Wednesday, March 23, 2011


If you’ve been anywhere near my Facebook page recently, you’ll have noticed a distinctly advertisanal air. I’ve spent the last week hyping up my new “business,” an online jewelry shop featuring my own hand-made pieces. The business part is in air bunnies because, frankly, I don’t really have any expectations about sales. I’d had a few people ask where my work was sold, so I decided to go ahead and make a place for it, but really, my main goal was just to have somewhere to share what I make. Even introverts have an inner show-off, you know.

As I mentioned in my initial kick-off post, I started making jewelry about six months ago. It would be more charming and mystical if I said I just fell into it, or was mysteriously drawn to it, but the truth is, I went on a very methodical quest to find a hobby. Both my time and financial resources were limited, so I sought a diversion that would be relaxing and sustainable. Dozens of ideas were floated and rejected as being too expensive, too time-consuming, too artsy, too crafty, too unwieldy, or just too messy.

When the idea of jewelry-making crossed my mind, it seemed perfect in multiple ways. The supplies were small, portable, and most importantly, dry. The tools required to get started were minimal. I could try it out without making a big financial commitment. Plus, it fulfilled an actual need. I love accessories but rarely buy them for myself, and a large number of the pieces I acquired through my lifetime had recently been stolen during a break-in. There was no way to replace my late grandmother’s necklaces or my high school class ring, but being able to design and create my own jewelry seemed the next best thing as far as adding personal value to what I wear.

With all that in mind, my expectations were still fairly low. I’ve tried a lot of different art forms, from painting to pottery, and always end up feeling like my vision and my production are never going to meet. An enthusiastic foray into crochet devolved into an acrimonious break-up with the entire realm of textile arts.

But without knowing it in advance, I managed to pick a creative outlet that’s exactly suited to my paralyzingly-perfectionistic tendencies. I can choose to follow an existing design, but there are no intricately coded patterns in cryptic abbreviations. It’s very hard to go “wrong” on a piece, but if I do, undoing/redoing is a fairly quick, easy process. Not having to worry about messing up or wasting time does a lot to free my creative impulses. Deciding I don’t like something and taking it apart is usually painless. Knowing it’s easy to go back always makes it much easier for me to go forward.

This whole thing is still pretty new to me – not just the craft, but having a hobby in general. The mere idea of setting aside time to do something for pure enjoyment has been out of my mental repertoire for about seven and a half years now. I’m certainly no expert jewelry-maker, either. I’m getting the hang of it, though, and for maybe the first time in my life, I’m not daunted by what I don’t know. While I still feel very much like a beginner, the wealth of unabsorbed knowledge out there is motivating instead of discouraging. At the risk of sounding like the hippie-crafter-nerd I'm quickly becoming, it took a lot of effort to find this path, and now I can’t wait to see where it leads.

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