Spring has sprung around here and we are truly enjoying the longer days, warmer weather and plenty of time spent with face to the sun.
And just as the freshness of Spring brings on the marathon house cleaning sessions, I'm finding my mind doing a little house cleaning as well.
It's far too often that my mind hurls me into this whirlwind of self-doubt and questioning of my abilities when the work of my hands isn't as productive as the work of someone else's.
"What's she got that I don't?"
"Why are her designs so much more popular than mine?"
It's a beyond vicious cycle that really puts you into a free-fall spin.
The result is this "design-to-sell" mentality that doesn't have place in the mind of someone whose goal is to be an artist. If my goal is to make money, it doesn't take a genius to do a little market research (i.e. scan the Etsy Jewelry page) and figure out what the trends are.
But is that really me?
Do I want to simply pour resources and time into creating a mini production house or do I want to reach for something way higher?
Am I content with my skill set or do I want to add to my cache of knowledge, challenging my hands and heart to stretch their capabilities to leave behind me a body of work that my children will one day consider hidden treasures and not antiquated trends?
It's sad to me that I would even begin to equate my level of talent with the money that it generates (or doesn't).
Also ridiculous that in my work I'm essentially exchanging a precious metal which has shown to hold its value over time for a fiat currency that hasn't.
This is the kind of Spring Cleaning I'm talking about, a sweeping out of the junk that clutters the creative mind and allowing that space to be filled with the beauty of what I'm seeing day to day.
A baby growing into a girl, a bush that was just branches suddenly alive with color, a nest full of eggs destined to be a flock of birdies, and even the growth of my fully grown sisters into kind and confident women.
I'm also learning about my craft, immersing my self in stone and silver, studying gems and their birthplaces, but also the traditions of silversmiths going back generations whose work allows our work to be possible. Trying to suck every ounce of productivity out of the precious moments when I'm not needed by anyone else but my bench.
These latest designs are mine. They feel like me, and they come from a place that is really very real to me. They are made to order in my shop, which may collide with my desire to not do production work, but is it production if each whack of the hammer and stroke of the saw produce the real work of my hands and heart?
To me, that feels like sharing. Each bangle, each charm, each band is my way to share with others the work of my hands and heart, the design dictated not by the fleeting trend of a celebrity or the say-so of a fashion mag.
The closest I've come is my stacking rings, though I feel like Mama Bird is the center of my stacks and the other bands and stones were made to complement her.
Here is the work of my hands this week:
Each of these items is in the shop as a Made to Order item.
The first are my Feather Bearer Bangles. I currently have copper in the shop, but am working on a silver version. Each feather is hand stamped, the bangle is cut from the surrounding sheet (by my own two hands and gigantic saw) and the final version given this lovely dark patina so the feathers just jump off the bangle.
These little Solito Rings were made to complement my Mama Bird, but I've had some requests for them on their own, so they are also in the shop, and I'm currently offering them in the same stones as my birthstone rings.
Finally, my Pluma Rings.
Sterling Silver Feathers jingle and jangle with a turquoise drop from a 5mm band.
The best part about prototyping is that I get to keep the finished product and this little guy hasn't left my thumb since I made him and my most loyal customer (my sis) has already ordered one.
Thank you for stopping by to read this and I hope you're having a lovely Spring!