This semester was a challenge to me. On personal level, my teaching style and pedagogy was pushed to a level that challenged my basic philosophies on humanity.  I really challenged myself in taking on  a schedule that turned out to be almost impossible - but-
   I . did. it.
Though a great conversation with a great friend- I said this out loud - "I have shown valor, merit and bravery that was a  call above and beyond the standards- I deserve a medal after all of this".  This is my medal. Description: Blackboard is the online system we use to submit assignments for class- the ribbon is an actual military ribbon and the gold medallion is a coin from a casino. All the components reflect my experience, personal background and is a shiny commemoration of my semester. 

Reflecting on my education, my most influential teacher was a non traditional one. A wire artist living in San Diego- Lynne Merchant offered classes at Shepherdess- a bead store located in old town San Diego.  Lynne Merchant learned her craft through life experience, she traveled extensively -learning as she went.  In the Lynne Merchant classes I learned about creativity, intention and passion- craftsmanship was an expectation.  Structure and engineering though the beauty of your work was emphasized. All can be accomplished with good tools, skill, knowledge and intentionality in each piece. To this day I use this as my guide post.
Craft originally implied a cunning power - what Margaret Visser called "skill, strength and intelligence all rolled into one". I have often heard the phrase- "one who knows their craft" in relation to an artist.  This is my lifelong desire- to continually explore and refine my craft.  Recently I was given an assignment- create a list of valuables- things that you may have to include on a insurance policy.  Then recreate that valuable using materials that are not valuable.  Here is my valuble-bauble necklace made from soda cans, plastic beads and wire. Aesthetic arguments would say there is use of balance, color, rhythm, pattern and unity to create this work. Question is- how much is the market value for this piece?  It took as long to make it as if I made it from gold and silver- but because of the material- what could I charge?  Responses encouraged.