Last week I had a great Friday teaching some people to enamel at the Evergreen Centre for Street Youth, which is part of the Yonge St. Mission. The centre offers a safe place where homeless and street-involved youth can rest, eat, obtain health care and counselling and get help with finding a job or a place to stay or pursuing education.
I taught the enamelling class as part of a program that was started this year by some friends of mine, Michele Witt and Ivanne Binetruy of Connect Studio. They and other volunteers teach a different jewellery making technique each week in a two hour class at the Evergreen Centre. There is no charge to the youth and they can drop in at any time during the class. Techniques including how to make a copper bracelet, wax carving for casting, enamelling and more have already been taught and there’s more on the agenda!
Teaching the class was great, there’s always something new to try with enamelling and each person had a different idea of what they wanted to create. One person wanted initials of her family to give as gifts, another was finishing up a ring they made the week before and did some fantastic designs with hearts and dots, another did a great collection of earth tones to wear together. One young man did some very impressive designs that included a lot of glass beads, which were melted into the enamel. He showed me some of his other pieces that he’d done in previous classes and told me he wants to start making and selling jewellery on a regular basis. I hope he does, it can be a very rewarding career. And that’s one of the great things about this program, not only is it a fun way for street youth to spend the afternoon but it also shows them some possibilities for the future they may not have thought of or had access to.