It’s December 20 – I haven’t mailed out my holiday cards, the tree isn’t decorated, and I haven’t baked one cookie. And you know, I’m all right with that. This past year has been a whirlwind, getting the Lab up and running. From an empty room and a lot of scribbling on a notepad, Ame and I created a fully-equipped metals lab that over the last year has hosted 30 classes taught by 6 different teachers. We held 14 open studio events, fielded a team of makers to the San Diego County Fair (winning over a dozen ribbons), developed our student base to over 140 and hosted 3 student sales. We also organized a Shop & Swap tool & materials fundraiser collecting $520 for the Jewish Family Services’ Downtown Migrant Center and we sponsored 4 blood drives, collecting 41 donations.
The last time I was this busy was in 2007, when I was the temporary head of the jewelry/meals department at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC). Just like then, I am immersed in the jewelry/metals field all day long, every day – from keeping up with the newest gadgets at Rio to sharing with students what shows will be happening at the next SNAG to who is teaching what workshops where, it is all metals all the time. And same as in 2007, I absolutely love it! At MPC, I was always conscious of the fact it was a temporary position, that I’d be heading back to my office job, and my time spent in the jewelry world would return to stolen moments on lunch breaks. Even though it was a crazy busy time of my life, I did not want it to ever end.
Today, the first difference is that it doesn’t end! I can stay immersed in the metals world as long as I want. There is no dean telling me when to leave or what to teach. And also importantly, this time I’m not alone. I’ve got Ame! We make a great team, keeping each other in line when our ideas get too crazy, picking up where needed to give each other a break, etc. There is no way I could do this without her, and vice versa.
This first year at the Lab has been full of moments where I felt overwhelmed, but also moments where I saw it was all worth it. It has been inspiring to watch students challenge themselves to create ever more complex and well-crafted work, enter and win their first jewelry competitions, make their first sales, even change the direction of their life after an Anneville workshop. It still amazes me to know that Ame and I helped make all this happen. Who knows what next year will bring!
Educator, metalsmith, jeweler, maker of custom mokume gane jewelry and wedding rings.