Tuesday, August 26, 2008

making jewelry = a happy soul

I've come to the conclusion that the only sort of job I could truly be happy at is one where I'm my own boss. I hold high expectations of myself when my creative work is representative of who I am (whether it's making jewelery or making a five-course dinner); when doing what I love I can keep going for hours and hours without even thinking about glancing at a clock; I thrive off of the attention and knowing that someone else likes something that I made so very much, that they'll shell out their hard earned money so they can have it. It's a high for me.

I help staff the booth for the jewelry group i'm part of when we're at art and craft shows, and when I see someone try on a piece I made, or comment on one, or *gasp* buy one . . . it's indescribably awesome. I get all smiley, I can hear the blood rushing to my head, I get nervous and panicky; then as I see the person walking away, bag in hand and smile on face, for about 3 seconds I have this feeling come over me that I can only describe as the closest thing to "zen" as I'll ever attain.

I would love nothing more than to make jewelry all the time. And I could. Selling it is the only catch. I've been approached regarding another jewelry selling opportunity, and if the company's propritor likes the pieces I've presented, he'll buy them from me outright. No waiting for art shows or people to stumble on a website. That would be so freaking sweet. Especially for someone like me, where jewelry was only a minor in college . . . by the time I figured out I liked it as much as I did, that it was an addiction not just a bunch of classes, the financial aid would have run out before finishing school.

I found a program that I really want to attend. Once I have enough saved. Like, $15,000 saved. It's the New Approach School out of Virginia. It's a 12 to 15 week program where I would be a certified bench jeweler at the end of the program. I know 2 people who have gone through it and they are the most skilled, proficient, and technically perfect jewelry artists I know.

Do I really want to attain perfection? Isn't the reason why my jewelry is so popular because it's whimsical and has an unpolished, unperfected, raw appeal? Yeah. I've been told so. I would also like to know how to set a facted stone. I did some in college, but I set them in nontraditional ways (set stones upside-down, set them in prongs coming from the top and bottom, set them in tabs, and set them using the natural tension of the metal). I'd like to learn those other skills and really do it well. Then I could get a job at a jewelers'. But, I'd probably start to not like jewelry . . . I'd spend most of my time repairing other peoples stuff instead of creating my own. What if all those newfangled skills mess up my mojo? Stunt my passion for questioning what's considered to be precious? Stop using found and recycled items? Don't think I'd like that much. I'd rather make a ring out of a piece of a broken plate I dug up in my yard while gardening versus setting a 2 carat diamond any day.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Well, actually . . .

I worked a total of fourteen days in a row. Yes. I survived. I also made it through last week and refused to work at all over this weekend. That meant that I worked until 9pm on Friday, but I had a weekend. A lazy, unproductive, not-feeling-well weekend. The most productive thing I did was take my mom and sister to an Iron Pigs baseball game to celebrate my mom's 62nd birthday. Mom had an order of Conway's pulled pork nachos; my sister was grossed out by the fact that the stadium sells pork products ("Why would you eat your mascot?!" my vegetarian sister remarked loudly), and I made it through without killing anyone.

I've found many ways to spend my overtime money. Including buying two new purses from www.bellasbag.com. The owner is from Emmaus and she makes all these bags herself and right now they're having an inventory clearance sale (they're clearing out to list all new styles, fabrics, etc.) . . . if you put "50" in the coupon section at checkout, your whole order is 50% off. Sweet. I also ordered fabric for curtains and decorative curtain rods and holdback-things. I still intend to go to Ikea this coming weekend to get light fixtures, lamps and light bulbs, and a new medicine cabinet. I'm convinced that pleasing lighting can change the whole look and feel of a room and it's worth the rewiring of fixtures and addition of new lamps.

I found a dream job listed yesterday . . . so I applied. "Applied" being, e-mailed a cover letter and attachment of my resume. If they can match my salary requirements, I'd definately take the position. It would be a lot closer to home, I'd actually use skills I acquired while in college, and it's jewelry based. Plus, flexible hours and no more than 40 hours a week. I'm already covered by Husband's insurance, so no worry about lack of benefits. I don't have sick days now, so it isn't like I'd miss not having them. Would I miss paid vacation? Yeah. Though, I'd figure out either a way to save to be able to afford days off, or I'd find a part-time job as well and allot that money just for vacation/personal day usage; something tax-free like babysitting, which I am awesome at and actually miss doing. Wish me luck.

Not too much else going on in my world. My first tomatoes of the season have ripened, been plucked, sliced and eaten. I just know that they're all going to get ripe at the same time. Tomato sandwiches forever! It's the best late-summer snack. Along with fresh peach cobbler. Because dessert always wins. Reminds me of a line from a Rock Band song . . . it's in reference to a game called "Portal," (object of the game is you need to make it through these tasks and this computer is talking you through them and encouraging you, saying if you make it to the end, there will be cake . . . and everyone loves cake and everything is better with cake). Well, the joke is, once you get to the end there's all sorts of other levels to get through and turns out the computer is trying to kill you . . . and it keeps teasing about that damn cake ("it's so moist and delicious . . ." blah, blah, blah). Long and incomplete story short . . . a line from the Rock Band song has become my new mantra:

"There's no use crying over every mistake;
you just keep on trying till you run out of cake."

What's it mean? Not sure yet, exactly. I've always been about celebrating little victories. Maybe it means when you run out of cake, you've gotten through all the little victories, thus equating one large victory. When you've run out of cake, you've completed your task. "Cake" would have to be a metaphor, though, otherwise I'd have to start wearing muu muus and other such lovely ensembles from the Roaman's catalog (www.roamans.com).