Over the second week of June, Anne taught her first online class at Anneville Jewelry Lab to an enthusiastic group of 10 students ranging from San Diego to Georgia all the way to Edmonton, Canada. Blazing ahead through the vagaries of technology, Anne guided the students through the creation of a stunning mokume gane bracelet, and the resulting student works were fantastic! Along with the learning we also had a lot of fun seeing each other's home studios and tools. San Diego local Miranda created a gorgeous bracelet using her very basic but ingenious kitchen table set up of masking tape & ballpeen hammer stake proving that you don't need a ton of tools to make cool stuff. Speaking of tools though, check out Mary's uber-cool mandrel! We also got a kick out of guest appearances by Laurie's dog Rusty (great name for a metalsmith's dog-LOL!), Jasper the very fabulous cockatiel and various cats - who unequivocally let us know exactly what they thought of the whole thing. Read on for more photos and Anne's thoughts on the class.
"I knew teaching my first online class wouldn't be easy, so I chose a topic I knew well and had taught many times before, the stamped mokume gane cuff bracelet class. I wanted to make it possible for folks with a minimum of tools to take it, so I re-thought every step of the process and streamlined it to the point where students would not need a torch or even a jeweler's saw. Then I had to figure out what needed to be in the kit, and re-work the lesson plan to work as 3 sessions of 2 hours, instead of an all-day class. Made my brain hurt, but it was worth it!
After all that prep, the actual teaching was a great experience; I felt like I connected with the students and conveyed information just like an in-person class. There were things I even liked better. Usually at the end of this class, folks are rushing like mad to get their bracelet finished. It takes time to do the sanding properly, and everyone works at a different pace. With time short, I have had to shorten demos, and often end up doing some of the final steps to students' bracelets for them, since there isn't time for me to show them how. And everyone wants to leave with a finished object. With this online format, we met for 2 hours 3 times in a week. In each of the units there was time for me to lecture and demo, for students to get some work done, and plenty of time for questions. Then, 48 hours later, I would see all they had accomplished. We talked about how each project was going; it was easy to show the student projects on the screen and give feedback that all could benefit from. As a consequence, the time together felt far more efficient than an in-person class. The students really got their money's worth; I was able to go into more detail than usual, and provide bonus content too. I'm hooked!
Right now I'm planning my next online classes - I know there will be a mokume stamped pendant class (this one will include tips and tricks for soldering with mokume), and I'd also like to re-start my weekly Wednesday morning advanced class. Thinking up topics now; stay tuned!"
Educator, metalsmith, jeweler, maker of custom mokume gane jewelry and wedding rings.