Even in the midst of “screen fatigue” I continue to be amazed at our increasing ability to be in so many places at once. I can’t add, “and all from the comfort of home,” with so many people displaced or under threat of evacuation right now. Just when many of us got used to spending more time at home, others have lost that luxury, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by all the disasters. While some folks are feeling stir crazy, none of us can take a safe place for granted, especially when we can bop around the ever shrinking and borderless world via Zoom.
Here in captivity, we’ve been re-watching one of our favorite Britcoms, “Waiting for God” about the antics of residents-run-amok in a retirement home in the English countryside. One of the main characters loves to pretend he’s daft by spending long afternoons staring off into space in a semi-catatonic stance, after which declaring he’s been climbing Mount Everest again with Sir Edmund Hillary and Bridgette Bardot. The show’s running joke question, “Where’s Tom off to now?” has taken on all new meaning while we travel without leaving home.
In addition to my own online classes, I’m currently in a calligraphic course on ampersands and archaic ligatures (just in case you were worried I’d lost my Geek Card) at Ardington Academy in Oxfordshire, taught by Gemma Black in her studio in Tasmania. This all happens at 5:00 am EDT on Mondays, so frankly, I’m asleep and not really “at” the class until Saturday afternoons when I have time to ink ‘et,’ ‘ET,’ and ‘&’ in all their glorious ornamentation at a civilized hour. It’s fun to remind my husband on Sunday nights, however, that I’ll be in Tasmania via the UK in the morning just to watch him do that dog head tilt thing.
I’m accustomed to having students from all over the world in my workshops and master classes, but having people from three continents in the Brady Bunch view for my 3-D Filigree online class is a delight and a trip. (Yes, horrible pun. Forgive me!) There are so many current conversations about teaching metalsmithing online. It’s funny to me how new this concept is for our field compared with drawing and painting, though even as a veteran distance teacher via my videos, the rules of the game have expanded to mind boggling status. The amount of prep work for my online classes is twenty times that of an in-person class, but I love that I can show so infinitely much more about my design process and how I go from complex concept and rough sketch to M.C. Escher and Möbius strip like filigree structures. Never could I drag all those sketchbooks and paper models on my travels, but in 4K they tell quite a story.
Speaking of the travel-learning-in-jammies phenomenon, I’m super proud to sponsor the Virtual Makers Symposium hosted by Metalwerx, an amazing teaching studio in Waltham, Massachusetts. I’ve never been able to attend their normally in-person annual event Marketplace, so I’m jazzed about hanging with friends and watching them share their incredible skills, while I hang out with our Sheltie puppies. If you’re a metal person, I highly recommend signing up for this event. You can watch live or time shift and have access to the recordings.
This summer I was honored to be asked to serve on Metalwerx’s Board of Directors, something to which I didn’t have to think twice about saying yes. The school has long been one of my favorite places to teach, not only because of its stellar program, facilities, and people, but also because it is one of the most functional and well run non profit arts organizations I’ve ever worked with in my lifetime of interaction with arts non-profs. It is truly thrilling to work together with smart people committed to a common goal that is bigger than any of us and help keep metals education alive and well and now online.
…And in other news, I was excited a couple of weeks ago to get me in my inbox via Rio Grande. Rio has launched all of their Video on Demand learning options, including my videos. I’m in fantastic company here too, so, if you’re ready to level up your skill set, or you’ve ever been curious about how people like me do what we do, click the image.