My Joy of Teaching

True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.
— Nikos Kazantzakis

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sharing what I know about soldering with Linda, a warm and wonderful soul from Tennessee. 

She was the last student in my studio, and I am so excited for her as she starts out her own journey with shaping metal into wearable art. 

I remember when I first learned how to solder. Years ago, Mary Helen, my studio partner in Chattanooga, and I bought a propane plumber's torch with a huge head from the local hardware store. We went down into the basement of the old bank building where our studio was located, and found Pops-- a big and burly man, who was the building's handyman. 

Pops walked us through the process of attaching the gas canister to the torch head and how to light the thing. Then we proceeded upstairs to our space and promptly began our experimentation into soldering. Back then, there weren't as many videos and books available to the novice metal manglers as there are now, and we were pretty much on our own to learn the finesse required when applying lots of heat to metal and hoping for something exciting to happen. 

It helps to have a buddy when learning something new. I hemmed and hawed for months before I was brave enough to give it a go. And I was talked into it by Mary Helen, a fearless artist turned compassionate healer, not having the confidence to approach it on my own at that stage of my artistic development. 

Every time I share what I have learned with someone, I grow so much within the interaction itself.  Teaching forces you to slow down, and appreciate what you already know. In the slowing down, a space opens up within you that allows wonder and awe to enter again. I love that's the feeling that drove me to explore making metal jewelry in the first place.

Over the past year, I opened up my studio to those that needed a short term buddy to witness their growth and understanding of the medium. We didn't really work too much on a take home project during these one-on-one interludes into the practical application of tools and supplies. It really was more of a confidence booster, a try-before-you buy sort of experience. 

I really loved it. 

Monica, another student that came in, allowed me to witness her ideas about combining metal with wood.  I know metal, and she knows wood. It was a fantastic collaborative experience that allowed me to learn something brand new to me. She was already on her way to great things artistically, but needed a little help to get her idea actualized. 

I like being that chirpy bird that is hanging out just outside of the nest yelling, "Jump! Flap your wings! The weather is fine out here!" to those that are ready to leap out into the great unknown. 

I see that more as my role rather than doing videos and such. I was approached by a company that wanted me to do videos this year and at first, I was gung-ho and excited for the 'opportunity'. But after a few weeks into the project, I changed my mind and declined.

I pulled the plug on that because I want to share physical space with those that need a push out of their comfort zone. That was a big realization for me...and although I know it would have been a nice 'feather in my cap', I'd rather keep flapping my wings to my own beat.  Besides, since I was true to myself, my bowing out opened up a space for someone else that was truly aligned to expressing themselves in that particular way. 

Win-win, and that teaching energy spreads out in the correct way for all those involved. 

My tag line has changed to Be...Who You Are. From here on out, I will be exploring just what that means in relation to my evolution as an artist and person.  Knowing that I need to share physical space with those that I chirp to about making jewelry was one important realization that I made this year about my own next steps. 

I have no idea how this will end up playing out. Maybe it means I will start applying for teaching opportunities around the country or try and teach out of my next studio on a small scale. I've no idea...but I'm excited about the possibilities and how it will all unfold. 

Now that Shayne and I will have a reliable and fixed place to rest our heads, planning for things becomes a lot easier.  Another perk to having a home. 

I want to close out with these nice words from my last student...and to say thank you to all those that came through our studio door this year. You all taught me so much...and I am so happy that you found your own wings and are flying around, making beautiful things that come from your own experiences and heart space. That is what I want most for those that cross my path...

Be....who you are. 

I recently had the privilege of taking a private lesson with Stacie at her Asheville, NC studio. Living in Knoxville, TN and having recently retired I knew that I wanted to follow my dream of creating art jewelry. After an extensive research of private metalsmith teachers in my area to no avail I happened upon the website of Stacie Florer. I was instantly impressed and could feel her passion for the art and teaching. She phoned me promptly after an email inquiry and we had a wonderful discussion about my goals and the techniques that I was particularly interested in. After talking with her I instantly felt a connection and new since of energy.

