Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Dreamy Day Job, Part 1-Rings

I have been a high school shop teacher at the same school for the past 11 years.  Some wonder how in the world I can bare to teach teenagers, and at the same school for so long?  Well, it just so happens that I pretty much have the most awesome day job around!

At my school we have 5 shops, and I am the jewelry/metalsmithing teacher.  I basically create the curriculum I want, and have total freedom to try any techniques and materials that I think the kids will dig, and dig they do...

The other cool part about my job is that I have had the opportunity to teach lots of other courses, art classes to glass shop classes.  And, as all teachers know, prepping is essential, so I have to make lots of cool stuff for myself in order to come up with the projects I plan on doing with my kids.  Plus, since my own art is no longer metalsmithing, I need to keep my soldering skills up, so I just must make cool stuff for myself...

For my advanced class we make square rings where they learn a technique called scoring.  The rings on the left I made when figuring out the best way to teach them how to to speak...

Rings are my favorite things to make and wear, and over the past 11 years I have made a lot of them.  The kids love them too, these days we are all into wearing lots of stacked rings. 

In my advanced class they learn to set stones.  Making these little stackables are their favorite things to make.

I have fairly long fingers so I can wear a pretty tall stack.

I can't believe I get paid to play around with resin!

A few years ago I taught a class about incorporating handmade glass elements into metal.  I made the fused glass pieces in our glass shop, then had to come up with different ways of incorporating them with the metal work.

The ring on the left, store bought beads, the one on the right was a left over bead that I found in the glass shop that a kid had  made.  I am always emphasizing design with my students, I am particularly proud of how I integrated the bead with the metal on this one, and it had no soldering involved!

As a bead freak, I knew I had to start incorporating glass beads with my metalwork.  I decided after making a bunch of stuff with this technique, that I am not actually going to let the kids do it.  I am afraid they will crack their beads and hot shards of glass will fly around and hit them in their pretty faces.

The idea on the left the kids can do, because there is no torch needed to incorporate the beads.  The 2 others are really cool because the beads move back and forth and rotate around.

I suspect you believe me when I say I fricken love my day job.  I must add however, part of what makes it so great are the wonderful folks I work with, and yes, believe it or not, TEENAGERS ROCK!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Patti! Do you get an email of this reply? Will you let me know, I have always been curious. Thanks!!

  2. ooooo, me loves the square stacked rings! oxoxo patty2

  3. I am amazed at all of the wonderful things you make!

  4. ahhh, that is very sweet of you, thanks Steve!

  5. I love your rings! I also teach high school students. But, my first passion is making jewelry. I love working with crystals.
    Awesome blog!

  6. I forgot my blog! LOL