Some of the best talent I’ve ever witnessed was inside these gates. I’m a part of the hobby craft program in here (Nathan’s beadwork pictured above). I even teach the bead class. I was intrigued by what I saw as I walked through hobby craft one day so I figured I’d try it out. The bead class was taught by a Native guy when I got in. His back ground and heritage included beaded dressings. I learned everything I could from him. I’d begun to enjoying making jewelry so I was at it most of the day. Needless to say, I got good. I changed things up to fit my style. I’m from the hip-hop generations so I brought a new flavor to beading. I drew a lot of attention to the things I made simply because no one had thought of it before. I used the learning tools he provided for me, but I tweaked the style to fit me. Sadly, the guy that taught me was envious of what I was doing because it took some of the attention away from him. That wasn’t my intention, I just wanted to be different.
The Native guy ended up going home a year later. I was asked by staff if I’d take over and teach people my style of making jewelry. I started teaching a little over 4 years ago. 2 years ago my attention was pulled towards leather work. I’d watched people making things that impressed me. The smell of real leather attracted my attention as well. I entered the leather class. After finishing the 8 week class I begin making a few leather items. I continued beading but I had this urge to learn more. I’ve made some of the best looking purses this prison has ever seen. I took the learning tools that were given to me and used them to create something different. I was accused of already knowing how to make purses because I learned so fast. Some people gave me props for my work and others well…they were hating on it. My purpose was to get good and make something nice. Not to make enemies.(P)
People don’t always understand a man with a creative mind. They feel threatened. My focus is on myself and being good at everything I do. I don’t even pay much attention to others unless I’m being taught something or giving you props for something they created. There are men in here doing things with their minds and hands that you couldn’t imagine. When outside visitors come to the prison, our work is shown to impress them.
There’s sometimes this idea of thought that we’re in here just wasting time. There are some guys who see prison as a waste of time. Those guys do nothing all day but talk about what they want after prison. They don’t understand that the things you do inside these gates will effect you once you leave. You can go home a smarter person or you could just go try your luck at whatever. I see prison as another part of my life so I used the time as wisely as possible. I don’t spend any days wasting time. My body is locked up but my mind is free to do incredible things. If more guys used their creative minds in here, prison would only be a stepping stone. I never thought I’d be making jewelry or purses in prison. Sometime I trip off what I do because I see now that there are no limits unless I create them for myself. The only thing you can’t do is what you say you can’t do…I feel like my creative mind is going to do great things. I encourage anyone on lock to use theirs.
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