I recently purchased two beautiful beads on Etsy from dichroic glass artist Shawna Hovey of Chrysalis Dreams. The pictures of the beads were lovely enough to move me to purchase them, but when they arrived – WOW – so much more than the pictures could show. I was thrilled but somewhat intimidated. Could I do justice to the beauty of the beads? I set them aside and I waited.
Tonight the teardrop bead called me and I felt it was time.
Out came the tools and – for these beads – the sterling silver wire. My style is usually free form – take a piece of wire and just start but the beauty of the bead . . . the cost of the sterling silver wire . . . certainly I had to PLAN for this project. The bead was traced and possible tracks for the wires plotted and replotted before the wire cutters make their first cut.
Heaven help me – the first attempt didn’t work. Try again – move the wire this way – move it that way – try to accomplish the plan. YUCK! It just wasn’t going well. What to do?
Faced with doubt, I returned to my roots and just let go. I followed the will of the bead and the wire. I did something that intellectually I just shouldn’t have done I twisted and turned the wire on which the bead was hanging. Hmmmm that didn’t look half bad. So I added a twist here and a wire there and it wanted a bend over there and a curve there.
I saw a lovely floral bead. I didn’t see the flowering vine from which it was plucked. When I let go and rested in my own style of wire working – when I allowed the intuition that is a large part of creativity to rule my eyes and hands – there it was.
Did I do justice to the gorgeous dichroic glass work? I hope so. But I am feeling good about what I did.
Sometimes we all need to be reminded to be true to who we are and how we work. Sometimes we need to be reminded to trust our intuition and let it flow through whatever creative expression we pursue.
Several weeks ago I was offered an exciting opportunity. My friend Dee is a wonderful water color artist. She had the thought that perhaps some of her “cast off” work might be usable in making tags for my jewelry. We’d be up-cycling pieces of her work that would otherwise be destined for a dust bin. I LOVED the idea and was sure I could find some way to make the idea work.
Tonight I took a detour from wire wrapping pretty pendants while watching Dancing With the Stars and took my Cricut Expression cutting machine out of the box. I searched through my pattern cartridges and found two ideas to start. I cut and assembled a small gift bag which was embellished with a strip of one of Dee’s water colors. Then I cut out a butterfly shadow tag and pasted it over another piece of Dee’s work.
How exciting! Art supporting art. The tags I can make from Dee’s work will tell the story of my work. Water color – paper crafting – jewelry making . . . Woohoo . . . excuse me if I join the dancers on the TV and do a little happy dance around my living room. I am so pleased that Dee presented me with this idea. I am so pleased with the initial results of this collaboration.
You can see Dee’s artwork on her FB page https://www.facebook.com/WallaceStudios or follow her blog at http://dianewallacestudio.wordpress.com
I’ve long known that I suffer from the perfectionism disease. I come by it honestly having been born of two parents who were perfectionists and my life is strewn with things that I didn’t do because I perceived I couldn’t do them perfectly. But one day I recognized the disease and decided to battle it. This weekend it reared it’s ugly head. I had a beautiful flamework glass bead with subtle colors of peach and pink and gold and maroon and I wanted to wire wrap it in 18 gauge silver craft wire. When it was nearly finished I was happy with the flow of the wrap design. But, there was a spot – mmmmm – just tighten that one little spot and it will be better, I thought. Wrong! In trying to tighten the wrap I marred the wire. I tried to fix it this way. I tried to fix it that way. All the time the flaw grew worse. I thought it had been one of the best designs I wrapped that day and intended it for sale but now it was flawedin such a way that it could not be sold. My first thought was to take out the wire cutters and start over. It had been a long afternoon, though and this was the last piece I was wrapping and I just didn’t want to start over at that point. So, channeling Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With the Wind I determined “I’ll think about that tomorrow.
In fact, though, I couldn’t keep the thought of the “ruined” pendant out of my head and my thoughts took me to a consideration of the curse of perfectionism. What did others have to say?
Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing. ~Harriet Braiker
A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault. ~John Henry Newman
and – Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without. ~Confucius
Nothing particularly new in these thoughts.
But I also found something I had never heard before – never considered. It seems that Navajo blankets are deliberately woven with a flaw. Because human beings are flawed seeking perfection in the weave offends the spirits and, since the weaver invests part of him/herself in the creation of the design and weave, a flaw must be included without which the weaver’s spirit would have no means of escape.
