Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How do you spell Relief?

Over a year ago, I started a piece of jewelry for a client who is also a very good friend. Making jewelry for friends is a special kind of pressure. I know that I do good work, but still worry that my results will be disappointing. I don't know why I worry so much, but it's part of my personality.

Anyway, this woman started taking jewelry from me back at the beginning when my creativity was showing, but my skill set wasn't that wide, and is still commissioning me to make her pieces. She seems happy with my work, and definitely gives me a boost of confidence.

Anyway, I started this piece a long long time ago, but my body took the reins of my life, I got very sick, and was unable to produce anything of any meaning for almost twelves months. I certainly wasn't well enough to continue the exacting work that this piece required.

As I got better earlier this year, I started making some jewelry, but was afraid to work on her order. My brain had not fully recovered yet, and I didn't have the confidence required to work with materials that were not my own. (She supplied me with pounds of family heirloom beads to work with.) Then, as I became weller, I had the confidence to start and complete a necklace that is striking on it's own accord, but not as far outside of my personal box as my current work is.

Once that project was completed, I decided to go back to work on this:

The progress has been agonizing. Not so much for the bead embroidery, but for lining it with leather. I'm not going to show you the original result, but let's just say that I wasn't happy with it. In fact, I found some new friends at a Beading Group about a month ago, and T- even said to me point blank, "The back of your work should be as beautiful as the front." Then she gave me advice on how to improve my output.

I was relieved that my fears were confirmed, but with a way to improve my work. I took that advice to heart, came home, and started the lining process all over again. This time in gold foil stamped leather. The result was beautiful. But still not satisfying. It needed something more.

But finally I came upon the answer. I am now stringing a beaded web over the leather, and getting such positive reinforcement that I can hardly believe it. In fact, some people, before seeing the actual front of the piece, get excited because they assume that the back is the focal point!

In therapy today, Dr. M- asked me why I was putting such effort in a part of the piece that would not even be seen. I had an immediate answer for him, in the form of a question. Why are jackets lined in beautiful silk? Because the owner knows that it is there.

I am making the back of this piece beautiful because S- will know it's there even though the world will not. And I will know too.

* * * * *

I also have an answer to the agonizing question that I posed yesterday. Did my animal print top make me cool or old?

As I was getting out of my car after my therapy appointment, I ran into two girls, ages 12 and 14, who live up in the front of my condominium building. When they saw me, they both got the biggest smiles I've seen out of them in a long time.

"That's the coolest Cheetah Top I've ever seen!" one exclaimed.

The other replied, "I want one too. Where did you get it?"

If the pre-teen set approves of my wardrobe, I know that I am dressing appropriately.


Ang said...

the piece is beautiful and the recipient will be very happy..

Summer said...

Beautiful! That is the only word for it. :)

Claudia said...

Your work keeps evolving getting better and better. This piece is absolutely gorgeous. I love the back. It looks like designer jewelery and as you know, I love designer stuff. S is extremely lucky.

Love ya,

LI Laura said...

All I can say is, lucky "S-"!


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