Meet the Jeweler With Dyslexia that Turned His Passion Into a Thriving Career

Meet the Jeweler With Dyslexia that Turned His Passion Into a Thriving Career


I was blessed to grow up, in a
blue-collar neighborhood, where I saw really successful people that didn’t
have college degrees. I had family members that were welders and, and they
were metal workers and I just had a real affinity for that. And that’s where my
love was, I mean I would sit down to do a a piece at six o’clock at night, let’s say,
I was starting on something and working on it and all of a sudden at 11 o’clock
at night, I was in a transcendental state almost of five hours had gone by and I
had no clue of the the time-lapse and I just I knew then and that was the
perfect fit for me. I really rose to some upper ranks of my profession
extremely fast and I credit my learning disabilities to that because my
weakness in one area gave me such strength in others. I’m Blaine Lewis, I
live in Franklin Tennessee, I am a goldsmith and diamond setter, I’m an
educator in my field and I have dyslexia. When I was eight years old, right around
2nd grade, I was diagnosed with dyslexia. My mom, responded by working
with the teachers and trying to get me some help but I I still had these
mechanical problems. I would say with with learning, where I just felt like I
didn’t get it in the same way everybody else got it. I could tell by the body
language of everybody that they were getting things from what was written on
the chalkboard that I wasn’t getting. When it was written on the board and I
had to either go off and write or sometimes I felt like it was
hieroglyphics and I started to struggle. At that time, my mom was working with
teachers and they were trying to get you know, an idea about why I was
struggling as much as I was. So from there, I ended up in a school that was
just designed specifically to help people with learning disabilities and
dyslexia. I could sit there in class and I could listen to a to a teacher who had
had a great lecture and I didn’t have to spend as much time in
book, I didn’t have to spend as much time reading because I had good uptake in
that kind of interactive class. In my middle teens, I had really figured out that
I’m as smart as everybody else but just different in the way in which I was
learning. If I touched it with my hands, I just never forgot it and it was where I
knew my talents were. I had a welding background from a young man so I went to
the shipyard at 18. And while I was doing that there was somebody there who was
working in jewelry some on the side and I got to watch him doing jewelry repairs
and goldsmithing work and I fell in love with that line of work. I think my
parents were hoping that I was the first one to go to college. College wasn’t for
me. Then local jewelry craftsmen were asking me for help, and so I started to
help them and, started to teach them and that led me to a teaching career. What all of my experiences have led me to is I have built probably the most unique
jewelry training center in the world. We do things here and completely
different and we just bring the visually intensive learning along with the
tactile learning. We learn in pictures. Our first learning experiences as
infants, it’s all pictures because we don’t understand the language and we
sure can’t read, but we learn through body language and we learn through
pictures. To me, there’s no higher purpose in my life than to help others make a
way in this world, but I think that all stems from my struggles in school. I see
myself in a lot of the students that I teach. What attention deficit feels like
to me, is that all my channels are open. You know, I can’t focus on any one thing,
I can’t block out other noises and for me in the classroom
I’ve always performed well where there’s a little bit of chaos going on it
doesn’t unravel me. I have multiples of students and they’re
all having different issues, normally they know and they tell you, you know I
had I had problems in school I had learning disabilities and and that’s one
of the things that attracts them to this style of learning. Anything like this,
where you working with your hands, it must be experienced and I think that the
physicalness of that adds a whole other dimension to learning. We judge IQ
and all these things based off of this filter system, of this is how we’re gonna
judge everybody, but it leaves out of that abilities in other areas. So my IQ
never tested high when I was that young. You know, I just I was blessed to
have a mom who said, “Look you’re different. But you should
celebrate that and not be stigmatized by that. And you know, I have faith in the
fact that you’re gonna be you know you’re gonna have a happy life and
you’re gonna achieve the things that you want to achieve.” And you know I think I
believed her, and they came true. One of the blessings I think about having
dyslexia and learning disabilities is I had gotten accustomed to feeling like I
was, you know, I failed at this and I failed at that. I’ve certainly failed at a lot of my grades. So, failure wasn’t something
that was so difficult for me. But I think too many people get stigmatized by that
failure and they don’t understand that you learn more from your failures and
you learn from the easy things that you do.

10 Comments

  1. I love your story! As a dyslexic jeweler and instructor myself, I appreciate the education you are passing to others. A great number in the creative fields have dyslexia! The book the Dyslexic Advantage taught me so much. Congratulations on a great career and video. ~ Holly Gage

  2. Blaine's class was as much inspirational as it was instructional to me, as another craftsman with an attention challenge. So enjoyed this video and cannot recommend him highly enough to anyone who would like to hone their jeweler skills.

  3. Thank you so much for your wonderful video. You were so lucky to have a Mother who worked with you and teachers who wanted to help. Dyslexia can be debilitating, people who have this learn early to think out side the box. A fellow Dyslexic

  4. Absolutely same experience I too have the gift of dyslexia and I am also a custom jeweler goldsmith and diamond setter. I was diagnosed at the age of 8 but they didn't know what to do with me at that time. The words you said in this video were my exact experiences. In high school I took metal shop and asked my teachers not to make me take notes so I could listen to them and learn I graduated on the A-B honor roll I grew up in the jewelry business as well and took to the repair jobs like it was what i was made to do. Amazing to meet another person that has had my exact experience. I have a high IQ but was very learning disabled. I met a teacher in my first year of High school that taught me how to learn then I excelled in school and my career as a custom jeweler I call it the gift of dyslexia. We own The Smithville Jeweler in Galloway NJ. Come visit us!

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