Monday, October 4, 2010

A ring a day? You're fired!

     The Florida weather has changed, whew thank goodness. This morning when I stepped out onto the patio it was a pleasant 75 degrees. That's a welcome change from just a few weeks ago when at 6 am the temp out there might have been 85 or higher with the usual 95% humidity. At this mornings temperatures I feel a little bit more like working. This blog is going to take a change of direction for a little while.
     I'm going to be typing about the "good old days." . In the beginning there was a high school art student. He didn't consider himself to be an art student. He just had a permanent pass from study hall to the art room where he spent most of his time casting and fabricating sterling silver jewelery. Time period late 1960's. My principle employment during this time period was a grocery store and the small family farm. There was a fateful decision made during this time period.  The high school guidance counselor said I could be a forest ranger, a teacher or a jeweler. But if I wanted to be a jeweler I would have to become a watch maker. I had no desire to repair watches, none. I became an Art teacher, then a jeweler. I should have realized that the logic of the counselor was flawed. I think I did. These were after all the same people that wouldn't allow me to sing in the choir, because my hair was too long.
     Junior College found me employed as the lighting tech person for the drama department and a serious Art student. Those were the years of my welded sculpture. I spent most of my time back stage or in the Art room.
The next three years found me making jewelery to put myself through college.
    I was a high school Art teacher for a couple of years. I could not imagine doing that for the next 20 years. I loved it and hated it. The next five years were spent in the family business. We sold tools and supplies  to farmers in the northern 1/2 of Iowa. I tripled my teaching income. I purchased much of my studio equipment during this time period.
     This was followed by a five year apprenticeship to a retail jewelery store as a bench jeweler. During this time I also did casting and custom work for the other jewelers in town at home, from my bench. Then I opened my first jewelery store. That store and the experiences from the bench will form the basis for this blog for a while. Those are what I will refer to as the "good old days"
       I've given you a little back ground so that you will understand somethings.  This is not my hobby, I do not do this as therapy. I do not string beads, never have. I do not make spoon rings, never have. I do not make peace symbols, never have. I do not repair watches, I hire people to do that. I do not engrave trophies or plaques. I employ people to do that. I will not put a battery in your watch. Have the clerk at Walmart do that. I do not sell watches. I will shorten your watch band, in the blink of an eye, because it's sort of a piece of magic my hands do. No charge. I consider it my community service. During the good old days I  worked only in gold.
    Because of my background I do not work on one piece at a time. I work on things in batches or groups of five. I produce more work than others for a couple of reasons. I own the necessary tools to work productively and I make very efficient use of my time. Much more on those concepts to come.
    If all I ever got done was one ring a day I would have been fired years ago. This weeks attainable goal is produce 100 pair of earrings among other things. Those are bread and butter items. That will get this blog  started in a new direction.
    Hint for the day.  Do all the easy ones first.  every day!
I still ponder  being a forest ranger. Things just didn't unfold that way.  They won't for this Monarch either.


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