Jewellery with Students Who Have Complex Needs

by John Bowyer.
(Canberra, Australia)

Jewellery with Students Who Have Complex Needs by John Bowyer  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

I have spent nearly 20 weeks at 3 hours a week making jewellery. I did not know what to expect but have been very excited by the talent of the students.

The most satisfying being a student which is basically non verbal and does not interact very much with me as the teacher.

After a couple of weeks starting with a leather bracelet we moved onto copper rings, the sort that needs little soldering and is round wire. You know the style there’s a million on Pinterest etc.

Then we move on to necklaces, bracelets then solid rings formed out of Gilt. We cover shaping, texturing, enamelling, etching, ring making, soldering and polishing.

The student I have decided to show you the work of has really surprised me with his level of concentration and detail. We were doing enamelling and etching.

Jewellery with Students Who Have Complex Needs by John Bowyer  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

The etching is electro-etching with a small powerpack set to about 2 1/2 volts and a jar with salt water.

The student started this work by making a pair of earrings in copper, enamelling then electroetching.

He really got into the drawing, I don’t know if you can see but there is a dragon, emu, kangaroo, clouds and water.

Jewellery with Students Who Have Complex Needs by John Bowyer  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

I have really been happy with all the students’ work and look forward to the next group of students in a few weeks.

John Bowyer

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  • What a wonderful experience for both student and teacher! I can see the student’s dragon, emu, kangaroo, clouds and water in photo 3. John, thank you so much for sharing this lovely story of making jewelry.

  • John says:

    Thanks for your kind words.

  • Judy Bjorkman says:

    John, good for you, in working with unusual students and for teaching actual jewelry-making processes (not just stringing beads). In my classes (mostly beaders who wanted to learn metalworking techniques), the great part has always been the amazing talents of my students.
    All the best,

  • Beautiful!!!!

  • Sandee Jene says:

    I also teach classes and try very hard to instruct ‘technique’ not just make and take. It really excites me when each student leaves with a completely different take on the technique that has been taught that day. They have learned something that they may use to make many other projects in the future.

  • kathy corkery says:

    John this students work is beautiful. I agree, good for you for teaching technique other than stringing to students that may be different. You helped a person uncover a talent that might not have been discovered otherwize. It’s very exciting.

  • Also, you’ve taught this non-verbal student a new way to express himself.

  • Julia Zimmerman says:

    Your story is fantastic! I not only have a 27 year old with severe cognitive delays but have taught students with disabilities for years and have had some truly amazing experiences with this very special population. Thank you for what you do and please, keep it up!!!

  • John Bowyer says:

    Thank you for all the supportive comments. I will be looking to use some silver next time around, We will see how the group and individuals take on the subject;

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