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> From what some are saying here, I should just give this information
> away to anyone who asks? Why?
My first input on this thread was deliberately facetious. But your
post begs me to answer in a more sincere manner. Fact is, you are
teaching professionally. That has become your craft, or art, if you
please. Just this evening I was speaking with a friend, a jeweler,
and I recommended he try to get out to your school and take a class.
You and I have never met, and I've never studied with you, but I
sense the breadth of your knowledge from your posts, emails, and the
regard others have for you. And I suspect what you have to offer has
value the greatly exceeds the tuition. So suppose we look at it this
I don't mind helping someone out with advice, a tip or a source. If
I sense they are working at learning, a little advice here and there
is just courtesy. Questions like, "what's the difference between a
high speed steel graver and a regular one?" tell me they've been
trying to answer some of their own questions already. But if they
want to know how to sharpen a graver, I'll suggest a book or a class
at Stockton Jewelry Arts. Gerry Lewy will give that information away,
and that's his prerogative. If they're new, and ask a question like
"how do I cast?" or "how do I quite my day job and make a living as a
jeweler?" I either clam up, or tell them "take a class at your local
community college and get your feet wet first". Most advice I would
give a newcomer would be of little use to them for years. Even buying
supplies is not a simple thing. You have to know what you need, how
you'll use it, what quality is acceptable, etc.
I had a local guy call me to ask what solder and flux to use to
repair eyeglass frames. I hesitated, then went ahead and told him. If
he doesn't even know what solder and flux to use, what's the
likelihood he'll be able to fix eyeglass frames? Probably going to
try it with a hardware store propane torch. He screwed up a few
pairs, then decided to send all future repairs to me.
What I will never give away is the way that I've integrated years of
study and practice to be able to make a fairly good piece of jewelry.
It's simply not something that can be handed over in a nutshell, so
to speak. I'd have to subject them to the whole body of my knowledge
in the proper format, namely, they'd have to sit and endure my
overbearing presence until they were pliant enough for me to mold
them into a facsimile of the monster I've become. (Think of that
movie, Interview with the Vampire or whatever it was called). Many
have seemed willing, but I'm certain they couldn't afford it, even if
I knew what to charge, nor would their families tolerate them
volunteering themselves to such abuse. Seriously, what you do,
Brian, as a teacher, is a skill in itself, one that I don't know if I
possess, so of course, you can't give that away. It would be exactly
as if I did free diamond setting or wax carving.
David L. Huffman