Monday, March 05, 2012

Abandoning writing for jewellery


I’d been harbouring the details of the jewellery school for quite some time but it took the crisis I outlined yesterday, and the total despair I was feeling about my writing, before I plucked up the courage to email the contact. Now, five or so weeks in, I can’t imagine what all the fuss was about.

None of the anxiety was about the jewellery making; rather finding the place. And would I like it? Would there be any other students? Would I be able to make the things I wanted? Would it solve my creative crisis?

It didn’t ever occur to me that I might find it difficult. If that sounds arrogant I do apologise. What I mean is that since I have a fine art degree, tucked away at the back of my brain I thought ‘how hard can it be? It’s simply a different material…’ During my degree we were expected to turn our hands to whatever material the project needed. (For my degree show I learned some advanced ceramics: to make my own mould, to make the negative, then the positive and to slip cast from the mould but I know none of the processes that might lead up to that!) I am then, something of a dilettante. Oh dear. Still, I thought ‘how hard can it be?’

The answer to that, dear reader, is BLOODY HARD. Not only is metal really, really tough but also everything you make for jewellery is TINY. And not only do I NOT have biceps on my fingers but also my hands, it turns out, are like bunches of fat bananas. And that isn’t even getting involved in the delights of the old lady eyesight I’m developing. There are really scary processes like soldering which involves flames and gas and heating things that you’ve spent hours cutting (badly) and filing (to put your mistakes right) and you might melt them if you do it wrong. And that's not to mentioning the potential to set the studio alight. 

So the second lesson I went to I took a cup of tea in a flask for the stress and big bag of humility. And things got a bit better. I stopped breaking the saw blades quite so frequently but I was still scared of soldering or forgetting that I could only fish things out of the acid with the copper pincers.

Now, several weeks on I have begun to learn (some respect.) I can solder with more confidence without Khun Gim standing next to me. (Update to say: apart from today when I kept losing bits of solder. I couldn’t seem to coordinate my two hands to hold the fire in one and rescue the microscopic piece of solder with the other!) I break fewer saw blades when I am calm and if I am careful to cut things neatly, they require less tidying up. Attention to detail is really important. Slap dash doesn’t do. (Slap dash is part of my personality. *Sigh*)

Here’s what I’ve made so far (including the dodgy stuff.)

You can find out more about One Form One Piece Jewellery School here and check out some pictures on Facebook here.


11 comments:

Sue Guiney said...

Wow! these are great! I'm so glad you're enjoying it, and that you stopped beating yourself up about the writing. I think it is the creative impulse that's really important, and doing something with it that is fulfilling. God knows, that doesn't have to be writing. And the world can always use more beautiful jewellery. Xo

Jenny Beattie said...

Thanks Sue. I'll let someone know about the world needing beautiful jewellery because I suspect it won't be made by me!

Flowerpot said...

Those are gorgeous JJ - keep at it you have real talent! xx

Shirley Wells said...

These are wonderful. Many congratulations! I especially love the Wiggle and Bunting necklaces. Fabulous.

Jenny Beattie said...

Thank you, Flowerpot. A mediocre talent, I think.

Shirley, thank you too. I like those two as well and I'm rather fond of the Lisbeth Salander ring too.

BEAST said...

They are fab JJ. And I'm so please you have found another outlet for your creative talents, and one that doesn't require you to hoard huge bags of materials in our apartment including: cloth, plastic, ribbons, metal, tape, glass, wire, hats, buttons, paper, card, bags, silk, masks, tulle, leather, cut out bits from other things, empty envelopes, second hand clothing, and the metal bits that pull off the top of a drinks can if you wiggle it enough!

Carol said...

They ROCK! I would so buy the Lisbeth Salander ring...and the bunting...and the...

Your a talented lady

C x

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I think you have the patience of a saint! I'm all fingers and thumbs and would find jewellery crafting quite hard, not to mention fiddly! Great designs, by the way.

CJ x

Chris Stovell said...

Clever, clever stuff. I bet you're not half as fat-fingered and awkward as you think - well, clearly you're not because you've got all these lovely goodies to show for it. Please keep showing us your work.

Liz said...

Wow! Great stuff!
I love jewellery making, but I've never been let loose on anything involving melting metal...think I'd quite like it! I lack the patience for anything much bigger than earrings though. Would love to have the time for some proper training.

Jenny Beattie said...

Thanks guys. I am really enjoying it. I'll keep posting pictures for as long as you can bear it.