It’s always gratifying to see one’s name in print or hear it said on air. It’s even better if what is printed or said makes things better for other people.
I’ve been fortunate this fall to be quoted in two radically different formats, on two completely different topics that are both near and dear to my heart.
I was interviewed by Sharon Elaine Thompson for her recent article on studio apprentices in Jewelry Artist Lapidary Journal magazine’s September/October issue. Sharon’s article was marvelously in depth and provides a fresh look at the benefits of having apprentices.
Apprenticeships are a vital part of the lineage in art and craft. They are a chance to learn from the day-to-day operations of making art beyond what can be taught in a class. My friend Nanz Aalund recently wrote a book on the subject of jewelry apprenticeships, which was also featured in the article.
Because I love solitude in the studio, taking on apprentices is something I do only occasionally. Traveling and teaching takes a very extreme kind of extroversion that I have to balance with introvert time. When I do have apprentices/interns though, I give it my all to make it worth their being here.
It breaks my heart when I hear stories of people who are eager to learn being turned down because some insecure person “doesn’t want all their secrets stolen.” In this day and age, no one is self taught. Even if one learns by trial and error, s/he has read books and magazines, and stalked YouTube or taken video courses. However we’re trained, if we’re any good, we all come up with better mousetraps and more efficient ways of making. True uniqueness and remarkableness lie in design as much as in process, so sharing secrets shouldn’t be such a big deal. We learn by generosity.
And speaking of learning, occasionally I listen to podcasts in the studio. One of my most favorite is Seth Godin’s Akimbo podcast. Seth has a skill and talent for connecting the dots of big pictures like few other people alive today. I read his blog most mornings before I get out of bed…well out of bed the second time…after I take our Sheltie puppies outside at o-bark-thirty…it’s like having a baby all over again…
Last month Seth published a podcast that absolutely nailed a topic I’ve struggled with for years: What It’s Like to Be a Professional While Not Being a White Male. The episode Benefit of the Doubt is well worth a listen because he describes why it is vital to our economy (and our morality) to give people the benefit of the doubt when they don’t fit the gender or racial stereotype for a particular profession.
Seth invites listeners to record questions about his podcasts, one of which gets aired and answered in the next episode. At the end of Seth’s Akimbo episode entitled The Perils of Mind Reading is my recorded question about The Benefit of the Doubt (18:42). He described my question as “really juicy” and riffed on a smart practical answer for 8 minutes. Color me overjoyed! You can hear it here.
I was so thrilled at having my question included and answered that I forgot to obsess about how I sound!
And on that note, I leave you with another truly brilliant thinker, Marsha Shandur’s recent keynote address at the penultimate World Domination Summit in Portland. Because no matter how good we get, most of us still have a ‘beast’ that needs to remove a few of its tentacles from our creative brains.
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