Lifelong learning, generosity and time

One thing that always makes me feel good is to helping other people in whatever way I can . I am especially passionate about creating opportunities for other makers who are starting out on their professional journey. In many cases they are taking what has been a hobby and building it to hopefully become a profitable business venture. In the past few years this has led me to host a number of Artisan markets with an emphasis on quality and individuality to support the standards of new talent as well as coordinating a local group of artists taking part in the Devon Open Studios event.  This year there are six of us in our group but there are 194 others in 200 different venues across the county. Each year that we take part we encourage a new maker to join our group and this year we have Susan Hill, a Mixed Media Artist who uses vintage and antique objects to create childhood and circus themed characters and scenes. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet the public, talk about our art and processes and work alongside other artists for two weeks. We are looking forward to it especially this year as it is our first opportunity to exhibit due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Please visit my events page for all details about Devon Open Studios 2020

Earlier in the year I ran some beginners’ workshops for people who wanted to try jewellery making but had not found it accessible. Amongst those that I’ve worked alongside were two sisters who wanted to create a connected piece of jewellery to celebrate their strong bond as well as several recently retired people who, finding themselves with more time on their hands, wanted to finally act on the desire to have a go at jewellery making.  I do this not just as another way of adding to my business bank account, but equally for the satisfaction I gain nurturing creative growth and the pleasure I gain from facilitating other people’s lifelong learning.

Quite a few years ago, before I gave up teaching in a primary school, Lifelong Learning was the newest focus to be promoted in our school. I remember we all had to present a short talk to the children in an assembly so that they could see that even we teachers (who are supposed to know everything!!) were still learning. Mine was about the struggle that I had had at the dance class I was attending. I was having to learn moves and routines that were totally new to me and I was finding it really hard. I explained that I had to remind myself that practice, perseverance and repetition were essential to overcoming the difficulties I was having. More importantly though had to be the desire to ‘want to learn’ the moves and ‘want to be better’. This is not in a competitive way, but so that ‘I’ could be the best that I could for no one else, but myself.

We are always learning and, in the past, I have been very fortunate to spend time with some really talented and inspirational people. I know without doubt, that the influence of such talented people, their generosity to talk, show and share have positively fed in to my own creative development and just last week, I got to spend time with jeweller Daniel Pike of . Daniel very generously invited me to visit him at his workshop to learn more about sand casting after we got chatting via social media. Sand casting is something that I have done before but only on a very basic level and I wanted to have a go at casting a wax carved piece with more detail and it was proving quite a challenge for me. With Daniel’s support, guidance and determination I was able to pick up lots of tips and techniques to put in to practice in future projects. More importantly though, I am most grateful for his time which was given freely and with an honest desire to help.

Perhaps you have also been able to reciprocate in some small way? I’d love to hear about your experiences if you have.


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