Monday, August 27, 2012

The necklace that saved my sanity

During my almost 10 year long failed attempt at marriage and adulthood, I tried so many times to discover myself. After giving up big, powerful, career-woman dreams, I decided to go to community college and major in interior design. My parents were of the engineer type and creativity was never going to be a suitable career field for me. Rebellious as I was am, I majored in Fashion Design. Nope! I switched to English, the most artistic thing allowed by my CPA mother, when my mother (may God rest her soul) informed me that the best job I could hope to have was managing the Gap. So, English it was. I hated it and ended up dropping out of college a short semester before I was set to graduate and begin my depressing career as an admin-assistant/wannabe writer. Looking back, managing the Gap would have been a sweet gig. I'm a fan of their t-shirts!

Let's skip to my marriage.  In my marriage, it was never really, um... encouraged to create much. In my ex-husband's pretend OCD eyes (more on that later), all I ever really managed to create was a mess. While this is most definitely true, it still kinda sucked. So, I tried to think of a creative outlet befitting of a soccer mom.
Scrapbooking! What a nightmare! I feel like for so many people, scrapbooking is a way to pull focus from an ugly picture. Sure, it's a good idea in theory, but I am trained in photography (note- I said trained not talented!) and I like my photograph to tell the story.
I then thought, well, if my job is creative, then it's cool! Community college, here I come! I planned to major in interior design. Problem? My family is only cool with 4 year degrees, and not one of the 1,975 colleges in my area offer a bachelor's in interior design. So, graphic design! Yes!!! A growing, in-demand field, creative, decent pay, and I would get to call myself an artist. Hooray!!!! Nope.

The demands on my time took a toll. My first semester, I took 2 classes. Art 121, The Elements and Principles of Design, and Photography 101. Both were required courses, and both were so incredibly time consuming, I dropped the Art class. Next semester, I re-took the art class and spent about 50 hours each week on homework. Ex-Husband was dissatisfied, to say the least. We divorced shortly after that class ended.

After a couple more intense semesters, I dropped out of community college.

But, I still felt like my life was bland. I took up painting. After all, I had just taken all these art classes. I've designed a ton of wedding invitations, birthday party invitations, business cards, etc... and I liked loved doing it! I totally can paint! Yeah, no. I suck at painting. 
As a way to mitigate my bordem and alleviate stress from the upstairs' neighbor situation, I took up jewelry making. It started with me trying to copy this amazing, simple, and incredibly expensive necklace and then I turned into a full fledged addict! I had a new creative outlet! I also discovered that working with my hands puts me into a serious Zen-like state, something I didn't know how much I truly needed.
Here's the necklace I was trying to duplicate. Elva Fields is a beautiful artist and I felt horrible trying to copy her piece. It's not a terribly difficult piece, and I certainly spent significantly less on the supplies needed to make this (I actually spent more, but that's another story), but it just felt dirty somehow. Like I was stealing. Needless to say, I still have yet to complete this necklace almost 6 months after I started it.
Although this piece remains in the "works in progress" pile, and I see it almost every day, it remains sad and incomplete. However, what this dirty, seedy necklace did was spark my creativity and make me feel whole again. I now have a way to express myself, meditate, and create. Life feels so full and complete when one can create something. Making jewelry is relaxing, cathartic, soothing, and super fun! Since stringing this relatively easy necklace, I have challenged myself to take my jewelry making to a new level. I've taught myself wire work, macrame, earrings, and the list goes on. This silly little necklace project reminded me that I need goals in my life. I need challenges. And most important, this silly little necklace taught me that I can actually achieve those goals and overcome those challenges. 

And even though I totally copied her idea, I'm cool with it because I couldn't even find the same kind of beads she used so I just made it my own. Now I know I didn't copy or steal her idea, I just used another artists' work as inspiration. I love making jewelry, and although I am no where close to being as talented as Elva Fields (seriously, check out her website. The woman is amazing!), I found a healthy, creative passion that helps keep me sane. Ok, mostly sane.

As I finish this up, I really want to go finish this necklace so I can wear it tomorrow, get tons of compliments, and feel full and complete because I'm wearing something I created. And that feels amazing!

And on that note, I'll be using this blog to show off some jewelry (mine and other people's) and I might even do some sort of tutorials, just in case I might inspire someone else.

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