Yesterday, the 3rd day of class, I found myself getting a wee bit stressed. Though my technique is coming along, and my work is all well & good; I am not as speedy as the speediest of my class. We spent the first two days working on one ring, and yesterday, only one day on another ring. As of yet, I have come close to, but have not finished the rings. By finishing I mean getting the silver to the point where no file marks can be seen, and then taking it to the polishing machines to create that mirror finish I oh so much desire to see. At the same time, I can compliment myself in that each day my work and speed is certainly progressing. Yesterday, I dove right into that ring, got hold of my focus, sawed off the sprue, and was most likely the first to have the sprue filed down to the shank. But then came the filing, which for some reason I don't feel I have fully grasped the art of. One thing I hope will help is that my instructors are going to raise my bench on 2x4s. Because of my 6'5" height, I am not at the most comfortable position at my bench, and therefore am not able to see my work at it's most optimum level.
My instructor, Doug is his name, can see that I am frustrated. He sees that I am passionate, ambitious, and have the desire. He assures me that on the 3rd day, I am not expected to be perfect at this craft. Even those who have hit the polish machines - their rings are still not complete. Perhaps, my slowness as of now (these are my thoughts) is due to desiring perfection before I polish. Whereas everyone else has gone to the polish wheels, only to discover they have more filing to do.
At the beginning of lunch, I spoke to my instructor Doug, who told me of a book he's reading called Outliars by Malcom Gladwell. Doug explained that the book discusses how those who are successful, became so for many reasons, but mostly for the time they spent working on their "craft." 10,000 Hours!! Doug continues to assure me that he has been working as a jeweler for over 30 years, and I should not expect much from myself after 3 days. So, I'd say I have about 21 hours under my belt. That leaves 9,979 hours to go. 9,979 hours before I can say I'm good. I do have to pick up my speed though. Back in the days of beading, if it took a whole 60 seconds to put a 2mm bead on a thread, I was at least happy I got it on (that's a little extreme) but now I have to pick up the pace. In the future I will have to take a timed bench test....must keep that in mind.
The past two evenings, I have gone out for a couple beers with whom appear to be my friends for this stage of the journey, Matt and Jeff. Together, we push each other to success, and our conversations of gems and jewelry excite our dreams for tomorrow and the future. Each of us has come a long way through life. We recognize that this is our time to truly grow.
In 15 minutes I will grow some more....off to class.