Quizzing Sarah – part 2

Part 2: How Melissa found jewellism… part three to follow soon.

As I began in Mr Daniels, this is the continuing saga of this jewellists life.

More thanks must go to my high school in Lesmurdie, LSHS – home of the first jewellery workshop I had ever laid eyes on – for unwittingly adding to my foundation of jewellery knowledge by changing the ‘gridlines’ between year 11 and my final year of high school, year 12.

Everyone at the time liked to emphasise that you were making a de-facto career choice, when selecting your subjects for years 11 and 12. Your subjects had to get you into tertiary education, and would not change for your final two years. There was huge pressure to ‘get it right’, to the point that the school made compulsory meetings for each student with a deputy principal to ensure the units you selected would meet your intended career objectives.

I chose my subjects based on the prerequisites for architecture (nil compulsory units, physics and higher maths desirable), and was told that my timetable could not be accommodated. (I also chose ancient history and Italian, and kept up with tech drawing as I enjoyed it and figured it could only help.)  So I changed a couple of subjects, and encountered the chagrin of at least one senior teacher when she discovered that I would not be taking English Literature due to another clash.

Then in year twelve, after settling on second-best in my primary choices, I was told that the grid had shifted again, and that I would have to change out of chemistry (a poor substitute anyway for the physics course that I had intended on doing to aid my chances of getting into architecture) and fill the gap with a course without prerequisites. (On the flip side, I was also then able to swap into the English Lit course.)

Lucky for me, applied art was about all there was available to me, at which time the heavens smiled on me, as my school had employed Sarah Elson to teach art that year. We had three art teachers, and we spent a third of our time with each. With Sarah we made works in recycled copper wire and did cuttlefish casting. I had researched career pathways in year 10 (yep, architecture was via UWA or Curtin, and jewellery was apprenticeship or a 3rd year specialisation at Curtin), and knew vaguely the school-leaver pathways to become a jeweller. It got around fairly quickly that Sarah had specialised in jewellery, so eventually I had to ask how she planned to continue – would she be aiming for her own jewellery shop? She told me that working for/in a shop was not really what the degree equipped you for. This I didn’t understand, and so I was disappointed that the work prospects seemed so dismal.

After high school I went to university and did a bachelors degree in interior architecture (after a year off – oh wait, they actually call what I did that year ‘first year computer science’…) But jewellery found its way back to me, or maybe, I to it.  When I eventually came back to it, I felt like I had found something dear that I thought I had lost for good.

to be concluded…