A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Don't You Tell Me What To Do

I have a longstanding problem with authority and obligation. Any authority or obligation. I even resent aerobics instructors for telling me what to do, which is why I never take exercise classes. I'll jump around and flap my arms WHEN and IF I damn well feel like it. And just so you know, I probably WON'T feel like it. So stop yelling at me. I haven't done well in other types of classes either, because as soon as I sign up I resent having to attend. Even if I'M paying for it. I'd rather just...show up every now and again WHEN and IF I feel like it. (In fact, that's exactly what I did in college. And I rarely felt like it). This is also why I am not a joiner of organizations and clubs. As soon as I join, I get a schedule for the next six months of meetings and events I am expected to attend. How do I know I'm going to feel like going to a barbecue on September 5? Maybe I won't feel like it. In fact, I probably WON'T feel like it. I ALREADY don't feel like it because you just told me I have to. My resentment of having to go to work every day, at the same time every day, all day, and do what I am told to do, is mitigated only slightly by the fact that I am paid to do so. Not a lot, but the alternative (eviction and living on the street eating out of dumpsters) is less desirable. I'd sure have a lot of freedom as a homeless person but I don't like being cold and I wouldn't want to eat food other people had chewed on. And I don't like begging or rejection. Which is why I would never take a job as a fundraiser or a telemarketer.

So imagine my knee-jerk dismay when I recently got a pile of custom orders! And a pile of SOMEONE ELSE'S beads to use for them! I had never done custom orders before, and had never created jewelry out of materials I wasn't able to pick out for myself. Well, the sweet lady who requested the items is a very good customer (and a lovely person as well, too bad she lives way out in Ohio), so I plunged in. She sent me her beads, and some ideas she had for pieces she had been wanting, and I found myself ... rather intrigued by the challenge of trying to create something lovely and unique within someone else's guidelines. It's kind of like an improvisation game at a company meeting--here's a frisbee, a tampon and a throw rug; now make up a skit with that.

Our initial plans for her pieces morphed and changed a bit as I worked with her beads. It was really stimulating, actually, to work within specific guidelines, and frankly a relief; none of that labrador-with-twenty-tennis-balls-syndrome (this bead! no that bead! no this bead! no that bead! thisbeadorthatbeadthisbeadorthatbead!)--and it almost makes you be MORE creative. How to use this set of beads in a unique way, or make the most of them, instead of just moving on to a different bead that provides the novelty for you. Two of the custom items, using some of her beads (and some of mine) are below.

I especially like this set. The smaller lavender beads are amethyst provided by my Ohio lady.

This set used onyx rounds and turquoise chips provided by the customer:

She also had me create bracelets to go with the apple jade and brass necklace, brass and bronze pearl, and carnelian and brass necklaces she bought:

We have a little schedule worked out now, for items I will create for her in the coming months using some of her bead stash. We exchange emails almost every day--she throws more ideas at me and I let them roll around and suggest ways we can make it happen. She has some great ideas for color/bead combinations too, and sends me little extras as gifts with her beads. She sent me a little silver elephant I'm dying to use for something for myself. She's a delightful lady and I'm really enjoying the collaboration. I'm still a rebel though. Totally.


  1. Oh, your defiance has me cracking up. I have an 8 eight year old son that feels the same way. He's always telling me, "you're not the boss of me and I can do whatever I want" Ok then.
    Anyway, I love your creations, beautiful!

  2. Keirsten! I understand you quite! now you can understand that I did not want to go get married! The date was set before 8 months .. pfff I was exhausted! any constraints of time and commitment is a Suplice for me ... except in the creation! for example your lady of Ohio, she makes you confident, sure, it imposes on you pearls .. but you're free to do what you want ..
    and the fact to impose a speed of work .. becomes an adrenaline boosts our creativity .. it is that you're a true creative

    Bravo for this wonderful job! the bracelet is wawawaaaaaw!

  3. you created some fabulous pieces! What a nice challege for a designer, you should always take something like that on, now and again. Even if you ARE a rebel.

  4. Hello! I read this post and was laughing...I feel the same way! I think it would be so much fun to be able to collaborate with your friend with the beads...I just finished a piece using stones from a client I never met who lives far away in MS...it was fun! I checked out your Etsy site and have bookmarked it...I really am drawn into your I Dream of Copper, Pineapple Quartz and Curly Shell necklaces. Really beautiful stuff. Thanks for the inspiration! Enjoy the day! Erin

    P.S. I love your header description up above! Wild mood swings...I think I am on that ride myself!

  5. Ah, authority. Not fond of it myself. This idea of somebody else's bead stash could go wrong in oh so many ways. But this collaboration has turned out really well, I think. The pieces are all lovely and they all look like your design. What a bonus!

  6. Ha ha! REBELS UNITE!!! Let's go out there and NOT do stuff!! Esther, I think being engaged for 8 months would indeed be hard. Esp. if it was costing you a lot of work! I've always thought if I was going to get married I'd elope. The perfect proposal: "Hey, you wanna get outta here?" You know, my problem is so profound, sometimes just DECIDING to do something makes me not want to do it. I even resent myself. I'm very spontaneous for that reason. I have to sneak up on myself.