Why do I make jewelry?
I write poetry to deal with grief, sadness, bewilderment, loss, death. My poetry vibrates with raw emotion; even years later, it makes me cry to read it.
I make jewelry for life, for happiness, for joy. I make jewelry because it isn't necessary or useful. It is only beautiful, or sparkly, or colorful, or fashionable. It requires a happy spirit to wear - and to make.
I am finally happy. I am settled in my spirit, grateful for what I have, loving and beloved, calm and - mostly! - serene. I am finally free to move from writing poetry to making jewelry. This feat is no small victory for my soul, my spirit, my self.
Today I took another step in my journey as an artist....I finished a bracelet that I made from scratch, with my own hands holding metal shears, hammers, files, pliers and awls, a micro-torch and a Dremel.
It is not a piece that connects the beauty of gemstones with bone and crystal and horn and pearl through a thin woven wire, although I love to make those juxtapositions sing with their own unique harmony.
Rather, it is a more elemental thing, much like that of starting with a blank sheet of paper and letting it become an essay or a poem, a medium that allows us to share written thoughts and, hopefully, express something of meaning, of value, of beauty. Making metal jewelry also starts with only an idea and a blank sheet of metal that becomes the medium for sharing design and beauty, the ephemeral turned real.
So, today, I began with the beginning: a blank sheet of copper that I cut and embossed, filed and smoothed, drilled and flamed to turn that blank sheet of copper into the jewelry artists version of a poem. I connected the pieces and bent wire to make a clasp. I held my vision of what I wanted before me through the whole process, far more in control than when emotion transmutes itself into poetry.
And, finally, I put on my creation, so different from its beginnings, so thrilling to me as evidence of the skills I am learning and the new type of poetry I am creating in metal. Unlike my written poems, which are riven with sadness, my metal poem reflects, I hope, the happiness and joy that I felt when I was bringing it to life. It gleams softly, its shape is pleasing to the eye; it is lagniappe in a time when utility makes more sense, it is hope transmuted into a bracelet.
It is proof that, while I am growing old, I am still open to new things, still becoming, still hopeful. What a gift. I am blessed.