Ricky Frank's " Creative Jewelry Artists" An online community created to help you go "beyond technique" and explore your "Inner Artist"
Why have I created this?
I want you to achieve your enamel dreams and goals. This is very difficult for the many students who do not have an art background. I can emphasize because I entered the enameling word with ZERO art experience. I picked up and mastered techniques very quickly and was able to create beautiful clear colors with my enamels but I knew something was missing and I didn't know what it was or how to change it. I didn't know that it was ME that needed to change. I needed to change my mindset and self image. I needed to find a new creative process and I needed to search within myself to find the expression I wanted in my enamel pieces. Through a series of very fortunate experiences, I was able to find a "safe place" to learn and challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone. I found a home where I could begin and feel supported as I began my transformation. But that's another story. I want to help YOU find a place where you will find challenges and encouragement to begin and create your own transformation. When you are learning you are changing. When you are creating you are changing. That's what we are all doing when we are enameling.
Enameling can be challenging enough just learning the different skills and techniques. There are lots of variables to consider. There are many myths and rules you think you need to follow. Sometimes just getting a layer of enamel to fire the way you want it to is a major achievement. Even if you've done it hundreds of times before!
We search for answers. Where can we take a class? Who can tell us how to succeed? These answers only take us so far. It's the questions and answers inside of us which allow us to become the artist we dream about. We all have our heroes and inspirations. We want to "make enamels like that, but in our own way". But this is a difficult challenge when our questions are directed outside of ourselves. The artists we admire have searched within. They have found their answers and learned to create their artwork (their enamels).
To do this, you must look "beyond techniques" and search for what you want to "say" and "how you want to say it" in enamel. Every enamel artist you admire has done this. The problem is that you have not seen their process: the way they arrived at these amazing enamel pieces. All you see is the end results, and only the good ones at that.
You have not seen how they struggled to discover the questions which would lead them into uncharted enamel territory. You have not heard their screams of frustration or seen their anguish when they just can't get the result they want. They have learned a process of teaching themselves to make the work they want to make. They have searched for the techniques, mastered the skills, and developed the enamel vocabulary which allows them to share their enamel vision.
How can you learn how to do this? Does taking a workshop do this for you? It helps but it's usually mainly "all about the technique" Does watching a YouTube video or looking at pictures on the internet or checking out what people are saying at your favorite Facebook Group help?
Here is the dilemma; the change you want comes from inside. The techniques don't change you. A new technique may give you one more thing to think about, but it doesn't help you learn to think in a different way. That comes from a commitment to look for a change from within. This is challenging to do on your own. When we take a workshop with an accomplished artist, you can be pretty certain that they have learned to "think like an artist". However, time in a workshop is short and precious. Students want to learn the techniques. Teaching artists may be great teachers of their crafts, but it is much more challenging to also address what is happening "inside" each student.
Without addressing this "inner world" of the student you may return home from a workshop excited, only to discover that you don't really know what you want to do with what you think you have learned. Even if you know what you want to make, you may not understand all of the hundreds of small goals you must achieve on your way to making your dream piece.
We learn by asking lots of questions, trying, experimenting, and playing. We learn by understanding the principles which control the "cause and effect" of our materials, tools, and actions. When we are making art we are considering what we want and asking ourselves how to achieve it. We are learning to become "part of the process" when we are creating, not merely the person in charge. Materials change, ideas change, and we change as we make and create. This is the dance of making art.
Most of us could do this when we were very young. We could learn to ride a bike, make a mud pie, finger paint, sing silly songs, and play with whatever was in front of us. But we slowly learned that if we wanted to be "good", receive a "good grade", and not be "different", then we needed to "grow up" so that we could succeed. Unfortunately, this type of mindset doesn't help us become better learners and it doesn't help us ask better questions. And it certainly doesn't help us become better artists, or even learn how to "think artistically".Many of the students I have worked with over the years struggle with the "art" part of enameling. They take lots of workshops, ask advice on an online group, and as one student described her experience so clearly, "I get home to my studio and there is just something missing"!
This is because of the way we have been brought up to learn, think, observe, and problem solve. Schools have taught us to look for the right answer. To succeed at many jobs we have to "do it the right way". But that is not how we learn and it's not how art is created.
Why? It's different than any online group you've ever seen. It has Goals and a Philosophy: You will be challenged to learn and think. It will help you stay focused and accountable. It will encourage you learn to think for yourself in order to answer you own questions. It helps you think about the "WHY" of what you are making. You will learn "how to improve your skills". You will explore the often-neglected parts of enameling: design, creativity, and self-expression. You will feel encouraged to take a risk, share what is happening in your studio (and inside your head), stop watching, and start doing!
How does it work? First of all, we use a platform called "Mighty Networks". This is designed to help provide focused and guided interactions between hosts and members. For now, I am the Host. I will begin guiding you on a voyage of enamel discovery. But it's not just me doing the heavy lifting here; We share this journey of self-discovery through sharing.Not just what we have made but what we have learned. This will only become as valuable as YOU make it
Mighty Networks has some pretty cool features not found in Facebook Groups.
you can "search" for topics, members, and members with the same interests as you.
you can keep an interactive online journal where you share progress you are making or challenges you are encountering.
There is an "auto-save" which saves a draft of an article or post you've just started to write but want to edit and post later.
You can take a Class. I will be offering paid and free workshops within our community.
There are dedicated sections for specific topics including creativity, design, self-expression, experimenting, learning theory, confidence, and more.
Next, it's not about the technique of making enamel. You can take a class or create your own experiments for that. This is about the TRANSFORMATION you make when you decide to become an enamel artist. It's about making a change inside of yourself. You'll discover research about learning, thinking, and creating. You will see how other students and artists learn, think, struggle, and challenge themselves. You'll find that you are not alone. You will be supported when you take a chance and fall flat on your face. And you will be challenged to get back up and try again. Our mission is to become self-directed learners. We are able to ask ourselves the questions which allow us to teach ourselves to make the meaningful enamel artwork we dream of making Our community is based on the idea that we learn through doing and not by being told how to do something. We can learn about ourselves by disclosing ourselves. Our community is a safe haven to confront and share your fears and struggles. You can challenge yourself to step outside your safety zone and transform yourself into the artist you wish to be!
What it is.
This is a safe place for you to learn more about what I like to call the "art stuff": Creativity, Design, and Expression.
This is a place for you to learn and develop your "inner game" art skills.
This is a source for challenges and exercises to help nudge you slightly outside of your "comfort zone".
This is a safe place for you to try something new and fall on your face.
This is a forum to discuss the deeper questions about WHO you are and WHY you make your artwork.
What it is not.
This is not a class in which you are told "step by step" what to do.
This is not a source for answering your enameling technical questions.
This is not a place for you to ask to ask others what they think you should do.
This is not a place to tell others what you think they should do.
This is not where you will find the "right answer".
If this strikes a chord in you, join now and help to grow our community of learners, thinkers, and enamel artists. Warning: Joining this community may be hazardous to your ability to make derivative and uninspired enamel artwork!