I've reached the point in my jewelry work where I am no longer comfortable teaching myself new techniques. I've taught myself wire wrapping, beadweaving, etching, piercing and cutting metal, and various other things over the years. I've wanted to get into metalsmithing badly for years now, but the fact that I am incredibly accident prone paired with having to use an open flame seemed like a really bad combination. It's not that I am careless. I'm just naturally clumsy, and even when I am being as careful as careful can be I seem to attract injuries like a magnet. Take yesterday, for instance. I was sitting in the break room, reading a book, when a co-worker walked past me swinging a can of soup in her hand. Somehow she managed to whack me squarely in the knee with the can of soup as she walked past me. My bad knee, mind you, the knee that dislocated in 2010 and is only really starting to heal properly. All my care and babying of my knee undone in an instant by an unintentionally well-aimed can of Progresso.
Because of incidents like that I'm pretty certain at times that the universe has it in for me. So again, me + open flames + trying to figure out what the hell I'm doing while unsupervised = bad things bound to happen.
One of the universities in the city I work in offers non-credit courses for a variety of hobbies. This year they're offering metalsmithing classes for a relatively reasonable price, so I went ahead and signed up for the first available class. I will be learning how to make a sterling silver bezel-set ring, and a small copper box. I'm having to overcome my various personal quirks with this class, though. I am a hermit by nature, preferring to hole up in my work room by myself. I tend to avoid other artists and haven't gotten involved in the local scene at all. It's not through any disdain or thinking myself above such things. It's rather a personal nervousness around people and new experiences that keeps me solitary. Right now I'm a swirl of anxiety at the thought of stepping outside of my personal comfort zone, paired with excitement at finally being able to learn a technique I've loved and coveted the knowledge of for years. I collect techniques like a crow collects shiny things, and no sooner do I learn one than my eye turns to something else, some other new fascinating thing that makes my heart pitter-pat a bit faster.
I'll be sure to post progress pictures as I make my venture into metalsmithing. Wish me luck for tonight!