Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Teaching Metal Clay

Some thoughts about teaching metal clay have been running around my head lately.  Thought I would share with you.
Metal clay is a magical material and it has something for everyone.  Doesn't matter if you have never opened a pack of it.  Doesn't matter if you have never made jewelry, or if you have never made anything in your LIFE!!!!  Whatever your skill level with metal clay, I think I can show you something new that will get the creative ball rolling.
Did you go to pre-school, kindergarten, elementary school?  Well, I bet you did and I also bet you played with clay.  Remember that slightly stinky, colored, Platiscene clay?  It never dried out and you didn't bake it, but boy, oh, boy, it was fun to moosh it around and make animals and people and strange objects!
What I do when I teach metal clay, is try to bring out that Kindergartener in you--remembering the joy and delight of fingers in clay.  Because, at it's basic level, metal clay is CLAY.  That's all.  It's not metalsmithing or complex jewelry technique; it's friendly stuff.  One doesn't have to think too seriously about it to enjoy the metal clay experience .
My job, as your metal clay teacher, is to show you what metal clay is, what metal clay can do, and to help you envision your ideas.
There is so much satisfaction for me when I teach metal clay, I really think, sometimes, I have more fun than my students!!
Lately I find that I am welcoming a lot of individual students into my studio for some private tutoring.  This makes the best of all learning situations. Private instruction is a great way to decrease the learning curve and strengthen retention--a real advantage in a world where students are "bombarded" with all manner of books, workshops, videos, etc. 

The majority of my teaching duties are "on the road" which I love.  But when I am teaching metal clay at my home studio here in Cape Coral, Florida, there is nothing that compares to it.  Whatever my metal clay student needs to see, to know, to hear, it is right here at my fingertips. It's awesome to be able to conjure up examples of a technique or show a particular tool or book, just when it's needed.  What luxury for both the metal clay teacher and the metal clay student.
I am so lucky to be able to do what I love and what I am good at.  To be able to pass on knowlege and watch "the lightbulb switch on" over my student's head is one of the best things about teaching metal clay.