Wednesday, February 23, 2011


We often comment that Rey should have studied Mechanical Engineering. He is an Industrial Engineer... but he has an uncanny sense for how things work and how to fix things. It is his absolute favorite thing to loose himself for hours with some broken thing, and emerge victorious with the answer.

I joke that I should've studied Industrial Engineering. Rey's area of study specializes in process, especially in the factory world. How things get put together, how the process could be made faster, more streamlined. Let me tell you, that is my specialty. Be it good or bad, my brain is always firing at me faster more efficient ways to get the job done. I think it drives my poor details-loving man crazy, but the space between A-B always seems small to me.

Enter my new job with my friend, Doris. Let's just start off by saying--growing up with 7 brothers and a momma with more than enough on her plate did not leave much room for "crafty-ness". No ma'am. We did not labor much with the hot glue gun or make large poofy creations from ribbon and styrofoam. It was a pretty straight-forward and durable world I grew up in (which I loved). However, my friend Doris was gifted with an amazing sense of color and texture combinations that help her to create memorable and beautiful jewelry from the beads she sells. She also has these hands that seem to be both strong and flexible, able to work deftly with the smallest of pieces and to coax them into obedience.

Having worked far more with diapers and shovels (not together...yet), this has been a completely new world for me. I love all kinds of learning and I love being creative, so it has been a world that I am enjoying. I do have to admit feeling less than adequate many times--since many of the regulars at Doris's store are more like her than like me.

Doris offers several jewelry making classes at her store. A new one taught the process of "filigrana". Basically, the process involves making jewelry from molding wire into circles, swirls, designs and interlocking them all into one piece. Usually there are beads accenting at certain parts.

Doris asked if I'd be interested in taking the class. She hoped I'd be able to learn the process and then teach some classes myself.

Did I mention I've never done any kind of jewelry making? That pliers aren't a 3rd hand for me? That I've taken exactly 3 of Doris's BEGINNER classes and this is definitely an advanced technique?

But, I'm up for anything. So I said, "Sure!" We got schedules figured out, and I went to my first class. For 3 HOURS, I made circles, and circles and circles.

Tiny circles.


I mean... eye-crossingly tiny!

The thing is, every ring has to be completely round, the exact same size. The place where the wires of the circle meet need to overlap the tiniest little bit... enough to close it tightly, but not so much as to warp the circle.

For ever 3 rings I made, 2 were rejected. That was when I was doing well.

I envisioned the teacher banging his head to a mushy pulp every day as I left the class.

And, being the "streamlining" type person I am... all I could think about was this huge container that Doris has behind the counter of thousands of those perfect rings, made by a MACHINE! Hellllooooo?? Can't I just use those rings to make this precious necklace?

It was then that I realized it. I am not an artist. I think that artists revel in the process almost more than the finished product. They take pride in knowing just how much of their art was made by their own hand.

Nope. I'm just artsy. I like learning about stuff. I like seeing how things were made. I like being creative--to a point. It's just the way it is. There is only so much time I will invest in something before I am asking myself if there is a more efficient way around this mountain.

It's kind of a sad realization, but not a new one. I know I don't have the staying power to perfect a craft. It just makes me admire more people that do.

PS--I am not taking that class any more. It demanded more time than I could put into it. And, we decided I should probably conquer Beginner and Intermediate before I take on Advanced. :)

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