Tomorrow I start a new direction. I am teaching my first workshop in shawl pin making for people with no previous metal working experience. I have taught many times over the years in situations ranging from one on one in studio to small classes elsewhere. What is different is that I am in a more aggressive push to get me and my work out to a bigger world.
To my mind a teacher's goal is to stretch a student's knowledge while minimizing frustration . There is no creative direction that doesn't involve going down dead ends. How people deal with that is telling. My biggest "teaching" situation was with Beth Williams ( http://bethwilliams.com/ We met when she came to my studio to have a new wedding ring made for her husband. After a few meetings I was impressed with her own creative energy and her organized easy manner. I offered a choice: I could make her ring for money or I could teach her to make her own ring and she could teach me to be organized. And so began a seven year stint of sharing a studio and a friendship that continues to this day. I had always worked alone. I was amazed at what I learned watching her start from scratch.
One day she spent totally focused on one project doggedly inching her way on a complicated piece. My style is more like a spider spinning a web on LSD. I don't recommend it. Her project wasn't going so easily. I asked her what went through her mind as she worked. "Just getting this done," she answered. As I shut up and continued watching I became aware that I had a habit of running a constant negative chatter in my head. I also became aware of the cost of that habit. Awareness does not equal change overnight unless your name is Scrooge.
So as I start this stint of teaching I am reminded that the roles of "teacher" and "student"
do not have fixed boundries. What a gift that is!