In expanding my search of things worth featuring in Handmade Jewelry Club, I have decided to extend the ‘Featured Column’ to also include Beading or Jewelry making teachers and instructors. Great teachers produce great artists, especially those who encourage creativity! For the very first issue, I have invited Pearl of The Beading Gem’s Journal for an interview. She was very kind to have accepted my invitation. Read below for the interview:
How did you get started as a beading teacher?
I first started beading as a hobby. I also like to teach although that is not my profession. It seemed like a good idea to combine the two once the bead addiction took hold! I am convinced there is no cure, no 12-step program to get rid of this affliction. So if you can’t beat it, find a way to finance it!
I now teach beginners at local Design Your Own Jewelry workshops as well as at private beading parties in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I eventually roped in my very good friend Debbie as a fellow instructor at workshops. We thus get to see each other more often!
Share with us your experience as a teacher
I enjoy teaching beading and jewelry design – I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t. The biggest reward is watching faces light up when beginner beaders realise they have succeeded in making something lovely to wear. Many have either never crafted anything before or considered themselves creative.There is a wonderful quotation I came across which exactly captures my experience as a teacher. Joseph Joubert, a French author (1755-1824) once wrote “To teach is to learn twice”. Beginners sometimes surprise me with innovative color combinations and unusual designs I’ve not seen before or thought about. I have come to learn that inexperience is sometimes liberating when it comes to creativity.
Any student you are proud of?
Actually, I am proud of all of them. So much so my blog, The Beading Gem’s Journal was launched initially to showcase their designs. They are so pleased and proud to see their creations online. My blog has grown to encompass much more than that. I now include feature designers who inspire and whose unusual work shows there really is no limit to creative jewelry design. I consider myself still a student as I am constantly learning more about the craft, jewelry and the materials we use. So the blog is also a chronicle of my journey as a jewelry artisan. I share all sorts of tutorials (some are original) and tips as well as information on anything jewelry related so those students and any readers can learn and be entertained at the same time.
What is your advice for those who aspire to be teachers?
Teaching is not for everyone. It takes patience and an ability to understand a student’s perspective to succeed as a teacher. Dealing with student questions and problem solving on the spot are some of the challenges. However, if you can teach and love interacting with people, it is a lot of fun. In our internet age, you don’t even have to face people to teach. Writing online tutorials is a really good way to find out if you are able to break down the tasks and explain the steps clearly for a newbie to follow.
Do you sell your creations?
Yes, I sell jewelry at workshops, beading parties, at craft fairs and more recently online. My beading “sisters” and I recently started our own website called The Bead Sisterhood. The emphasis is always on one of a kind. We have an unusually close working relationship considering we are actually each other’s competitors. But we do make it work as we don’t design the same things and we have found strength in numbers.