I’m keeping keeping this lovely pendant and the flaw in its wire wrapping and I’ve given it the name “I Am Flawed”. As a matter of fact I put it on a maroon ribbon and wore it to work today. Every time I see it – every time I wear it I want to be reminded that there is a part of me – my creativity – my time – my energy that is a part of every piece of jewelry I make. To seek to make perfection would entrap my spirit in an endless pursuit of something I cannot attain. I am human. I am flawed. This pendant shall remind me that while I choose to pursue excellence I also embrace my humanness and all the flaws that come with it and I embrace the expression my art brings to who I am.
Without a doubt I’m having SO much fun and there should be no surprise it’s coming out in the designs. Tonight I wire wrapped three very different pieces – one a piece of a geode, one a beautiful blue and gold glass flamework bead and the third a polished stone bead. They are different materials and different evolutions in their wrap. But, without a doubt my favorite is the polished cut stone. It’s called “In a Spin”. In a spin is how I’m feeling these days. There’s such fun and so much reward in following your heART. It’s truly a blessing. As I look at the work represented by In a Spin I can see those blessings swirling about. And, as I contemplate it – isn’t that a large part of what art is about – the process of bringing what’s inside out? Is it the beauty of a sunset caught in oils? The photograph of friend, family or love? The broad brush strokes of a watercolor capturing a beautiful landscape? Something captures our heart and we long to express it. Tonight for me this piece totally captures the tide of blessings swirling around me. Thank you, God, for the gift of this ability to create something of beauty and for the many ways you’re blessing me through people and circumstances as I follow my heART.
Tonight the pendant is Yellow Jade wrapped in copper craft wire. I had three pieces is this beautiful Yellow Jade just waiting for me to wire wrap. It was a hard start with this stone since I’m accustomed to either wrapping a piece through which I can thread multiple pieces of wire – or mounting a cabochon in the wire wrap. This was the first time to for me to try the single wire to which other wires would also be attached. So this was a new learning experience for me. It had me growling a little at the start, but in the end it all worked out. Then came the naming. Actively engaged in singing since a child, my brain often thinks in lyrics and for this piece my brain immediately went to a song by Donovan – Mellow Yellow and I found myself singing “I’m just wild about Saffron. Saffron’s wild about me. . . they call me Mellow Yellow”. Smiling my thoughts went back to “the day” riding in the car and singing along with Donovan on the radio . . “they call me Mellow Yellow.” But SERIOUSLY . . . the next thing should be to look up Yellow Jade and see if there was a name in its properties. Turns out that yellow jade is is representative of joy and happiness. So, the name Mellow Yellow sticks and I’m left with a feeling of joy and happiness both in tapping into my creative spirit and heART and in the memories evoked by Mellow Yellow. May you too find joy and happiness in tapping into your God given creativity and may your spirit rejoice!
Spent some totally enjoyable time Sunday networking with my friend, Dee Wallace – check out her blog at http://dianewallacestudio.wordpress.com/ – As the discussion went to the fact that in the past week I hadn’t made any new wire wrap pieces because I just didn’t seem to have the time, Dee made a suggestion I want to follow. Working full time sometimes seems like it leaves little time for the creative time I want to invest in my jewelry work. It’s easy to set it aside. “I’m too tired.” “The time just isn’t there.” “There are so many other things to do.” That’s the easy way. Dee talked about her commitment to doing something every day that supported her heart – her art. She encouraged me to do the same. Creating my art – creating any art – is, indeed a commitment. In some ways no different that the commitment to go to the gym every day. It’s good for the body – it good for stress relief. It develops the muscles you need to stay healthy – it develops the creative muscles needed to keep moving forward in your art. Sometimes it’s a joy and sometimes it’s a chore – but always it’s facilitates health whether health of the body or health of the spirit. So I’m following Dee’s advice. Everyday – at least one thing to support my heART. Here’s one of today’s contributions. “You Make my Heart Sparkle”. I named it that because the geode slice reminded me of a heart and the crystals in the geode contribute such a lovely little sparkle. As I write these words and contemplate my work tonight and it’s contribution to my heART – a truth becomes evident to me. Working with the wire – forming the mounting for the geode slice – embellishing this already beautiful work of nature does, indeed, make my heart sparkle!