I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands, and in college I took classes in jewelry and metals. I was taught by a Professor named David Peterson who is an extremely talented (albeit tough) teacher. After studying with David for two or three semesters, I realized that I had never seen anything that he himself created, so one day a few students and I convinced him to bring some of his work to class. He brought in one piece – it was a salt and pepper shaker (I found a picture here in David’s now-online portfolio). I still remember when I saw it for the first time, it was one of the most creative, interesting, and impressive works of art I’ve ever seen.
After he showed us the piece, he took out a very large piece of blueprint paper and showed us his draft drawings. Holy moly – his drawings were so detailed and intricate that they themselves were a work of art. He had completed detailed scale drawings of every single component of the piece in immaculate detail.
When I saw the drawings, I couldn’t help but thinking how much time the drawings must have taken. Hours, days probably. At the naïve age of 20, looking at those drawings, I remember having only one thought:
“What a waste of time!”
In college, when I worked in jewelry, I never spent a long time planning. I would get a general idea, maybe do a quick sketch in a small sketch book, then just sit down at the bench and start sawing and soldering until I got results that I was happy with.
“Dive right in”
It was the method that I used for a lot of projects in a lot of areas.
Looking back – I now understand why David spent so much time drawing out his creations. But the lesson took me a very long time to learn. Here’s why: I often got good results by just diving in!