One question that I get asked a lot every time I show my jewelry is, “How did you get started doing this?” or “How long have you been doing this?” Among many other questions, like “You MAKE all of this?”
That’s another post – my crusade to educate people on different definitions of what people call ‘handmade’ – glue guns & sequins??? aaarrrggghhh; I digress…
It all started with a small piece of turquoise. A friend brought me a roughly cut piece of turquoise from the Dubai upon hearing of a new silversmithing class we were both going to take on a whim. I came up with this idea of a very intricate cross pendant, not knowing at the time that it was way beyond my abilities. My fantastic teacher, who is now my mentor (aka Obi Wan) took hours that weekend & spent many more after the weekend class was over & helped me turn my idea into reality. It is still my favorite piece of jewelry that I wear & most people are surprised to know it was the first thing I had ever attempted. She guided me through every step, I’m sure she must have been wondering what the hell she was thinking, encouraging me to take on the project.
When I found out about the class, I had been suffering from terrible postpartum depression. On the advice of a good friend, I was struggling to find something that was for me and not about the kids, something that took me outside of myself. Finding something that made me happy was a difficult task. Being a farm kid, working with my hands and being very mechanical all came back to me. I felt a creative surge within me, I had finally found something that was already inside me, something I didn’t know was there. I hadn’t ever thought of myself as ‘creative’ or ‘artsy’, it has been a surprise to myself, I’m still not outwardly that person. I show at lots of art shows & I’m surrounded by flamboyant, talented artists, I love the way they can talk about their creations, I feel that way about my pieces, but don’t necessarily speak about them like that.
That first class turned into a few others with Shirley Paradis. She has turned into the most wonderful resource of creativity, inspiration and instruction. The next step for me was to take more classes at the Alberta College of Art and Design. That was also a wonderful experience working with every tool imaginable at my disposal.
I continue to work in a wonderful community of silversmiths at a weekly silversmithing club, that I now realize am very lucky to have available to me. I am constantly reading books, articles & picking the brains of countless metalsmiths. I burn my fingers a lot & have a significant scrap pile filled with pieces that I think I’ve ruined, only to dig them out months later to realize that, “I can fix that!!”
I never could have imagined that it could all come from one little stone, one unsuspecting piece of beautiful, unfinished turquoise. It has changed my life forever, I never considered myself an artist before this little piece of turquoise came into my life!
I plan on doing regular posts on my blog about my processes, supplies, shows & all the other fantastic things that happen on our little slice of heaven here!