There is art, and then there is the art of mentoring. One local artist has mastered both.
Barbara Boyce, an established Mount Dora artist and silversmith, shows her original jewelry designs at an average of 15 of the top Florida art festivals each year. Seven years ago she began sharing her creativity and technical knowledge with eager students and continues to teach in her downtown studio.
This year Boyce is taking her mentoring one step further. Besides exhibiting at this weekend's Mount Dora Crafts Fair, she has an adjacent booth just for her students. The goal is to mentor them on the business of selling their art while they learn the festival process. "After every festival I do, students have many questions. I thought this would be a great way to add to their full experience in my class," said Boyce. Student Karen Gundal would like to make jewelry as a retirement hobby that generates some income. However, she has never tried selling her work. "I want to get an idea of what people are looking for and the whole festival process," said Gundal.
Another student exhibiting in the event, Susan Tobin, has been Boyce's student for two- and-a-half years. Like many new artists, Tobin is eager to discover if she can sell any of her own designs. The students could be very busy. Mount Dora Craft Fair is expected to draw over 100,000 visitors, according to organizers. The adjoining booths will be on Alexander Street.
The silversmith classes are limited to four students and take place at Two B's Studio, at 301 N. Baker Street. The classes are four weeks and during the first four-week session students create sterling jewelry that includes a ring, earrings, and bezel-set stone which can become part of the ring or a pendant. Beginning students mix in with ongoing classes.
Boyce has enjoyed the community that her mentoring has built. "Many of my students have bonded in class, and it is always great to see the friendships that develop," said Boyce. "Of course, I also love to see the creativity!"
During a recent visit to a class in session at her downtown studio, all her students eagerly chimed in that Boyce is an amazing teacher and mentor.
You can see Boyce's and her students' work this weekend at their Crafts Fair booths on Alexander Street near the Chamber of Commerce (booths 039 & 041).