At the beginning of December I had a day booked to be in the metalsmithing studio. I didn’t want to go. It was the day after a holiday show, in the midst of a season that wasn’t going well at all.
I was about to cancel when I received an order for a pair of earrings that I had had in stock, but had just sold the day before at another show. (I think it was, in fact, the one piece of jewelry I sold all that day at that particular show. Figures, right?) It was a style of earring that I could not make at home so grudgingly I realized I had to go to the studio, even though I really didn’t want to be there. I had nothing else to make — no new designs, and no other pieces I couldn’t make at home.
I was grumpy an annoyed. Even though I normally love being at the studio, I wasn’t in the mood.
Then the day before, an idea came to me. I am currently reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear [affiliate link], and she talks about how creative ideas as if they are these little creatures looking for the right person to inhabit. (She describes it much more eloquently than I and without making it sound like it’s a parasite. It’s a great book and everyone should read it.) It was strange how one moment I didn’t want to be in the studio and then suddenly this new design just popped into my head and suddenly I could not wait to go to the studio. The best part was it utilized a supply I had purchased in error — twice! — that I unfortunately could not return.
Perhaps that mistake was subconsciously intentional? Who knows! All I know is on Saturday I had an idea, Sunday morning I went into the metalsmithing studio with raw materials and left that afternoon with a finished necklace, the prototype for a new line of jewelry I am working on this year. (I almost never leave the studio with a new product that I just started that day.)
This past Saturday I went into the studio and made two more of these necklaces, with a new idea for another necklace that had popped into my mind the day before. I did not have time to start it, as these necklaces are quite labor intensive. To make them I have to saw wire into smaller pieces, solder each one into a circular shape (though in reality they look more like lumpy D’s at this point), throw them in a bath of acid for five minutes, shape them with a mandrel, clean them up a bit with a file, hammer them, resaw half of them open, loop them together, resolder the open ones, back into the bath of acid, tumble them, and attach the chain.
If that isn’t a labor of love, then I’m not sure what is!
(But seriously, I am having so much fun making these necklaced.)
After my frustrations with the end of last year’s season, I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be excited to making jewelry. I am reminded that when inspiration hits — or, as Elizabeth Gilbert describes, “When an idea thinks it has found somebody” — to run with it. You may surprise yourself and be completely rejuvenated and reminded why you do what you do.
What do you do when inspiration hits you
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on it and make a purchase I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.