This isn't a race, but it feels like it some times. And it's not a competition, but it feels like it some times. I'd say I'm about a half to 3/4's of a day behind the top tier of the class...I'll be caught up by tomorrow I'm sure. I'm stuck between a rock and hard place however, in the sense of my peers to the left and right of me. To my left is the girl who drops her ring every five minutes and wonders why she has to continuously re-file her ring. To my right, a guy who seems to think making jewelry involves staring at his bench pin and biting his nails. It's negative energy is what it is. I'm writing it right now, but it bounces back and forth all day long - at least I have Mozart to put me in the dream zone for most of the time. I feel bad comparing myself and my work to those sloer than I am, but it's better than feeling envy of those already on to the next project. My only consolation is knowing that in the future, rushing through a project will not be the key to success. Unfortunately for this class, developing speed for the final bench test is the key. I do feel as though I am getting faster, and I can tell by my instructor's reaction to my work that I am quickly improving towards his standards.
This past Friday, I took a few books out from the GIA library. One was called the Jeweler's Bench Book...about the organizing of benches. Another was The Theory and Practice of Goldsmithing...an 500 page old comprehensive German text translated into English. So, I have been doing a little extra reading, and I think already that it is paying off. I spent the first 5 minutes of today organizing my bench, which impressed my instructor, but mostly made my work more fluid throughout the day. During the weekend I visited an Antique Mall filled with crap, and found a few things to help with my organizing. Ended up gluing an antique tin measuring pitcher to a 99cent wooden base... this contraption now holds my pliers, tweezers and sandpaper, as well as, on the wooded base, the flex shaft attachements in use. Everything is done very systematically at the bench, and if you don't know where everything is the moment you need it than you are seconds or even minutes behind. After today, I realized I may have to order a few things from the supply catalogs....extra split mandrels and various other flex shaft attachments. This way, the moment I think of needing a change in polishing buffs, I can change it 3 seconds later instead of a minute.... I could do this (making jewelry) for 10 hours, but they only give us 7 in a day. To me, an hour lunch break is a waste of time.
I need a beer now...and 9 hours sleep.