Tuesday, November 18, 2008
It was meant to be.
In college, I decided to take an art class every quarter to fill holes in my schedule. I had to declare myself an art major to do it because most of the classes were not open to non-majors. One quarter the only art class that would fit the opening in my schedule was a beginning jewelry class. I had zero interest in jewelry. I really knew nothing about it. I wondered if I should even bother taking it, thinking that maybe I would be better off just using the block of time to study. I signed up on a whim and I have never looked back.
All the basic skills came really easy to me-- the sawing, the soldering, the filing and shaping of the metal. While others struggled to achieve competence with these skills, they felt oddly natural to me from the beginning. I loved working with metal and I really liked the small scale of the work-- there was a satisfaction to finishing something and being able to turn it in one's hand for inspection, knowing that you had control over every last detail.
This brooch is from that first class. It was an exercise in stone setting and we had to use three different methods in one piece. This one uses a bezel setting, a tube setting, and a prong setting. The large oval stone is possibly aventurine (I am not sure) while the small round cab set in the tube is jade. The faceted stone is peridot. I put a lot more thought into the back of this piece even if the execution is a bit sloppy. It is clear that rather than just hiding this part of the brooch away, I added some small flourishes to make it more interesting even if only to the person wearing it. It was upon finishing this piece that I realized I had potential as a jeweler.
Unfortunately, I took only three jewelry classes before graduating-- I had discovered it too late.
I had used a loophole to gain access to art classes that were off-limits to non-majors. I had declared myself an art major but never really had any intention of pursuing my BFA (bachelor of fine arts) because it did not seem practical to me. I ended up getting a degree in philosophy instead, which is quite ironic when you think of it. When I had enough philosophy credits to earn my degree, I simply changed majors and was finished with school all at once. Just like that. My interest in jewelry would go on hold due to a lack of equipment and a suitable place to work but the fire never died.