A Teacher’s Gift
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Albert Einstein
During our lives, if we are fortunate, we encounter teachers who open the doors to new pathways of inspiration, knowledge and understanding. Our education does not end at the closure of school. These lessons can come in at different times in our lives, in different shapes, places and from unexpected teachers.
My husband and silversmith Ron has a close friend, Bob Valpey, now 83, who has been a mentor for him for over 44 years. He met him in 1974 and through the years has benefitted from Bob’s quiet example of what it means to be fair, have integrity, the value of a strong work ethic, and the importance of family. Bob is also a talented silversmith and three years ago, invited Ron to learn the art of Silversmithing. He opened a door of artistic exploration, which has taken Ron on a whole new journey in the art of jewelry making which can be seen in our Silverstone Collection.
Labradorite Mountain https://dev.dreamscapejewelry.com/index.php/jewelry/silverstone-collection/labradorite-mountain
One lesson that changed my life in an unexpected way was from a small child in my first grade class. I integrated the arts throughout my daily lessons and was continually encouraging the children, reminding them “they were all artists.” I would write, sing, be dramatic and even dance with them, but avoided putting anything involving art on paper. The children were always asking me to “paint with them”. I gave reasons why not, but not the truth, which was I had no confidence as a painter. I had grown up with an “artist” cousin, got a C in art from a teacher, who judged every child against the talent of Norman Rockwell, and was a high-achiever at heart, so did not want to fail.
One October day, we had a guest teacher in the room, so my students convinced me to “do art” with them. Vivaldi was playing on the cd player, the children were exploring Vassily Kandinsky’s style of the bold color and lines in abstract art, and there was no “right or wrong” in the outcomes. My students pulled out paper, paints, and made space for me. Within a few minutes, I found myself enjoying the process of “playing” with colors and textures. But the true moment of enlightenment came when 6-year old Jenna, tapped me on the shoulder. I looked up at her and she quietly said, You see Mrs. O……you are an artist too.
I realized at that moment, that it wasn’t enough to say the words, “I am an artist.” I would have to be, as Indira Ghandi said, “the change I wish to see.” Over the years since that day, I opened up myself to the joy and playfulness of being an artist, through gardening, watercolors, photography, writing and finally 10 years ago, jewelry making. I learned from a small child, to believe and trust in my own creativity, to take a chance, spread my wings, and say with certainty, “I am an artist too.”
Spread Your Wings-Loon on East Grand Lake-July 2018