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
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