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Re: [Orchid] Parent - Child Jewlery project
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Linda Gebert Sunday, September 03, 2006
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    Reading this series definitely brought back memories. I used to teach
    jewelry making and enameling at the Wichita Center for the Arts. In
    the summer classes for youth were offered, and the lower age limit
    for jewelry classes was 13. My first thought was "thirteen year olds
    with torches - what were they thinking"? However, the only bad
    experience was when several of the boys and girls in one class knew
    each other. They were too rowdy (pointing torches at each other,
    etc) and I had to exercise a lot more discipline than usual. But in
    most classes of 13 and 14 year olds, they were shy around others they
    didn't know, and were afraid of the torches, which is not a bad
    thing because it can translate to respect for them. And as another
    wrote, you work with one kid at a time when soldering. In the end, I
    think someone young realizing they can actually create a
    3-dimensional piece was really thrilling to them. Compare that to a
    drawing or painting class - everyone knows how to put pencil or paint
    to paper, so it's not a revelation to them, just a matter of
    increasing technique and skill level. But they were so proud that
    they could actually manipulate metal, and overcome fear of the torch.
    I like to think it helped increase their confidence - yes, especially
    the young girls. And an afterthought - the only really bad experience
    did not involve a torch, just the soldering tweezers. I was lecturing
    at one of the work stations. Ours had a strip of electrical outlets
    running down the middle of each table between facing stations. One
    student absent-mindedly stuck his tweezers into the outlet. Still
    gives me chills - he let go quickly enough when the boom, the flash,
    and the lights going out occurred, that he did not get electrocuted.
    I asked if he did not recognize an electrical outlet when he saw one,
    and he replied - not on a table, just on the wall. I learned not to
    take anything for granted, and to err on the side of explaining too

Linda Gebert

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