One of my greatest assets throughout life has been my mentors! They are more than teachers, because they remain friends. What makes them so special is that they help me to move forward in my skills and thinking. And my journey as a silversmith and metal clay artist continues!
So why blog about mentors here? Well some of my clients have actually expressed interest in finding classes to see if they might like to learn to make jewelry. For others, it’s another way to get to know more about me as the artist.
Where it all started
My grandmother was an award winning couturier. I was not brilliant at sewing, but taught myself to sew and crochet at a young age. She was always encouraging.
When I was just 16 years old, working at my first job in a lab in the hospital, Dr. Wilkes took me under his wing and taught me to read EKGs (electrocardiograms). Every day there was a quiz. And Dr. Fong taught me to write in Chinese. Well the list goes on, but I’ll bring it around to jewelry!
What is Mentorship?
A mentorship is a relationship between two people where the individual with more experience, knowledge and connections is able to pass along what they have learned to the more junior individual within any field.
Traditional Silversmithing Mentors
I want to give a shout out to some people you might want to seek out if you ever decide to explore silversmithing yourself.
Alan Revere is from San Francisco, but I never knew about him when I was there. He retired before I could ever consider studying with him. However, he started Let’s Make Professional Jewelry based on one of his books. It’s a fabulous way to get knowledge and feedback on techniques taught to people who want to improve their skills. Alan focuses on the details. He also stresses that people learn by doing. So by the time you’ve repeated doing a skill several times, your mind and body know what they are doing.
Corkie Bolton created Metalsmith Society, and can be found on Instagram. I love how she teaches tips on how to do things. She is also very gracious about sharing where she gets her gems, etc. It’s so important to know who the ethical folks are out there!
Lucy Walker created Jewellery Metalsmith Academy. Again this is online with challenges and tremendous support. Like Alan, she focuses on details.
Local Silversmithing Mentor
Sticking locally, there is Kelly Allanson Jewellery. She works at Mountain Gems, Burnaby, and teaches. She is kind and patient, and has taught me so much. I’m not sure who else is teaching, but you can’t go wrong with Kelly!
Metal Clay Mentors
Sandra Elizabeth-York is an award winning metal clay artist. She was actually my first metal clay teacher. I still have the pendant I made with her. I didn’t jump into metal clay at that time, but she was the one who planted the seed!
Tracy Spurgin is in England. She is an absolute delight! I have taken many classes from her because she teaches me to push the boundaries and do things others around me aren’t doing. I love this! And, I have many classes with her I still have to do. You can follow Tracy on https://CraftWorx.co.uk She also runs a Workbench Wednesday on Facebook which is a fabulous place to hang out, learn and ask questions.
Rodi Frunze is another award winning metal clay artist, who I now call my friend. I had no idea that we had things in common, as she was a doctor in her life before metal clay.
I love her teaching style and the feedback you receive on your homework. She also provides excellent notes and audio of the class. Rodi is very warm and professional. And now I’m committed to taking even more classes! You can find her on https://MetalClayAdventures.com. A great advantage is that Rodi is local, living right across the pond in Nanaimo, BC.
Vicki Jakes came into my life through a week long Challenge she runs. I was feeling so frustrated with the poor status of my website and knew I needed to make a change. The COVID-19 pandemic had become a reality and I thought the best thing for me to do would be to study with someone who could help me. I didn’t fall into her ideal customer profile, but she fell into my ideal mentor!
Again, she was someone knowledgeable, kind, patient, and a brilliant teacher. I now have another friend, a tremendous support group, and a website I’m so proud of!
Please note, she helps anyone in business. She does not have Your expertise. But, she sure can help you make a dynamite website where you shine.
I continue to learn with her and the fabulous team. She takes scary topics and makes them understandable. You can read her blogs at heyvickijakes.com/blog/. Also, watch for her challenges on Facebook.