So, as you may have read in my last blog...last week was a disaster as far as real work getting done. But I DID turn a dradle, or a top, er, something that resembles one of those things.
It started out two weeks ago when I made a necklace out of a nylon sink part to submit to an Art Jewelry call for submission for harware store jewelry (the piece didn't get accepted, but another did! Thanks folks! Look for their online gallery in the coming month). It had holes in it, so I filled the holes with wool (after dying the nylon piece brown) and felted it before adding some other embellishments. I've been wearing it ever since. It has become one of my favorite new designs. Then I got the itch to make it in other materials. So off to Woodcraft in downtown Seattle. Surely, I could make these out of wood. While there I picked out some beautiful wood and learned the best way to make spheres was on a lathe. I was referred to an instructor who I called immediately.
Mr Jack Wayne was happy to help and we set up a time for a class. Turns out his first project ever was a sphere, so this told me it was meant to be. Often times when I am learning a new skill, I learn just as much about teaching as I do the skill. This was one of those cases.
I was struggling to turn a round form, not giving up, but struggling. It is all about holding the tool at the right angle and I just couldn't get it. Poor guy kept having to resharpen his tools, which I am sure was because I was holding them wrong. I kept thinking it must be like giving someone who has never driven a manual transmission keys to your sports car. It was clear he valued his tools and took good care of them. But he didn't say a word...in fact he even taught me how to resharpen tools (I suspect because he knew I'd be doing a lot of that!)
He was very patient and just kept reloading new pieces of wood on the lathe, gently repositioning my tool and reminding me not to be scared of the loud noises they'd make now and again when I turned at too harsh of an angle.
Then he suggested I try a different tool and BAM...I got it. It reminded me that, as a teacher, sometimes we need to teach students not in the way WE want them do it, but the way THEY need to do it.
Sadly, I forgot to take my last, slightly oval bead off the lathe, but here are my first tries (the two on the right)...and his (the two on the left). He made that sphere in under 2 minutes. He made the top from my most miserable bead. That took him 1 minute.
But with a new rusty old lathe bought from an estate sale (complete with tools)...I am on my way to making a bead!