Friday, January 25, 2008

What I wanna be when I grow up

I turned 50 this past September. That has been the most significant milestone in my life as of yet. Turning 30 or 40 is nothing compared to turning 50. I wonder how I'll feel when I turn 60.

Turning 50 isn’t a scary thing to do. At 50 a person is still young enough to redesign, redefine, refine and so many other redo’s in thought, feeling, career, lifestyle, roads to travel.

Mentally, I do not feel old. My body is begging to differ with my mind. It’s expanded. It creaks in the morning or after sitting for long stretches at my work bench. I know there are a number of things a body can do to forestall the approach of physical break down. But those things take time. And time has taken on a whole new meaning in my life.

There are so many things I want to do when I grow up. I’ve been making jewelry for about 4 years now and it was a totally new thing for me when I was introduced to the craft. We all start by string beads. Everybody strings beads. After a few hundred strings, a mind is itching to do something else.

In comes wire. Wire is a newbie jewelry maker’s enemy at the beginning. Wire is needed to make chains of beads. Chains of beads are good. They are fun, pretty and definitely different from stringing beads. Chains of beads gives a person a true sense of accomplishment. Especially since not everyone makes chains. Everyone strings beads, but they don’t make chains.

But man, getting the loops uniform in size! Getting the wrapping uniform in number of coils and tension! Tension is important in wrapping just as it’s important in knitting and crochet. But while you can unravel knit and crochet and rework, that’s harder to do with wire. Working the metal hardens it, so unwrapping and reworking takes the metal beyond the breaking point. So practice, practice, practice and patience is critical for a jewelry crafter to work with wire.

So now there are strings of beads and chains of beads all over the house. Now what? Ooooh, jump rings can be woven!??! Chain maille. Or do we say chainmaille? Chain mail? Chainmail? Well, however you write it, it all sounds the same. And it’s a fascinating, intriguing and fun expansion to one’s craft! There are not nearly as many chainmaille artists as there are stringers and chain makers. And there’s a variety of weaves requiring a variety of skill levels. I can feel the 50-year old synapses firing and making new connections. Dementia is pushed back another couple of years! Still feeling like a kid here.

But like any kid, my eyes are so much larger than my hands, or in this case, skills. I’ve wanted to continue to grow in my craft and at this point there are many roads in front of me. I want a tumbler to make rocks look pretty. I want to cut stones. I want to facet gems. I want to learn the art and craft of glass, especially dichroic. I want to form metals into pretty things. I want to go back to school, but this time instead of accounting, I want to study minerals and metals and smithing.

I want to be like this when I grow up.

You can find this gorgeous piece here:
etruscan cuff
The Etsy shop is here:

No comments: