♫•´*♪*•♫•*♪♫•*♪ “Long, long time ago…” (cue Don McLean) ♫•´*♪*•♫•*♪♫•*♪
About 30, or so, long years ago, I started my jewelry adventure by taking some metalsmithing courses at a nearby community college. I really enjoyed it and within a few years I had a pretty nice metalsmithing workshop set up. I made quite a few earrings, a bangle bracelet, a nice ring with an oval moss agate in it, and a belt buckle. I only have 2 pictures from that time, (excuse the picture quality).
I made this belt buckle for my brother. Pretty dull design concept, if you ask me, now.
These were earrings for my mother. These turned out pretty and I stenciled the little wooden box with my mother’s initials and some heart decorations.
It was fun to make gifts for people, but I had a hard time coming up with design ideas and eventually I just stopped metal work and sold all my equipment. Over the years, I tried my hand at several other crafts, but once I started beading, all other crafts took a backseat to my passion for beads.
Fast forward through the years. In high school my daughter, Naomi, took metalsmithing classes from the same person who had taught me at the community college nearly 30 years ago. Naomi took to metalwork like a fish to the water. She went on to study metals at the University of Washington and she is now a professional metalsmith.
Recently, I’ve become interested in exploring ways to use metals to enhance my work with beads. So for Mother’s Day this year, Naomi gave me a jeweler’s saw, blades, a bench pin, some metal and an offer to help me get started. Or more accurately, she offered to help me get re-started.
I hadn’t done any sawing in over 2 decades and I felt as rusty as an old saw blade. Frankly I was a bit afraid of trying this again. Fear of failure dogs me like a shadow. It often seems easier not to try, than to risk feeling like a loser. Do you ever get those feelings when you’d like to try something new? Can you feel the fear trying to hold you back?
My mother had a lot of artistic potential, but poor self-esteem and fear held her back. That makes me sad, so when I get these familiar jitters, I just grit my teeth and make myself move forward. I do it in honor of my mother and I do it for myself and for my daughter Naomi.
Fear is an evil bully and I will fight back! I can fight back by openly sharing my successes and failures, knowing that both are necessary ingredients in the process of learning. Maybe you jump into everything with both feet. If so, hurray! But if you are a bit of a shrinking violet, you have to face the Evil Fear Bully head on. We can do it together.
Soooo, last week I headed up to Naomi’s place and she gave me sawing lessons. I had beginner’s luck on the first piece. It wasn’t always easy to saw accurately, right on the line, but there is nothing wrong here that can’t be evened out with some trimming and filing.
Next try. Ha! Total mess up! This one is not even salvageable. A few years ago this would have left me feeling dejected. But now, we just had a good laugh about it and I tried again. I’m going to keep this piece in a little shrine I have in my studio, so I can remember where I started.
I cut out several shapes that day. I wanted to learn how to follow curves on the ovals and how to saw angles, such as those in the squares below. You can also see that I worked with two different gauges of metal, to get a feel for that, too.
Next Naomi showed me how to fix up the rough edges and sand it smooth. Naomi evened out most of the uneven edges on the first shape I’d sawed out and then I sanded the edges smooth.
But on this copper piece, I did all the cutting and the finishing myself. I was so proud of this little square. LOL!
Before I left that day, Naomi used her Dremel to drill holes in my little collection of cut shapes.
On the way home I bought 3 metal stamps and I’m collecting stuff around the house that I can hammer on to add texture. That’s my agenda for the next two weeks: texture and patina.
Are you gung-ho to try new things, or do you get hung up in fear of failure? How do you conquer the Evil Fear Bully? Share your thoughts and experiences, so we can encourage each other and grow.