In looking back over the past year, I realize I have taught classes all over the US and Europe and this same question comes up over and over…..
“Now, it’s okay that I make these to sell, right?”
How does a teacher answer such a question? My mentors say ‘make it personal’.
The corsages are very personal to me. They are born out of personal experience with my mother (the florist) and growing up in a household where my curiosity and artistic expression were left to grow. My Mom was really creative. She appreciated the little things around her. She pointed out the beauty around us, like architecture (she loved cityscapes as much as the gingerbread woodwork on turn of the century houses), the changing colors of the leaves, the lovely colors of spring. She turned this appreciation for the world around her into her own expressions. I don’t do her work, but her work influences me greatly.
I name the brooches for women I know because each of them touches me in a tiny way. Each one of these women impresses upon me an attribute, an action, a thought that spurs me to make these pieces. It is entirely personal. I think that is why people relate to them, and often want to own them.
I teach the technique in the hopes that the people who take the class will also use the design to make it personal for them. I expect the students to make the same shapes that I do, and I know they are often curious about the mechanics of how I put it all together. I have been impressed with some students who bring their ‘practice pieces’ to class to show me how they have been trying to figure it out on their own.
However, I am most impressed with the students who use the technique to achieve their own personal goals. There are many students who have gone on to really make it their own and I wanted to point out three here today. I hope to continue to add to this list.
The first is Karla Klein, who took my class in Omaha. Karla has always done adorable fish. During the class, she became pretty excited because her ‘light bulb’ went on and she suddenly knew how to use the technique to achieve a goal she always wanted to reach. She always wanted to make the fish look like they were floating above the coral reef. Here is her final product. It doesn’t look like my work. It looks completely like hers. But you can see how she used her new skills to make that happen! It’s adorable!
The next student was also the studio owner. Miriam Steger of the Netherlands invited me to teach at her studio. After the first round of classes, she showed me some things she was working on, trying to make a Hydrangea. In the Netherlands, it’s called Hortensia. This does not look like my work either. I could tell that Miriam would have eventually figured out how to get there, but taking the class got her there faster. I think it’s beautiful and Miriam should be proud!
Lastly, I want to include Barbara Terrill’s piece from the last class I taught this year at Arrow Springs in Shingle Springs, CA. She came to class with many ideas and pieces already made. She also made my shapes, but stuck with the things she brought to class to make it uniquely hers. Again, this piece does not look like mine, but you can see how she used the technique to make it personal to her.
I hope to continue to add to this list. I have taught at around 15 studios to date. All of them with 10-12 students per class. I imagine I will get new photos to post and I will share them here. These are just 3 examples of the work being done, and I am really proud of them.