Thursday, August 20, 2009

Time to Focus and Prepare

A new semester approaches.
It is time to buckle down and clarify all of the ideas and plans for the fall. I am looking forward to teaching another semester of Metalwork and Jewelry Design but I am not without a certain amount of anxiety and jitters. I have so many ideas for the new class and I am really excited about the new and improved projects I am designing. I hope to have a group of students who will be as enthusiastic and hard working as students of past semesters.

In addition to new classes, I am currently developing a blog with materials to supplement in class offerings. All of the possibilities for using the Internet to enhance teaching are becoming more clear to me, now that I have played around a bit in the blogosphere. If you are at all interested in metalworking, I hope you will visit throughout the semester at Although the material will be primarily directed towards my class, there will be links, tips, tricks and tutorials that will be of interest to studio metalsmiths and all are welcome.

My goals for this semester are:
  • Be more organized.
  • Offer more slide presentations in class.
  • Create better projects that enhance student learning and encourage enthusiastic participation.
  • Get more involved in my school and promote my course more effectively.
  • Improve my in class demos.
  • Effectively use the new blog to enhance learning and engage my students outside of the classroom.
  • Successfully balance my professional development with my teaching responsibilities.
  • Remember why I love teaching, every day that I walk in to the classroom.

Having the opportunity to teach really is a blessing. Sometimes I lose sight of that in the bustle and worry about doing everything right. Teaching is not always easy but it can be very rewarding. I am fortunate to have had incredible teachers throughout my studies. I hope that I am successful in honoring what those teachers have given me by passing on the knowledge of my craft with integrity.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Wonder Why...

There are many, many things that occupy my head. They are not important, really. They are just there. Such as:

  • Why does Eddy (the cat) beg volubly for food and then stick his head in the bowl so that I can't fill it?
  • Why are there so many june bugs? As far as I can tell, all they do is hang out on screens and fly into stuff.
  • Why can't Philip (the husband) close doors?
  • Why do none of the socks match (we bought them all at the same time)?
  • What is wrong with weeds, if they are green and pretty? Who decides which plants are weeds? Is it just snobbery because they are easier to grow than "proper" plants?
  • Why is 10 minutes before my alarm goes off Media's (the cat) favorite time to deal with her hairballs? And why does it have to be right where I will step when I get out of bed? Does she have some sort of 6th sense about these things?

There are more. Many more. What do you wonder about?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

20+ jumprings

Sometimes, I need jump rings. So I make a whole bunch.
Sometimes I can't think of anything to make. So I make a whole bunch of jump rings.
Well, I suppose I accomplished something. I will probably be glad I did this... later.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Musings on the inner critic

I was watching Mirror Mask while eating my lunch today. I love that movie for its sheer exuberance. The richness of drawings and texture can be overwhelming, but in a good way.

I find that I am often drawn to works of art that are an expression of liveliness and freedom. I love the work that appears beautifully unconcerned with correctness in the pursuit of an expression of feeling that surpasses the boundaries of the human mind/soul. It is passionate freedom that attains beauty that can be felt deep within the body. It is beauty that goes beyond verbal means of expression. It is a work of art that you can feel working deep within your body and it makes you remember that you are alive. It is a magic that I am always groping and searching for but rarely manage to find.

My inner critic often manages to keep me in check. I find myself envying the freedom of others. We wrestle constantly, my inner critic and I. She is very vocal and cruel. She points out all of the reasons why an idea won't work. She finds one hundred possible avenues for failure before I have managed to put more than one line on a page. She lists all of the things that I need to get done and then mocks me for feeling overwhelmed. She is my worst enemy and, unfortunately, she is becoming me.

I am going to get a mental rope and some duct tape... before she wins.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Waiting to Hear... Something

Every time I hear the word Afghanistan on the radio (not terribly often), my insides clinch up a bit. It has, perhaps, been to easy to be complacent about the daily events on both fronts. The news of either war is buried deep within the news of the day. Most days, I don't even see a new article on either. They certainly are rarely on the front page.

It is easy to assume that everything is okay.

Even though my little brother is presently stationed in Afghanistan, he never really seemed so far away as he does today. With technology and communications so immediate, he frequently responds to emails and posts messages on his facebook page. It is not like in the wars that you read about, when you had to wait for weeks, or even months, for a letter. He is always right there. Maybe not answering the phone immediately, but close.

Today, I am waiting and ready to hear that everything is okay.

I suppose I am selfish. I should never have allowed the complacency of the media to become my complacency. How could I have allowed myself to forget about the dangers he (and each of the men and women serving) is facing? But I did.

Today, I am waiting and hoping to hear that everything is okay.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ah, summer

Well, I am completely cooked. In an effort to improve my photographs for my Etsy site, I decided to shoot outdoors. I am now thinking that it would probably be better to do this before noon as it was blazing hot on the back patio. The jewelry got so hot that I could barely touch it and (despite my extraordinary aversion to pain) I am not generally sensitive about picking up hot things. Those earrings pushed my limits. Here's hoping it was worth it!