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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Metal Together

My mom, my son, and I spent Saturday afternoon focused on silver and guided by the talented artist and teacher Kay Rashka at the Woodson Art Museum. Kay's book, Bead Meets Metal, will perfectly guide beginners like us through the basic and involved projects, but it was a pleasure to learn from a patient, resourceful, and flexible instructor. When faced with restrictions about using butane torches to create the small fine silver beads at the ends of the ear wires for our earrings (in an art museum!), Kay improvised. She eventually set up an assembly line of participants next to a fire exit (with the door propped open by the equally patient museum assistant) and used her more powerful torch to combat the cold air. 

Her work with the class reinforced for me all the things teachers need to consider for successful interactions with students:

* thoughtful preparation of materials (like the tray of tools + chocolates waiting at our tables)
* modeling of procedures
* anticipation of problems and advice for what to do when those occur
* options for tools and tips for how to use them
* acceptance of different learning styles and willingness to revisit a lesson again
* using people's names and getting to know people
* displaying genuine interest in people's accomplishments

Teachers make hundreds of decisions each day to keep students engaged in learning experiences - and many more before and after lessons occur. It was a pleasure to learn to work with silver from someone who is skilled at her craft and at helping other learn it. The bonus, of course, was the pair of earrings I constructed. They look just like I hoped they would!


  1. I see you, three generations, thoroughly enjoyed this well presented workshop!

  2. Thanks I said the 'family that metal smiths together stays together'. Very fun to have your three generations present in class. Hope your son has a wonderful gal to give those earrings to!! Cheers! Kay

  3. You were in Wausau, Wi? Love the way you used the art experience to explain how teachers work their craft. Your earrings are beautiful, with a lovely spiral and soft scroll design.