson, will be there with his glorious beads and cabs. I’m eager to see who else is there with new and fun things. And besides, it’s such fun to be in Santa Fe, with it’s budding Creamsicle-colored hollyhocks and adobe walls dappled with soft shadows of the bare tree branches. I love Santa Fe in the winter. The snow on the adobe walls makes all of Santa Fe look like a giant carrot cake! The pinon smoke fragrance of logs burning in fireplaces add so much to the ambience of the town. It is wonderful, plus seeing the galleries, shops and restaurants. I went to college in Albuquerque, so my love for all of New Mexico goes back a long way. My soul lives in Santa Fe and Taos. This will be such a huge treat for me. I’m excited.
So, See you in Santa Fe. For those of you not going, I’ll post a full report after we return next week-end.
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