The day of my class finally arrived. I was so anxious and a little nervous. The moment we met all of my nerves were calmed. She just beams with personality and a since of calmness. She had already organized materials, supplies and equipment prior to the lesson. She talked about the importance of setting a calm work environment and more importantly working safely. She explained and demonstrated each technique in a clear and concise manner making sure I understood before moving on. When I got frustrated and my hands wouldn’t do what they were supposed to she calmly would show me how to tweak my technique to make it easier. The lesson went by so quickly and I didn’t want it to end. I truly had one of the best days and left so full of renewed energy and excitement. I knew with confidence that I could take what I learned that day and start creating. Stacie makes all the class notes so you only have to concentrate on learning. The next day I received an email with a comprehensive list of all of the techniques I learned, tools and equipment used and list of vendors.

It is clear that Stacie has not only the artistic talent but a passion for teaching others. I can’t wait until I need another lesson even if it does mean driving a little further to Roanoke.
— Linda Reed, Knoxville, TN

Finally, a home to call our own.

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
— Edith Sitwell
Basket by Diane McEachen, Asheville, NC

Basket by Diane McEachen, Asheville, NC

Shayne and I are busily packing up what little we have left after tens of moves over the past 10 years. 

We close on our new home on Tuesday and we are over the moon excited about this next stage in our life. 

I have friends and family scheduled to visit us all the way through the holiday season, and will most likely not be setting up my studio for quite some time. 

I want to take my time to feather my new nest this winter, and spend some much needed time with Shayne and Sadie. I've been absent this last year working hard in the River Arts District, chasing a dream about being a full-time artist in Asheville.

My studio was my home this year. I learned a lot about myself having a public studio and I came to the conclusion that I need to work alone, and that was really surprising to me. 

If you have ever met me in person, I hope you know that I LOVE people. I love sharing whatever I can with whomever is interested. I loved my studio partner Jessica. She's the little sister I never had, and she is so smart and talented as an artist, that I was just in awe of her energy and her ideas. 

But when it comes to my own creative need to express my ideas and life in metal, I need to be alone. My process requires aloneness, and that was hard to find with a studio open to the public.  I was usually too exhausted to apply my creative focus on my work after interacting with all the amazing people that came into our space, and my production and design work suffered for it. 

And about 6 months ago, Shayne and I came to the painful conclusion that Asheville wasn't right for us. We wanted it to be right. So much so that we were heartbroken when a conversation happened up on the Parkway that revealed it wasn't right for us. We both knew it, but had avoided talking about it. We wanted those feelings to go away..hoping for an unspoken but wished for miracle that would change our feelings about it. 

But it never happened. 

So, we bought a house somewhere we have never been. Crazy, right? 

After all this roaming around, for years, YEARS, we end up someplace that was never on our radar, never interested us before, and here we are. 

A home finally to call our own. A place where friends and family can come and stay comfortably ( we have 2 guest bedrooms!) and where Shayne and I will have plenty of room to spread out and work on our passions. 

I am so ready and so open to the big shift that is about to occur. I am also excited about being alone again with my work and I want to write more here, too. I have been spending my non-packing time sprucing things up around here, and I've opened a new account on Instagram specifically for my jewelry world. 

We move in our new home next week. As soon as I can, I will share pictures of the new place, and will be doing a lot of DIY type posts as I shift into this new way of living...permanency is so foreign to us as it relates to a home. 

But we are so ready...have a great week, and I will be updating my Instagram feed as this week goes on with some thoughts about the designs that I did come up with this last year. Lots of seeds were planted in that lovely studio in the River Arts District, and now its time to nurture them and see where they root. 







A co-creative friendship

Real friendship or love is not manufactured or achieved by an act of will or intention. Friendship is always an act of recognition.
— John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

I received a text yesterday from Jessica, "it seems so weird that you aren't in the studio anymore," as I had packed up everything on Saturday, and am no longer there.

