Jewels of Denial

I was an artistic kid. Right on through college, my focus was on art, in some form. Sometimes it was drawing (I'm pretty mediocre), sometimes pottery (also mediocre), some art history, and eventually interior design.

Then I got married, had a baby and, suddenly, didn't have time to sit around a contemplate the mysteries of  cerulean blue or Basquiat. In 18 months, all my dreams of being a boho artist in NYC were dashed.

Interestingly though, creativity can't be killed. It will bubble to the surface somehow, someway. For me, it came out in cooking. I had to cook every day and I discovered that I could get pretty creative with recipes. As a result of years of playing around in the kitchen, I'm a confident and decent cook who will, often, take risks with good results.

Once my son was in high school and fed himself most of the time (Easy Mac and potato chips, mostly), I found myself in need of a new creative outlet. In my neighborhood, there was a bead shop that had the most enticing front window filled with a gorgeous array of semi-precious stones and stunning finished jewelry. After a number of weeks of window gazing, I finally screwed up the courage to go inside. I wandered around, entranced by the colors and shapes, and was pleased to find that a strand of semi-precious stones isn't all that expensive. I also discovered that (like most craft shops) the staff was completely willing to help me learn whatever I wanted to learn. I had found my new muse.

Cassandra and I have spoken before about the siren song of craft supplies. When one starts a new craft, it's very easy to become enthralled by it and want to buy all the gorgeous bits that go with the new hobby. With beaded jewelry-making, very few tools are actually needed but it's not unusual to fall into the abyss of beads. As I mentioned, even semi-precious stones (including pearls) are pretty inexpensive when viewed individually. It isn't until you have a rubbermaid container full of them and realize that it's a few hundred dollars worth that the depth of the obsession comes to light. Like with yarn, there comes a point where I had to put a moratorium on bead buying. The rule (for all my crafts) is, "Supplies can only be bought with a specific project planned."

Another issue was that, while I enjoyed the action of making jewelry, I'm not an active wear-er of jewelry. I created hundreds of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and more - sometimes even specifically FOR myself - but rarely, if ever, wore them. I'm not a big jewelry fan. I like it on other people and I like to wear things that belonged to my grandmother or mother but, in general, I wear the same silver hoop earrings and single silver ring every day. So, for the most part, I just gave it all away as gifts. Eventually, I stopped doing this craft because I figured people were sick of getting my jewelry for every gift-giving opportunity.

A rosary made by me
So, I'm left with a big box of beads, good tools, and an occasional desire to break it all out and start again. I won't get rid of my supplies because the day will come when someone wants a necklace for a wedding or a specific pair of earrings and I'll be able to make these items without having to re-invest in the hobby. Plus, every once in a while, I love just looking at the beautiful beads and imagining what they could become.

- Alex

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