After three weeks of training with the Jalpaiguri young women in jewelry making, I am so amazed, proud and excited about the new jewelers' progress. Despite their young age, they come to school every day ready to work, and with their drawing books filled with sophisticated designs.
They help each other with loading sawblades, drilling, and frequently share designs. Although they get tired after polishing metal and sawing all day, they are always reluctant to clean up and will continue work on their projects until the very last second. I wish I could take credit for their beautiful work, but after 5 years of teaching jewelry, i quickly recognized an abundance of natural talent in these young women, and realized that i am just a catalyst. In between training and assigned projects, they are encouraged to fabricate their own designs. This is my favorite part of teaching, as it is when they grow as artists.
Many of their designs are personal, such as a remembrance of a family member, or inspired by their love of India. As we work out the details, I use each personal project as an opportunity to teach new jewelry theory or technique and have so much fun in the process. These jewelers-in-training are like sponges, soaking up information as fast as I can speak. They are so proud of their work and often give it as gifts to their fav 'auntie'.
During this trip, I have additionally been inspired by the staff of MBS. While planning for the group and the upcoming production, they are simultaneously thinking of the needs of each individual girl and how best to help her achieve her dreams. This personal care and attention to the physical and emotional health of each girl, combined with my joy of teaching these talented young women, is what motivates me to return year after year as a jewelry trainer.