I was very fortunate this fall to participate in a metal fold-forming workshop with Master Goldsmith and pioneer in the field of metal fold-forming, Charles Lewton-Brain. The workshop was fascinating not only because we were taken step-by-step through basic metal folding techniques through to much more complex folds, but also because Charles is a veritable fountain of information about jewelry making, the jewelry business, and life in general. In these months following the class, I’ve also found him to be very generous with his advice. I continue daily to draw from what I’ve learned from him.
Maybe one of the most important things I learned from Charles is a tip for how to combat burnout. He suggested that we set aside at least one hour per week simply to do what we love at the bench. This is “play time” and should not be time spent with the goal of meeting a deadline. Moreover, I think his advice pertains to whatever our chosen field may be, whether it is working at the bench as a jeweler, designing at the drafting table, practicing orchestra music (my other professional work), or some other profession.
The concept of spending one hour per week of “play time” in our chosen line of work might seem easy. However, I know from my own experience that the stress of meeting deadlines, fulfilling expectations, and juggling life in general can make that hour evaporate before we’ve seized the time for ourselves.
The Ladies Diamond Watch Rendering, above, was the result of my “play time” at the drafting table this week.