Some would say that receiving handcrafted gifts is a hundred times more heart-felt than receiving any other types of gifts. Due to struggling finances at one point, David knows the feeling of committing to this idea and making the best out of it. He first started creating jewelry in 1980 to ensure that his daughter and wife received gifts for Christmas, regardless of their financial situation. It was a no-brainer for David to spend twenty dollars and put in the time and effort to make his loved ones happy.
These gifts marked the start of David’s journey in jewelry making. After years of gaining experience and enhancing his skills, he decided to start teaching for he has been used to supervising and teaching employees in his previous jobs.
“I found that I am most comfortable and happiest when teach.”
Teaching also presents challenging experiences. For David, preparation and dealing with stubbornness are some of the most testing encounters. On top of spending time driving long distances to different parts of the country, he also allots time prepping for his classes. His classes have a minimum length of twelve hours over two days, so extensive time is needed to prepare for the class and clean up after. Preparation and clean up are manageable, but David thinks that a student’s attitude might not be as malleable.
“The second most challenging thing about teaching is trying to work with someone who thinks they know what they are doing and won't listen.”
Time put in his classes is surely worth it after seeing his students learn and apply themselves. David shares a touching and inspiring story about one of his students.
“I had a class in Kansas City and a young lady about 14 years old took my beginning Silversmithing Class, she had paid for it with her own money. I was having an intermediate Rings and Bracelet Class in the following two days. She went home and finagled her parents into loaning her the money for the class. Of course, being as young as she was, she was like a sponge just soaked it all up. About two weeks later she called me on the phone on a Sunday afternoon screaming in the phone, "Dave- Dave I just made $1200 this weekend selling my Jewelry!". Her parents sell prize-winning bull stud service. For years, she had been sitting outside the stall making beaded jewelry and barely covered her expenses. She told me she made a bunch of rings with saw cut animal shapes, pigs, horse, cows, etc., with a bezel set stone, like the ones we did in class, and they were selling at $125 each at the next livestock show she attends with her family. It was a great day. She said her first selling day had paid for both classes and the tools she bought. It is always icing on the cake when a student applies what they have learned from you.”
Just like his student, David gains inspiration from nature. Being married to a skilled gardener, flowers from their garden influence his pieces. According to him, these flower-inspired pieces lend themselves to Southwestern styles. His preference for Southwestern styles also affects his gem inclinations. During a summer trip spent rockhounding near Douglas Arizona and Aqua Puerto Mexico, David discovered turquoise pieces around Texas John Slaughters Ranch. Since then, he has developed a liking for turquoise.
“Turquoise has so many colors, patterns, and such a warm nature. It is hard to get close to other stones.”
Aside from stone preference, David also shares his priority for material quality. For him, verified genuine stones help assure his customers. Verified genuine stones signify that the jewelry that he creates has its full metaphysical properties intact. This assurance gives David the peace of mind to be comfortable selling his creations for top dollar. He shares some feedback from the Moose-verified material we sent.
“The stones that I have used the Moose have all been top quality and size consistent. I have created some pretty awesome pieces with the Moose’s matching groups.”
To inspire more students to chase their success stories, David shares his top tip.
“Focus on one thing at a time until you get proficient at it before moving on. It is easy to go down a rabbit hole with just about any hobby. Jewelry making can be cheap and easy, or hard and expensive. Most of the time, a firm foundation will lead you to a very successful end if you take lots of baby steps and be good at each one.”
Check out David's website to learn more about his classes:
Watch his informational Silversmithing Retreat video here: