That was a question that someone asked me after my return from Rochester and upon seeing my bracelet. I imagine that the comment came from the fact that I had studied the same technique at Ghost Ranch last summer and that the new bracelet is in that same style.
So what DID I learn in Rochester? I learned a new way to look at my work.
When I got to Judith's studio we spent a little time just getting to know each other. I had brought some of my personal pieces to show her and give her an idea of what my level was. I pulled out a ring that is some of my glass set in sterling. She was so gracious and as I turned it over in my hand I said, "Oh, that's a bad solder". She let out the biggest laugh and I knew I was in good hands. "We all say the same thing! Now, let's get to work."
At that very moment I promised myself to try very hard to never be embarrassed of my craftsmanship again.
Once I was set up at the grinders I would get to a stopping point and find the brightest light I could find. I would examine the work and try imagine Judith looking at the piece. What would she see? What did I need to learn to see? I took it to her only when I was either stuck (which was often) or when I felt like I was finished with the step at hand and ready to move on.
As we were racing the clock and trying to get the bracelet done before I had to hop on the plane she said, "We are going to make this acceptable and then when you come back we can finish it." To the majority of eyes out there this bracelet is stunning. But I am happy to be able to look at it with new eyes and say that it is pretty damn acceptable but could be, and will better - when I finish it.
Today was the first day I had back up in my shop since my return and I am so happy with the new level of expectations that I am putting on myself and the product that allows me to produce. We know in our gut when something isn't right and all we have to do is fix it - now - before it drives us insane in the finished product.
These are two custom rings that I started today. I was so very happy to snap this shot for the customer. There is an ease in knowing that you have done your absolute best.
Look with the eyes of someone who is better than you and you will have no choice but to grow.
I started my journey into jewelry making in 2005 while I was working in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, an area inundated with amazing artisans. I started with glass, which led to silver, which led to inlay, which led to joy.