I have decided to do a Jewelry Challenge for the month of October. It is a little different than my previous challenges in which the goal was to work on the habit of regularly creating jewelry. This challenge will have a different category each week. If you would like to participate in this jewelry challenge with me, join my Facebook group where I am hosting it… https://www.facebook.com/groups/495846887292459/. I will announce the theme for each week on Monday and then have the whole week to complete the challenge and post a picture to share it.
The theme for the first week was “your nemesis”. It is something that you know how to do in wire work, but struggle with doing or avoid doing. My nemesis is mirroring and by default earrings. It is incredibly frustrating to my brain to try and figure out how to do the reverse of what I have just done. I know that I can do it, but I don’t feel like I can do it very well, and if you have read my blog at all you probably know that is a big problem for me. I like my wire work to be impeccably neat and tidy. Seeing things neat and orderly sparks great joy for me and when I see things in my own work that don’t flow in that way I start to struggle. I think it shows my humanity too much…which may sound strange, but I haven’t been very comfortable with my humanity in general. As a perfectionist in general I don’t like mistakes and I don’t like messy, but the Lord has really been helping me in this and I have grown a lot in becoming okay with being human and it showing in my work.
I chose to make a pair of earrings this week in order to face my nemesis. I thought I would do fine and while it would be hard, I didn’t doubt I could do it. Well that is nice in theory, but when life comes in and dumps a bunch of messy emotions and hard things on you that theory falls through. I know I have grit and I am capable, but sometimes life throws you such a curve ball that you are left reeling from the pain and wonder when you will recover. That has been true for me for the six weeks. I mentioned in my last blog post that my sister passed away on August 26th. Well yesterday would have been her 32nd birthday. It was a hard day, but it has been a hard week emotionally knowing that her birthday was coming. Given all of this I found my resolve really weak…especially since I was working on something I would rather not do. I might have questioned my sanity in picking such a hard category in starting off the challenge, but I have never been one to do things the easy way.
The earrings I chose to make were the Rolling Seas Earrings which is a tutorial created by Nicole Hanna. I like all of the weaving that went into making these earrings, but the mirroring was a challenge. I don’t think it was as big of a deal this time because my heart wasn’t really in making them. I am finding the connection between my emotions and my wire work interesting. I am not quite as worried about getting everything perfect right now. I am more interested in just getting something done rather than obsessing over all the little details. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing, for right now it just is. We shall see how it plays out in the long term. I know that I don’t want to produce sloppy work, but neither do I want to be so obsessed with perfection that I can’t enjoy the process of making something.
Anyway, after some serious procrastination I did actually finish the earrings. Something did go wrong in the process though and I had to alter them a little.
Here is a picture where the tutorial ended…
Houston, we have a problem! After thinking about it I know where I went wrong. There is a point in the tutorial that mentioned making a slight U shape. Well I usually over do things so I was trying to emphasize the slight part of the U and as a result I got the above finished product. 🙂 Now I have done enough tutorials to know that the early shaping in a tutorial is usually something that you can’t recover from if you do it wrong, and you usually won’t realize there is something wrong until much later in the tutorial…usually near the end. Having that knowledge has saved me from messing up a lot of pieces, but sadly I fell into that hole with this one. In the past I would have felt like such a failure and not known how to finish the project. The difference this time around is my determination to finish and I have gained the knowledge of how to fix it, so I tried to make the best of the circumstances.
Here are some picture of my finished earrings…
They didn’t turn out too bad, but they are not my favorite thing I have made. I will probably like them more in the future as I distance myself from the making of them. 🙂 Oh mirroring…will there ever be a time when you are not my nemesis?! I am not sure, but I do know that I sure felt great when I finished them! I think when something is a real challenge there is such a genuine satisfaction in the completion of it.
Some of the things I have learned or remembered from this experience are…
~Remember to pay attention in the early parts of shaping in a tutorial because it can greatly effect the shape of your whole piece.
~Trying something again, especially something you dislike is a good growth experience.
~I am gaining really good problem solving abilities in my wire work.
~Even when things seem too hard and life seems too much, I can go on with the Lord’s help.
~My heart doesn’t have to be in something for me to do it and do it well.
~Being vulnerable can be hard, but it is helpful to others…to let them know they are not alone in their struggles and in the end it reminds me I am not alone in my struggles.
I have completed another piece that I am calling my “grief pendant”. I am not sure when I will actually get around to sharing it, but I hope it will be this month. Well, I think that is it for this week. I hope you all have a blessed week!