To help keep his mind busy in 2003 Gerry takes on more college courses by distance learning. He’s taking his time over two of them, because they include some practical classes where he has some trouble attending all of the classes. The courses are Fashion Design and Jewellery Design. Gerry has Angie take him to the practical classes, and a few lectures. Most of the students think she’s the student, and he’s a relative she’s looking after. She gets to like the work, and she signs up as well.
Gerry has wanted to do clothing design courses since one day, many years before, when he was sitting by the pool pretending to be a hole in space while he listened to the older girls and their friends discussing life. Typical late teen girl talk on boys, clothes, sex, clothes, studies, clothes. He notes their complaints about clothes designs and how much they’d be prepared to spend on good designs. He does some research on clothing and jewellery design, and he gets an interest in them as a possible hobby. He puts off studying fashion design until he feels he can afford to do it right, because the right materials aren’t cheap to buy.
Since these classes are designed for students to go at their own learning pace they take their time, because they do have a few other calls on their available time. It’s June, 2004 before they’re ready to participate in the final exams. These are practical exams where the students design items for presentation to the judges. The students are responsible for supplying their own models and materials at their own expense. Both Gerry and Angie pass near the top of the classes. By the end of the courses they’re friends with several other serious students who are good. Gerry ends up financing the start-up of most of these students, and all are later known, worldwide, for their quality and flair.
For the final exam in Fashion Design they have to design an elegant evening gown. Gerry convinces his cousin, Mary, to model for him. At first she’s embarrassed to change her clothes in front of him, but she settles down. The dress is of simple flowing lines, and it really suits her. It’s light blue to emphasize her eyes with leg slits going high on the hip which are visible only while she’s dancing or making other strong movements, because the two panels overlap a fair bit. She has good looking legs, and the slits allows them to show while walking. He already has designer labels, so he puts one on the dress.
Mary models the dress at the final exam presentation, and does the runway bit perfectly. Gerry wins first place in this by only two points. He’s sure the only reason he wins is due to Mary making a very sharp fast turn at the end. This causes the outside slit to fully open up to show her lovely leg all the way up to her hip. The exam is on a Friday afternoon. That night he takes her to The Landing’s Field for dinner as a thank you for modelling for him.
She demurs, saying, “No need to do that, I really liked the work. And you’ve already paid for my hairstyle and make up this morning.”
He says, “I noticed you liked the modelling. The hair and make-up were to ensure I’ve the best chance with the prettiest model. I promised I’d feed you, and I must keep my promise. The booking is made, and I’ll get into big trouble if I don’t take you. Don’t worry about the cost, as I can easily afford it.” She agrees to go after a bit more discussion.
They’re escorted to table number one, because it’s reserved for them. She doesn’t realise it, but this table is permanently reserved for Gerry, at his expense. Although it’s often used by other friends and family when he’s not there. All eyes are on Mary when they cross the dance floor to the table. The dress really emphasizes her physical attributes.
A young man Mary is interested in is sitting across the room with his family. It’s his younger sister’s birthday dinner party, and he has no date with him. When the dance music starts Gerry stands up, and crosses the floor to ask the fellow’s sister for a dance. She’s a year older than him, and the same height. He also suggests the young man may like to dance with his cousin whom he knows, and points out Mary. The young man agrees. The man stands, and he goes to ask her for a dance. A few dances later Gerry talks the young man’s family into moving to their large table, and they all eat together. A good time is enjoyed by all.
Six months later Mary wears the dress for the bridal waltz on their wedding day.
Another cousin, one who runs a dress shop, wants the rights to copy the dress, and is prepared to pay good royalties for the rights. Mary and Gerry split the royalties. Thus the House of Yancey, quality fashion dress designs, hits the fashion market with a big bang.
The final exam for the jewellery design is a similar arrangement, and it’s held on the Wednesday before. For his final design Gerry does a necklace with matching earrings using some odd coloured diamonds from the AGM mine, the clan mine. The colour is a very light brown, a little darker than tan. Unusual, but nice. The eight main diamonds are the exact same shade. One of the clan diamond cutters works them into four matched pairs, six the same size, two half their size, and a few dozen very small stones from the offcuts. Gerry also uses two matching small bluish diamonds. He uses sterling silver for the metal base to make the diamonds stand out more.
The design is a necklace 80 mm wide by 200 mm long in a sharp curve of almost a ‘V’ with a chain around the neck plus matching drop earrings. The necklace is cut in the shape of a falcon in flight, wings spread in a dive, curving back to the shoulders. The six main diamonds make up the bulk of the body of the falcon with the very small diamonds (really little more than chips) creating the wings and filling in the body, while the two blue diamonds are the eyes. Thus creating the image of a very light brown falcon with startling blue eyes. The earrings are sterling silver claws holding a tan diamond to each ear. He presents it in a jewellery case designed for it with his design label of Rohan’s Room showing.
He provides Angie with a selection of AGM diamonds for her exam design. She creates a necklace using sterling silver in the shape of a 150 mm long Claymore sword. Small matching dark coloured diamond chips create the guard, dark blue diamond chips create the hilt, a white diamond is the tip of the blade, and matching chips are the blade. The chain runs from the ends of the guard and around the neck. On Gerry’s advice she displays it by wearing it herself. The tip of the blade rests between her breasts at the very top of her cleavage.
The judges are in love with both designs, and Angie scores first place with Gerry just behind her in second place in the final exam, only two marks behind her.