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Blowtorches: For Grownups Only

I taught my first metalwork jewelry-making class at a women’s ministry in Cincinnati. It was an innercity class, but because everyone was welcome, my classes were a diverse cultural mix of jewelry makers. 

They were women mostly: working women, housewives, retired, and on fixed incomes. They were old and young and from the suburbs and the city. My students were all types of women (and one guy) but they all had one thing in common. They’d never picked up a blowtorch before. Of course, I could say that about most men and women, both then and now. First, some rulesI started my first blowtorch lesson by handing out a list of rules. I don’t remember them all, but I do recall rule number 1: Grownups Only!

I remember that I came to my blowtorch rules after teaching many of my ministry students the fine art of cutting with a jeweler’s saw. During those awkward lessons, I saw some of my students at their most juvenile and many of them refused to learn. The ones who did, became blowtorch aficionad…

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