Picking up the torch
It's pretty surreal to be on the verge of launching a website based on my work, my ideas, my efforts. I'm not the type of person who's extremely self confident or who handles failure well. And yet, 7 months after sitting down at the bench for the first time, here I am putting myself out there by breathing life into a new business that I built from the ground up (something I never ever thought I was capable of). I have one craft that I can thank for finally giving me that ever elusive belief in self: silversmithing.
Working with metal and stone and heat and technique has given me an outlet for my (at times) critical nature by diverting that energy into productive time at the bench. I can channel it into filing that edge into perfect alignment, hunting for that perfect solder join, or remaking that bezel so that the snug fit around the stone is just right. My overthinking, anxious, and meticulous tendencies have found finally found a home at the bench, and what a joy it has been to give these feelings space to be without causing crippling self doubt.
Since I was a kid I’ve always been at home in the garage -- among power tools, piles of 2x4’s, 5-gallon buckets and repurposed peanut butter jars filled with nails and screws and fittings of all sizes. This space is where you can often find my dad, with the garage door open on warm days and Tom Petty jamming loud on the CD player. He’s always been the type of person with a can-do, can-make attitude, and sawdust will always remind me of him. There is a beautiful sweetness to the way wood smells when it it being cut or sanded. His workshop was the place where I saw many things come into creation, like tables, benches, and custom racks for garden hoses. He has never ceased to astound me what he can make with his own two hands. That very same workshop is where all of my learning is happening right now, the space where all my work is coming out of.
Dad took some silversmithing classes and was making his own jewelry 15 years ago, and now I’ve literally picked up the torch a decade and half later to make my own . He showed me the ropes with the oxy-acetylene torch, how to saw metal with the indispensable tool of the jeweler’s saw, how to carefully paint flux on to protect the metal from discoloration due to heat… all the basics I learned from him. Since then I’ve been devouring every library book available on metalworking or silversmithing, watching hours of YouTube tutorials and combing through online message boards. In the future, I hope to take formal classes but I’m happy teaching myself through trial and error for now.
Every item you see in my shop has taken hours of work, with many of those hours crammed in after I get home from work at 10 pm and staying up until 3 am. They are all the fruits forged by the new fire lit inside of me. All of this jewelry is the product of learning from many mistakes, sawed into fingertips, filed off fingernails, and tiny components dropped on the floor with me hunting them down on my hands and knees with the flashlight on my phone. Every item here is handmade with love and intuition, with the hopes that whoever ends up with my jewelry on their body finds some sort of joy in it -- whether it makes them feel loved, powerful, beautiful, fancy, or complete. I’ve always adored jewelry and all types of adornments, and these past few months I’ve been thinking a lot about what jewelry means to people, but I’ll go more into that at a later time.
Anyway, thanks for reading and being here for the beginning. This is all new territory for me, so just know that those of you that have made one of my pieces yours or trusted me with important commissions for special people, and EVERY single positive comment any of you has left on a social media post, told me in person, or shot to me in a text message… all of that sweet support has bolstered my newfound belief in self and in this venture. All of your words are what I reach for when I have those moments in the middle of the night when I'm telling myself that there's no way I can pull this off.
Believe me when I say that this could not be done without you all.
Big love and much appreciation, always. Let's see where this thing goes, eh?