Day 1 of the engraving and stone setting class was eventful. I learned to set up the GRS GraverMach AT system and get my first gravers shaped and polished to start the training. The instructor, Todd Daniels, is fabulous. He has tons of great tips and technique. He came around the classroom and visited each student one-by-one to see how we're getting along and offered up individual suggestions to help us establish our graving style.
I have to say, the shaping, sharpening and polishing of the gravers is a bit challenging for a newbie like me, but I was able to get through it. Although, I have to say I was the first student of the week to be used as a "what not to do" example when it came to the shaping of the 90 degree graver - go figure! I'm always in such a hurry to do stuff, so I got a bit ahead of myself... Of course, this caused a major error and I ended up having to use the teacher's graver because mine was too far gone. Sure, Todd fixed it for his use in about 2.5 seconds, but for me to have to correct it probably would have taken awhile with lots of cussing and frustration!
In any event, I was able to get cutting my practice plates and was astonished at how much hand-eye coordination I still don't have. To add a little insult to the bad coordination, my foot didn't want to participate in the graving at all. Luckily, our setup allows for palm control, so Todd graciously switched my hand piece over and I had much more success. My lines are still too deep and aggressive, but I'm working on that today.
It occurred to me, once again, I seem to choose activities and techniques to test my ability to be patient. Over and over I'm reminded to stop, slow down and concentrate on being patient with myself to achieve the desired results. I know this is the Universe speaking to me about my constitution and I really need to take a moment to listen and react accordingly. So, today's agenda is less about graving and more about observing and practicing patience so my cuts are more successful.
One really great thing so far is the diversity of the students in my class. We have a young man about 15 or 16 learning with his jeweler-dad, a jeweler from South Africa and a handful of other really talented jewelers from all over the country. I have a fellow NC resident who has been a jeweler for 30 years out of North Wilkesboro and folks from Washington, Wisconsin, Arizona and even Canada. We truly are an international group of folks! So much fun.
At about hour 6, I found myself looking at the clock... Not because I was bored, but because I think my mind was a little overloaded with trying to create those new neural pathways for graving. Plus, this is the first time I've had any professional instruction in many years, so I think my brain just wanted to stop. I spent the last couple of hours really observing and concentrating on every little thing Todd gave. He truly is one of those teachers that really wants you to be successful and is always willing to dole out pieces of wisdom and share his experience.
The day ended with a wonderful BBQ rib dinner from Bobby D's BBQ down the street from my bed and breakfast. Wonderful hometown hospitality, friendly staff and of course, excellent St. Louis-style pork ribs. I tried something new, too! I had "cheesy potatoes" as my side instead of my go-to potato salad and they were wonderfully cheesy. Finally, I tuned my iPad to Netflix and watched a couple of episodes of The Killing and then drifted to sleep somewhere around 11pm. It was a long day, but so much fun.
Now, on to the next day's festivities!