While spring is a long way off for the mountains it is none the less time to start cleaning and reorganizing for our metalsmithing school. I am sifting through my piles, throwing and putting away..well, Ok, I am thinking about all that cleaning. We are professionals, which means simply we have been accumulating stuff for years.
Musing on my collection of bezel pushers, each tool with its own accent as it were for moving a bezel over a stone I can’t help grinning. I love my tool collection. Still I only reach for a dozen of my tools in a given day. The rest sit for that specific problem than only a specialized tool can handle.
I have been reflecting on Jessica Kidd’s Beginner class. She taught last year and has agreed to come back and teach this year. We have begun to get the questions inherent for beginners. What tools do I really need? What should I buy? Should I get professional tools or harbor freight imports? These are some of the impossible questions that the beginner instructor has to face. Most of us understand that there are at least six ways to accomplish almost any task in metalsmithing and there are at least that many tools for each job. So we admit there is no one way to do anything, that goes for both tools and the techniques for using those tools. The big question then is… What tools are essential now and what tools can wait?
Jessica has solved this brillantly for her class. She has some simple projects that introduce the student to metalsmithing and a small list of tools that will make those projects. Fun and challenging. In fact although I didn’t actually take her class (I am a school assistant i.e. fetch and carry answer questions when i can) I was impressed with what you can accomplish with a finite, limited list of supplies. In fact when I asked her about why she did something this way instead of that she aswered bluntly “because that is the tools they have in their kit”. I promtly went back to my corner. Her list will allow you to go home and work on and make other designs.
I highly recommend Jessica Kidds beginner class if you want a taste of the jewelry world and and intro into the tools required to be a metalsmith.
I have thought ever since we should have a workshop for all of us “professionals” where you go back to the basics. You know, a project where you are allowed only a few tools and some polishing disks. The creativity would be enormous. We could all use a beginning class. In fact I picked up some tips just hanging out.
While I am unlikly to give up my piles of tools, there is a part of me who remembers how easy clean up was when I only had one of everything.
Toni Tischer alias crzy woman