It is weird. All day yesterday I had to fight the urge to run to the studio to work out a new design that is percolating just under the surface.

I have no place to go right now, other than here and within.

In my life's journeying, I alternate from being so deeply involved with life that I don't have time to process it until I step out of it.

Then I enter a period of reflection and quietly internalize the experiences I have had so that I can continue to carry the lessons and the insights with me into my next immersive experience.

Sometimes the immersion lasts a couple of years, other time a few months, but the process is the same.  

One of the great things about having a lot of years behind you is you begin to see your personal patterns. 

This happens to be mine.

The last year has been incredible for so many reasons, and I will slowly unpack them here as I enter my reflection time. 

Today I want to give thanks, though, for a deep sister-friendship that was born here in this creative sanctuary that we both built. 

We merged our visions together and built a space that recognized and appreciated our differences and valued our similarities as a bridge to a deep friendship.

Our jewelry styles are so radically different, but we both were able to take our differences and learn and grow from what came easily for the other.  

It was heaven. I am grateful and I will miss my friend as we both head in different directions with our lives as well as with our creative output. 

But as with all great friendships, we don't have to be in the same physical space to continue our growth and share in our triumphs. 

There is texting and travel!

This pendant was from our first class project where we combined our styles into one piece. It really says it all, doesn't it?

Love binds us all together. 

We are love. We just have to get out of our own way and BE who we are. 

The rest takes care of itself. 

Statement Bohemian Hoops

Space has always been the spiritual dimension of architecture. It is not the physical statement of the structure so much as what it contains that moves us.
— Arthur Erickson

The space that is contained by the structure is what interested me the most when I designed these statement making Bohemian hoops.

I made them for a particular event, a woman's conference in Black Mountain. I wanted to wear them while I was in communion with women from around the country, discussing useful and healing herbal remedies made from the plants right here in Appalachia. 

There are so many facets to each of us that makes us singularly unique. Our containers (bodies) come in different shapes, sizes and configurations, but at the heart of us, as women, we want peace, balance and calm....and patience is the vehicle to obtain these aspects of living for ourselves. 

Amethyst is a great balancing stone that also happens to protect travelers and wanderers. I have wandered around our planet for my entire adult life, which is roughly 30 years. Flexibility and the ability to hold space for others around me when needed have been the defining hallmarks of my own physical journeying. 

I love wearing this design. I made two for me and one for whomever feels called to these earrings as I was in the making of them. 

Jessica had some rough cut, but polished amethyst chunks of purple goodness that I bought from her own collection. I love how unusual these stones are and how natural they look with these earrings.

The hoops are textured to show the yin/yang side of us as women.  I wanted to show that living as a balanced human being allows for our particular strengths and weaknesses to play off of each other. Timing is everything as it relates when to show strength or weakness. Each quality is necessary under the correct conditions. 

For you jewelry makers out there, I used brass and sterling silver to make these hoops, and as you can see, there is no line of solder showing on the brass...

I used 10K gold solder for the joins and it works beautifully when soldering brass!

I love wearing my long, shoulder dusting hoops, especially when I have my Outback hat on when its raining or when I decide to put my hair up. They swing and tinkle and allow me to experience the feeling of femininity with a sense of pure power as I go about my day.

The pair pictured are available in my Etsy shop for $145.00. You can go there to get the measurement details and see them close up.

I will be highlighting the jewelry I have available now in my shop and the stories behind their creations over then next few weeks here. I have packed up and closed my studio, and I most likely will not be fabricating any new jewelry for a while, perhaps even for the rest of the year. 

As you know, Shayne and I are radically changing our Bohemian ways and are trying to purchase a home. I will also be updating about our change of address as things change. 



We are relocating to Roanoke, Virginia!

I've announced on Instagram that Shayne and I are moving to Roanoke, Virginia but haven't been able to write about the journey of getting to our new home in much detail.

I've been reluctant. 

