Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Adventures in making jewelry: my first wire wrapping class!

Yesterday was my first wire wrapping class at the Homestead Senior Residence. For the most part, it went pretty well.

I've taught children music before, but I've never taught jewelry or adults, so I wasn't sure what to expect going in. The recreation director explained that the seniors are at many different levels in terms of what they're able to do and I wanted to hold a class where there was something for everyone. I tried my best to do that.

I purchased five sets of supplies, figuring I've have a max of five students. This way, I could give each senior one-on-one attention and keep the class intimate. Six women showed up, though two left before the class was over. Both have arthritis and found it difficult to maneuver the tools and wire. I told them I give them credit for at least trying something new.

The other four ladies and I had a great time making jewelry. Things got off to a rocky start when I discovered that no one had the hand strength to even cut the wire with the snippers. But I simply cut wire for them and then showed them how to make basic shapes. I had them bend the wire into circles, squiggles, etc, just so they could get a feel of using the tools. I then turned their abstract designs into pendants and hung them from cord. One lady made four pieces and was very proud of her wire creations. I loved seeing how happy she was.

After we played with wire for a while, I broke out my huge bag of beads... and the women went nuts. THIS is what they really liked! I showed them how to string beads on the wire and how wire is stronger than necklace cord, so it's great for making things like bracelets. We then all had fun making wire and beaded pieces. One lady explained that they used to have someone who came in for a beading class, but she since had to leave for personal reasons. I promised to show them how to make more wire and beading projects -- like earrings or rings. I was hoping to introduce people to the beauty of simple wire creations, but if beading is what they like, then beading is what we'll do. As I told them, I want this class to be fun, and not a chore.

I love performing for the seniors, but in this setting, I actually got to know a few of the women. One said to me, "I love the way you play the flute, but you really need more 'Oom-pah-pah' when you play." It took me a moment to figure out what she meant and then I realized she meant that I should play with a backing track. My music partner, Judy, has actually told me the same thing, so I assured this woman I'd have backing tracks next time. She then made me promise I'd hold my next class on a Tuesday morning because she could go directly to her hair appointment, which was right next to the rec room. Ha! This particular woman had a lot of personality and was a riot.

I don't know if I'll get to teach these students more complicated wire pieces, but that's fine. As long as I'm doing something with them that they enjoy, I'm happy.

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