My husband and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Yes, deep breaths, twenty-five years is a long time and we have the scars to show for it. His wedding ring had been worn down to a paper thin circlet by years of working with his hands, so we decided that we would melt our rings together along with a relative's beautiful old gold ring and have them remade. A local jeweler did this for us, and when I picked them up everyone working in the shop was inordinately pleased with the final product. They were all talking about it, these people who do this for a living, and all wanted to see the rings on and point out the craftsmanship. I was a little surprised by their enthusiasm, but equally thrilled with how the rings turned out and happy to oblige.
Last night, Elizabeth Thompson did a trial run of her ring class with the Craftstitutes. We do this when we're not quite sure what the snags are going to be in a class situation. The three of us taking this class were a perfect range of the kind of students to expect for a class like this: Erika, skilled in many things, was seeking to expand her repertoire; Erika's friend, sitting in for Lisa, had made rings before long ago and was looking for much needed creative relaxation. As for myself, the consummate project crafter with no experience or skills in metal work, I brought a vivid mental image of the desired final outcome of the evening's work.
Learning new skills gets easier the more you do it. Every craft has terminology and tools to identify and understand. There are steps and processes to learn and mistakes to make. Elizabeth, who comes to us via Brooklyn and a successful career as a jewelry designer, proved to be a fantastic teacher - calm and encouraging, offering thoughtful feedback and crack ideas for creative roadblocks.
One thing I love about classes like this is the opportunity to try something new without an investment in equipment. Elizabeth had everything necessary to produce beautiful rings, so we were able to enjoy the process without having to cob together the tools. This is no small thing when you have a project in mind. And while my jewelry making will remain in the classroom with teachers providing the structure and the tools, because heaven forbid I take up another craft, Erika and her friend were already discussing learning advanced soldering techniques and complicated designs they would like to try. We all left satisfied with the evening's work.
This morning, as I looked at the rings I had made and the beautiful wedding band recently replaced, I was in awe of the skill that creates a perfect seamless circle with no beginning or end. The magic of learning is that you appreciate more.