Shayne and I decided about 4 months ago that Asheville wasn't going to be where we buy a home, and for the first couple of months, I was pretty heartbroken about our conclusion after living here for a year. 

We came back to this part of the country after moving back home to Arkansas, and we were so sure in our decision that Asheville would be our final move. 

But here I am, writing again to announce we are moving, hopefully, next month.

I can share that we have put in an offer on a house, and it was accepted. We are in the middle of the purchasing process now, and if everything happens on time, we will be in our new home around the middle of November. 

I am wrapping up my life here in North Carolina now, and am looking forward to this next stage of my life. 

I'm about to be a homeowner in a city that I really know nothing about, other than it is on the Parkway and the people that I have met so far in our numerous trips to Roanoke have been super. 

I'm trusting that everything is as it should be.

Life really is about change, isn't it?

I am going to be listing jewelry in my shop that I have available for immediate shipment over the next few days, and will begin the process of moving out of my studio in the River Arts District.

So, my made to order line will be taken off-line.

I won't be making any new jewelry probably until sometime in December. I have had such an amazing experience being a working artist in one of the hottest art districts in the country. It was a dream come true, but dreams have a tendency to morph into other things with a flicker of an eye. 

I am so grateful to have had this year to really immerse myself into running a retail shop, along with sharing my working life with Jessica as a studio partner. I know that my time here was essential to my own creative next steps, as well as developing strong friendships with some the people that will continue to call Asheville home. 

I know on a deep level that I was where I needed to be this year...the insights into where I want to go with my creative life moving forward have been profound because of it. 

My plan is to have a home studio again, and that is about as far as I've gotten in the planning stages.  I haven't had a 'home of my own' in over 10 years. There will be some huge adjustments to make, and I am going to take the end of this year to make the transition from living in small, cramped quarters to significantly more space. 

If all goes according to Hoyle, as my beloved grandmother was fond of saying, I will have a rather large home studio, with plenty of room for expansion into other creative directions that have been tapping me on the shoulder.  

I will also have more time to show up here and write. For the last year, working long days led to short nights filled with dinner and time spent with Shayne. I had a hard time finding the few hours necessary weekly to write the way I long to again. I want to create some new tutorials to share, and start building up my online home again. 

One thing I know I want to pursue more of is sharing what I know in a classroom sort of way. I had an amazing one-on-one jewelry session in my studio over the weekend, and it rekindled my passion for teaching. I am not quite sure what that is going to look like, but I feel like it is definitely on the horizon. 

The handmade jewelry world is a small one, and it is definitely changing. I need to figure out what my place in it will be moving forward. I've learned so much this year about how I want to express my ideas in metal, what it will take and in what direction I want to move toward. Some of this discovery process has been very surprising. Unexpected. It has required me to ask some tough questions and be open enough to receive the answers that I might not have wanted to hear. 

But there is always difficulty in the beginning of things. That I know and accept. This difficulty is something that I have been working with very intimately over the last 10 years or so, and I fully understand that for me, choppy waters always come before the smooth sailing.

I am excited about this next well as sad about the chapter that is closing. But that's how it is with our life's journeying. One thing leads to the other, and we have to trust that at the end, a beautiful book will have been written that will have been worth it. 

I trust that mine will be... 

P.S. After a couple of months of being Facebook free, I decided to re-open my Stacie Florer Jewelry Facebook page. I have a personal account, but I am only using it so that I can have a business account. My personal account isn't active. I love Instagram, and prefer to update there, but I understand that not everyone has the phone that allows for an Instagram account. So...I will be updating my FB page too. As of now, I think I only have 1 FB like :) and Sally, thank you! Actually, it's sort of nice to be starting there again fresh...fresh starts are always quite nice! XO!








I don't have a creative bone in my body

Some new earrings I am working on for my 'Articulation' series...

Some new earrings I am working on for my 'Articulation' series...

About 10 years ago, I felt a longing to express myself via personal adornment that I couldn't shake. It started out by searching for jewelry and clothing that best expressed how I wanted to present myself to the world. I collected art jewelry...knowing on some deep inner level that it was important for me spiritually to try and individuate from the mass produced and heart-less commercialized ideas about what it meant to be wholly human. 

