Teenagers are people, too.04 Jun 2010, by Uncategorized in
The start of the Made By Survivors jewelry program at the Women’s Interlink Foundation’s Child Care Home (CCH), brought a small degree of anxiety for me with regards to teaching. I was a little concerned about the fragility of the slavery survivors and if they would like learning to metalsmith. After a week of being with the average 17 year old (there were a smattering of ages from 15 to 24 years old and all the girls ages are just a guess), I was very pleased with their interest, kindness and vibrancy.
When we came to the end of the first project: a brass domed, initial or name-stamped, circle pendant, the room was really starting to have the happy buzz of busyness. As added incentive, I thought it would be cool for the girls to stamp their names, and then, to keep their first piece of jewelry, hopefully, connecting them with the art of metalsmithing. The girls were sanding, sawing, doing layout work, using stamps, using doming blocks, polishing, and, even learning some basic metallurgy. Upon completion of the project, the pendants were lined up to take photos, and as promised, returned to the girls.
After a week, I knew everyone’s name and looking at the survivors’ pendants, I couldn’t match an initialed pendant with the right girl. This occurred to much giggling at my struggle to find some of the pendant’s rightful owners, and, one pendant had gone totally unclaimed. Had I made a mistake and really had everyone’s name wrong? CCH’s House Mother came at the end of the day and told me I couldn’t figure out the initials because almost all the girls stamped their boyfriends’ initials! The unclaimed one was already dated as it had an ex-boyfriend’s initials on it. Right…I am not only teaching survivors of slavery and human trafficking, but, it’s good to remember I am also teaching the garden-variety teenage girl. So, I suppose it is time to invoke my inner teenager and revisit angst, crushes and primping.