by Linda Kline
Director of Education
I got a call this morning from a woman who wants to take my five-week class at the Vero Beach Museum of Art. She saw a piece of bezel-set sea glass jewelry at an art show that she wants to duplicate using sea glass she’s been collecting for years. While I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, I’ve learned that it’s better to be up-front and honest about the realistic expectations for a beginner. In 15 hours (five, three-hour classes), the length of my average museum class, a student isn't going to master something that complex. I often remind students that Michelangelo had to do years and years of apprenticeship before anyone put a chisel or paint brush in his hand.
Below: Mixed metal pendant by PMCC Project Guide Editor Nellann Roberts. Not a beginner project, but a great goal. Photo by Doug Baldwin.
PMC is an instant gratification medium. But teachers owe it to students to set reasonable expectations and achievable goals, especially with the current cost of silver. Students may not be bezel setting stones in an introductory course, but given time, patience, and persistence the possibilities are limitless.
Be honest with your students. Focus on the fundamentals. But most important, set high expectations for the quality of student work. Show them pieces of amazingly beautiful jewelry that a newbie can realistically master. Explain the opportunities available for taking advanced classes. Tell them about the certification program and the specific educational components of each of the levels. Whet their appetites; fire up their creative juices, and let the fun begin!