There was another feeling that I couldn't shake that my searching couldn't buy... and that was the fulfillment of my own creative potential. It was a palpable longing that I was able to identify with crystal clear clarity after some serious inner inquiry. I was 37 at the time...and had to personally battle the ideas that it was too late for me to begin to earnestly pursue art-making. 

That was the hardest part of becoming creative on myself permission to start where I was at. 

Fortunately, I had a friend that was 10 years older than me at the time...where I am now, and she started painting for the first time, ever. Her entry into 2-D art-making was via her love of photography. She bought a digital camera and started shooting scenes that moved her as she traveled through her day. She used her photos as a starting place to paint by using them as her subject matter. Eventually, she rented studio space and set up her environment to paint professionally.  Her studio cradled her emerging artist-self by providing her with the space needed to grow with her inner intention to do so. 

She wins awards now for her work...she threw herself into showing up and doing the work necessary to peel away the shit she wasn't; had never been, really-- and like the Phoenix rising from the ashes of its previous self, she is a thriving artist today. 

At least a few times a week, as people come through the studio, I hear someone express to me that they just don't have a creative bone in their body.

I have to restrain myself, usually, from going down 'that' road with them. 

But if I had all the space to share with them what I have learned, and if they really wanted to change that belief, this is what I would say...

If you have a body, you are inherently creative. To be alive is to be creative. You create the home environment, the work environment and the social environment that you currently experience your life's moments through. If you are alive, you are creative. Your bones, your muscles, your mind, personality and your soul all work together to create the life you are living, right now. 

The only difference between you and me is that I understand that I am responsible for my life and you most likely don't. If you don't know that you are the one creating the life you live, than you are, and will continue to be, a victim of your own thoughts and beliefs, and your life will surely reflect that back to you, over and over again. 

I am in the process of house hunting.  A house has segregated areas...the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, the bathroom and the bedrooms. It's designed, creatively, to support those particular functions of life. I am looking for home that has an art/spiritual room too.

You have to make space for that which you want to experience; or at least, get yourself to a particular place in space in order to have that experience. 

You will never experience sky diving until you step on a plane and strap on a parachute. To have a sky-diving experience, you have to get to the sky and be willing to throw yourself out into immense space.

You won't experience art-making unless you make a space for it in your life. When people have babies, they don't put the cradle in the bathroom. It's not an appropriate space to care for a baby, right? 

They create a space for the baby to support the baby's needs, as well as the parents. Generally this is called a nursery or the baby's room.

We all create space for what we value. We may also create a lot of space for things that we don't value because we refuse to take responsibility for what we truly desire in our life. 

I have created space for my jewelry-making in every place we have lived over the last 10 years. It was always a priority. I made my living arrangement decisions with it as a priority.

I also make showing up in that space a priority. It takes discipline and time to make art. You have to show up for a few years committed to making shitty art before you will ever start making good art. Or art that is reflective of that which you feel is good and true and authentic. 

Like life...your art evolves. 

Babies learn how to speak one word at a time. They don't even start making that much sense for YEARS. It's the same with art-making. It takes YEARS to start stringing together ideas and concepts combined with skills and technical processes. my hypothetical conversation with those that Don't Have a Creative Bone in the Their Body, it boils down to this:

  • If you are alive, you are creative
  • Take responsibility for your thoughts and beliefs
  • Intentionally make the space in your life to experience what you desire
  • Show up. 
  • Show up even when the stars and moon aren't in perfect alignment and the house isn't clean
  • Invest in and learn the technical skills to pull off your particular form of self-expression
  • Play with your medium. Repeat over and over until something emerges that you like. 
  • Drill down what that something is that you like and explore it from every angle that you can think of. 
  • Keep doing this process over and over for the rest of your life and extract every ounce of joy you can each time you intentionally show up in your space/place. xo...