Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I've been making jewelry for quite a few years. It is what I do most of my waking hours. Yet it rarely makes news here.

A couple of days ago, I decided to apply to the Metal Entanglements Market at 1000 Markets. 1000 Markets is a juried site, and the Metal Entanglements Market is juried, as well - you have to pass muster to get in. There is a test.

And the first question is, Why? Why do you make jewelry out of metal wire?

Why? For me, the easy answer is "Why not?" But I didn't think that would pass muster.

I thought about it. For a looooong time. No one had ever asked me "Why?" before. Including me. I didn't really KNOW why. So I began to work backwards; with "how" I found myself working in the medium. Hoping I would get to "why."

This is where I ended up:

Ooh, scary question, kinda like introducing myself at a 12-step meeting. {{Deep Breath}} OK. It started with paper clips. I was always the kid who fiddled with paper clips. My mother, as artistic as she was, didn't appreciate that all the paper clips were turned into non-clippy flowers. But I couldn't stop myself...

And, it turned out when I got there, Corporate America was pretty unimpressed, as well. (BTW, Corporate America also has no tolerance for memos folded into paper airplanes before being placed on the recipient's desk.)

Clearly, the only solution was for me to part ways with Corporate America, and open my own business. Where I was FREE TO BE ME!!!

Unfortunately, my Paper Clip Habit was eating into my bottom line.

Then, a flash! An AHA Moment! Dare I say, a miracle? Or perhaps it was merely the voices in my head, chattering a little louder than usual...there are metals more beautiful than paper clips! (Please don't get me wrong, paper clips are beautiful in their own special ways.) I could bend beautiful wires into fun and functional stuff, and make all my Christmas presents at the same time! Because, really, no one wants a paper clip flower for Christmas. And I could do it at my office, while I talked on the phone, and I wouldn't bend any more paper clips! Who doesn't love a win-win situation?

So I went to the Jewelers' supply house in town. Met my good friends Austin and Rolf. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.) Pestered them incessantly...I mean, asked politely (a lot)...about the properties of different wires, and what would happen if I sanded this wire and threw it into Liver of Sulfur, and what that gizmo does, and could they sharpen this cutter for me...and pretty soon they just started giving me copies of jewelry mags to keep me busy and out of their hair (and probably also to cause me to have more ideas so I would buy more things.)

That was a long time ago. Since then, I retired from office work, and now bend and hammer and stretch and coerce wire (and a few other media) into adornments; for sale at shows, shops, and via the Internet. I am still amazed and fascinated by the infinite possibilities of wire. The highlights and lowlights of oxidization. The delicate whisper of texture when I wrap a chunky, hammered 12 gauge bracelet in smooth, round 24 gauge wire.

In a lot of ways, I'm still that little girl bending paper clips. Thank you. {{Sits down.}}

Is this "Why"? I don't know. But I passed muster.

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