Sunday, December 25, 2011

why difficult online people? maybe try art

I wrote about this privately tonight; in fact, I wrote in great detail for my anonymous blog, but still felt shy about publishing it, so I kept it private.  I recently joined an online community where I am feeling ill at ease, mostly due to a snub by one person, and some posts by her that I felt were directed to me in a hostile way.  But I think she probably makes everyone uncomfortable, not just me.  Still, it's all making me a little queasy.  Bad drama, and with someone who does not have to be a player in my life.  I'm trying to hang in; I'd like to stay.  (I had an overt conflict with some very mean people in an online community some years back, and it was a very unhappy time.)

And something good:  I've been making jewelry again.  I do wish I knew how to photograph jewelry well enough to post pictures.  I have a digital camera that I think is as hopeless as my ability to do digital photography.  I've never taken a good photo of any of my work.

But I started again recently, mostly because I wanted to give some holiday gifts.  And although I have a great deal of perfectly lovely jewelry already made, I sometimes feel like I'm cheating if I don't make something specifically for a certain person.  As if a piece of handcrafted silver and gemstone jewelry, made by me, isn't a good enough gift on its own.  Geez.

Yeah, so I was thinking about making something like eight new pieces of jewelry, which was so not going to happen.  I ended up making only three new pieces and only gave away one of those.  Everyone else got perfectly lovely jewelry that I'd already made.

Part of it was that I was beginning to make a new style of earring, which means that the pieces I was making would be slow, and would evolve and improve.  Which is what happened and is still happening.  I made the fourth one today, the first pair that I felt was harmonious with my style.

The idea I had was this:  a wire piece like an inverted V, only with a loop at the peak to attach to an earring hook.  At the bottom of each stem of the V would also be a loop, with a short length of chain attached in-between, like a bridge.  Then beads attached to the chain.  It's a pretty labor-intensive style; plus I was doing it the hard way until I made the piece today.  I was beading the chain after it was hooked in to the wire, instead of beading it and then attaching it.  Trust me, it made a difference.

So I had to fabricate the piece with wire, which takes a lot of patience and a little more precision than I usually need.  I measured and cut the wire, then coiled it on something called a jig, a little pegboard.  The pegs are the guides around which you bend the wire, to get a uniform shape.  It's still tricky to get it right.  I had to use the softest silver wire, called "dead soft," and then hammer the shape to harden it.

Then I had to decide on the type of chain and number of links.  And then the color and shape of beads to use.

First pair: eight links of chain, one round 4mm light amethyst on each link.  This was most like the one I'd seen which had inspired me.  (My wire skills are so far behind the piece I saw that it would be a joke to call mine a "copy.")  The next one had a bigger link of chain, and four purple rice pearls; that pair I gave away.  The third had soft garnet nuggets, maybe around 4 or 5mm, also eight links, one bead to each link.  I wanted to give those to a blonde woman from work, but she had said she had trouble with heavier earrings, so I ended up giving her a different pair with garnets.  (She's an absolutely delightful student who brings me coffee and always stops to chat.)

Today, I went for eight links, with a 4mm carnelian cube on each link, then added a bright-orange rice pearl to each of the six inner links.  I like working with those colors a lot, the translucent carnelian worked perfectly, and the double-beaded links have some of that cluttered look characteristic of a lot of my pieces.  I've made a lot of bracelets and some necklaces that were lengths of chain piled up with beads, often many varied sizes and colors.  I also do a lot of necklaces on wire links where I add beads to the connections.  It's a lot easier when you're not making two pieces that have to match, plus everything is much smaller with the earrings.  I usually bead chain with beads averaging 8mm.

This is probably a foreign tongue even to other jewelers.  I actually did make a little drawing a tried to scan it so I could upload it here, but either my scanner or my scanning software seems to have conked out.

But the point is that these two sessions of jewelry-making required a lot of time and concentration, and everything else just kind of fell away.  There isn't a lot of creative bliss in the rest of my life; I work hard and concentrate and take a lot of time when I write, but that's just about the opposite of mental peace.  Making jewelry is very centering; there's something so present about creating something for use and adornment, and so restful about trading verbal for visual.  It's good to get away from words and onto color and shape.  It's good to work with my hands.

I had fallen away from it because my workspace is small and disorderly, not very inviting, and also because I don't know how I will be able to replace any silver I consume.  Silver is much more expensive now, and I am much more broke.  I probably have enough beads to work with for years, but the silver is a problem.  Still, I can't let the future stop the present.  You can quote me on that one.

1 comment:

  1. I really, really want to see pictures (even bad ones) of what you're describing. They sound lovely. Also, I want to pass on a tip...when I'm learning a new part of the craft, I practice on craft wire, then move up to copper, before using silver wire (since it's gotten so expensive). I'm so glad you're creating again. I know the feeling of everything else just falling away and getting lost in the process of "making". It is creative bliss.