The beginning of any journey can be exciting and intimidating, and looking back on it can be so rewarding. I remember sitting at a jewellery bench for the very first time while studying fine art at Uni, knowing I had a block of weeks stretching before me with the expected outcome being finished jewellery pieces. I had very little confidence that I was up to the task. Even as the daughter of a welder, witness to feats of steel, I found it difficult to comprehend the medium of metal. That something as strong and unforgiving as metal could be filed delicately, bent sensuously, patterned and polished. How was I to frame my creative ideas within this practice?
I watched third year jewellers going about their work. Assured in their processes, rhythmic in their movements, anticipating each step in a seemingly endless line of complicated traditional procedures. The intimidation never left me. Thank goodness for youthful curiosity, a thirst for knowledge, the desire to push outside our boundaries, and of course, nervous energy. I was only 17 years old.
When later I was at the jewellery bench, being paid to work with my hands, I had learnt many of those processes. It felt like an initiation into an age old practice. I understood the purpose of flux, the melting point of solder, the difficulties in achieving a high polish and that by learning the main techniques, like in knitting, nearly anything is then possible. It really is about taking each small step at a time and building on your previous knowledge.
Making custom pieces has reminded me that I had once thought it wasn't possible for me to channel my own creative impulses in metal. Yet now, with a customers shared vision, I am able to channel not just my creative dreams but theirs too. It's such an exciting and challenging endeavor. And I don't think that is something I will ever grow out of.
New pieces now in the shop.