Diary of a diploma student: Stepping into the jewellery unknown
This year we are following the progress of Diploma in Creative Jewellery student Julie McKenzie as she aims to make a career change into the world of jewellery. Here she arrives for her first lesson.
When I arrived for my first practical lesson, I was incredibly nervous. Week 1 was the Introduction to Beading.
The module notes, which I received a few days before the lesson, sounded, I thought, quite ambitious and I also have to say a bit terrifying – making earrings including ear wires, tassel necklaces and memory bracelets. In a day! Are you sure?
Well this school is very experienced at teaching complete novices and they absolutely know what is achievable and possible in a day. The London Jewellery School is such a friendly and informal environment, making you feel instantly at ease and therefore relaxed to learn. The other ladies on my Diploma course are lovely too, adding to the relaxed feel of the classes.
Even though it is a very relaxed atmosphere for the students, the whole set up is very professional and very well organised – all the tools and materials had been set up ready for us to use. We already had our course notes before we arrived so we were good to go.
Our tutor for the day was Hayley Kruger, who has been in the jewellery business for many years and as we discovered during the day is an absolutely brilliant tutor. The steps of the module were perfect, with Hayley explaining and demonstrating the techniques we needed to learn. She watched each of us as we began to walk through the steps ourselves. As the class size is small there’s lots of individual help when needed.
By the end of the day we had in fact managed to make not one but two pairs of earrings including ear wires, two necklaces – one with beads and chain, one with tassels and a memory wire bracelet. I was so proud of my achievements and I really felt I had learnt so much in just one day.
The environment and teaching technique really does allow you to learn quickly. You are never made to feel inadequate, even if you do make a bit of a ‘dogs dinner’ of it initially.
It is all about trying it, getting it wrong and learning from it. I love this teaching style – I came away feeling so positive and buzzing to want to do more.
And that is exactly what I did in the following week at home. I continued to practice everything we had been taught and by the end of the week I had perfected my skills to the point of being confident enough to make and WEAR the jewellery I had made.