Time to Shine
Turning ideas into events: that’s among the many goals Tammy Patterson (Wolf Clan) has as activities leader for the Oneida Indian Nation Elders Program.
In this case Tammy joined fellow program participants as they toiled away in the craft room at the Ray Elm Children and Elders Center for two days this month. The class of 13 not only helped turn an idea into an event, but they made it shine – they created silver brooches.
“The idea for this class came from one of our Elders,” Tammy said. “It then became a perfect opportunity for our Elders to learn how to create a brooch by hand. In turn I hope they bring the craft home and they teach others how to create such wearable art.”
Leading the class was silversmith Dennis Wagner of Pennsylvania along with two assistants. Although Dennis is a silversmith by hobby, he insisted the beginners work first with aluminum. The benefits of working with aluminum outweigh the cost, and the cleaning and care, needed for silver.
“Silversmithing is something that is not being taught. Most silversmiths don’t do brooch work. They make more money doing rings, necklaces and other jewelry,” Dennis said. “I welcomed the chance to work with the Elders and I would love to teach some of the younger folks too.”
The Oneida Indian Nation Elders program is open to Nation Members and other American Indian clients of the Health Center. A weekday meal is served to participants and a variety of activities are planned to help improve the lives of this treasured group.
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