(Jewelry Making Professor Maria Watzke)
During a visit to Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici’s Jewelry Lab, I was lucky enough to speak to Professor Watzke about her experiences creating jewelry and teaching jewelry making. However, I also had the opportunity to watch some of Watzke’s students in action in the lab and talk to them about their experience at LdM’s jewelry school thus far. Many of the students whom I spoke with had traveled far from various countries to study jewelry making and explained that there was no place better for their industry than Florence!
Florence was similar for Professor Watzke. She explained that Florence was like a magnet that kept pulling her back throughout her life. Watzke studied jewelry making in Germany for three and a half years and when she finished she moved to Florence for work. After several years, she moved back to Germany and worked there but confessed that she began to miss Florence! And as the legend goes, Professor Watzke packed her bags and followed her heart to the Ponte Vecchio and Florence’s thriving jewelry scene.
Although Professor Watzke worked in a jewelry shop for many years, she has been teaching for the last three at Lorenzo de Medici. Watzke explained that she loved teaching jewelry making to her students because the theory that she teaches in the classroom and the handiwork that she teaches in the lab are very similar to much of her current work. Watzke was happy to admit that this instruction even helps her improve her own knowledge of jewelry making- a win-win! Professor Watzke’s favorite part about jewelry making? That’s easy she answered: “When I make jewelry I have an idea and am able to create EXACTLY what I want. I feel so accomplished when I finish the whole process! I also love to work with my hands.”
Watzke’s most-beloved pieces are usually the most difficult to create. She explained that when they work out just as she planned there is no greater happiness.
It was so neat to be able to actually see how much the LdM students had learned and accomplished in just a few short months. Their fingers worked so nimbly with the different tools as they manipulated the materials they worked with until they created the perfect piece- and I got to watch all of this first hand! It was very special to see the adoration and appreciation that these students had for Professor Watzke. Her students had already been taught so much and were working hard in the lab on their day off (!) to gain the approval of their devoted teacher. The pieces that the students were working on were extremely detailed and unique- however all focus was on Professor Watzke as the students listened intently to every word she said as they attempted to improve their pieces!
Mary Scarrone attends Davidson College in Charlotte, North Carolina where she majors in English and has a fervor for fashion. She utilizes fashion to express herself through style and of course jewelry is a huge part of that! She has had so much fun creating posts for the LDM jewelry blog because it has taught her more about the complicated jewelry-making process that goes into creating all of the pieces she loves to wear! And what is a better place to explore jewelry-making than Florence – Europe’s heart of jewelry? Mary wishes to pursue a career in law after graduation.