It wasn't until a few weeks ago that it sunk in that this New Years would close another decade. How the time has flown by! I still remember very well the Y2K celebration, and it certainly doesn't feel like it was 10 years ago.
It has been a decade of celebration, achievements, new beginnings, endings, and self discovery for me. In 2000, I was still in college and not sure what I was going to do with my life. I hadn't discovered jewelry yet, and seemed to be settling on computer design for a career. I thank my lucky stars that I found jewelry when I did. With the completion of my degree in Fine Arts at Iowa State University, I was lucky enough to have found a job immediately out of college, in my chosen field of jewelry. I had officially started my career, not just an aimless job. Over the last 7 1/2 years, I have moved three times with the same company, always moving up to a more progressive store, one that pushes me to learn more, one that opens more doors for me. And yet, I find myself walking past the open doors as of late. I pause at the doors, peering in and wondering what the risks would be if I walked through them, if I took that chance.
The chances that I speak of are not about changing careers, for even on my worst day, I believe that deep down I know that jewelry is my calling. I have not pushed myself the way that I used to. Unfortunately, this means for me that I haven't really been designing my stuff the last couple of years. All of that is about to change, and I'm enthusiastic about it in a way that I can't recall. I will be making a ring for Justin's mom, and the prospect of it makes my heart skip a beat. We sat around the kitchen table on New Years Eve, and between the four of us throwing out ideas, we've come up with a very exciting sketch. As this project develops, I will give updates with sketches and photographs. This is just the chance that I need to take, for I am putting my capabilities out there, to some of the most important people to me. I do worry that they will not be happy with my work, that I will fail at this task that should be now be so easy for me. I hope that this project will banish these fears, for I know how good of a jeweler, and designer I am.
Sometimes I think it is funny what motivates me. Visiting a gem dealer on Thursday morning got me started. After that, Justin and I headed to a small jewelry shop in Helena where it came out very quickly that I was also a bench jeweler. I was invited up into their shop and was amazed at the place. The tools and equipment that this little, flagship store has far exceeds what some of my company's larger stores have. There was also a young woman working at the her bench, and I couldn't help but think, "that should be me." This small custom gallery is the kind of place I've always wanted to work and it will always be something that I work towards, either that, or turning my current store into such a busy custom shop, that I will no longer have time to do the 'everyday' repairs.
So, this year, I am going to design more, and actually make them a reality. I am going to enter contests, and would love nothing more than to have my jewelry in a case somewhere.
Happy New Year!