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I know that most people praise their parents for the inspiration in their lives... but, for me, it is really true. This image is one of my first attempts at using the Painter program. I used an old black & white photo of them my great-uncle took. They were visiting him on his ship....he was a merchant marine. For some reason they were standing on some sort of hatch top. This was taken in June of 1936.... 6 months before they wed. They were so much in love. Go find old photos of your parents.... it is such a warm fuzzy thing. I had such a great time altering and drawing them in my own version of their world.
Okay, my mother started my jewelry quest off when I was very young by not having a fit when I drew on the walls and protecting my 'artwork' from the teacher when I was seven and encouraging me to play with ceramic clays. But, her biggest influence was her love of beautiful fine jewelry. She had gobs... and loose beads. I think she really wanted to create her own. She was the first person to teach me how to knot between pearls with a 'T' pin. Her jewelry was beautiful. She also had no problem changing something. She had her favorite jeweler re-create jewelry she purchased at antique stores and thrift shops into incredibly beautiful and valuable bling. Later on we, my sister Lelana, mom and I, would go to the Jewelry Mart in San Francisco and shop for pretties. I was majorly into beading at that time and we'd spend ALL DAY there. I remember one time we came outside just before sundown and the sky was beautiful with colors and clouds. We were so rummy, I remember saying, "Just look at the rose quartz and blue lace agate sky and the opal clouds...!" We chuckled over that one and then shook our heads because we stayed at the Mart tooooooooooo looooooooong. Heh, heh.
My father was incredibly supportive too. We were very close and got closer when I spent about two years working for him in his machine shop. He gave me so much confidence.... it was amazing. I was his secretary, shipping clerk and gal Friday. He also had no trouble having me run small & medium sized lathes and one huge Bridgeport vertical lathe. Amazing. Then he had me arc welding his hinges for his tire recapping parts and testing his air valves for his balancers for the huge truck tires. Did I say that he graduated from Berkeley High at 15? He couldn't afford college so he went to the library and studied mechanical engineering and passed all the tests. He was brilliant. And shy. And quiet within himself - unless he had a few 'Old Fashions' in him. He had me working with all the ferrous metals in his shop. He invented the bubble balancer for the tire industry and always told my sis and I that we were related to Frank L. Baum of Wizard of Oz fame. He made me feel I could do anything.
But, it was 17 years later before I could call myself an artist. Some times we makers have a bit of trouble calling ourselves that because of our inherent lack of confidence. After all, we are baring our souls to the world. Instead of saying that this is my art, we are feeling that this is who I am. It took me another 10 years or so to realize it wasn't me it was various expressions of the bliss of creating.
Making jewelry has given me a functional expression of my tendency towards three dimensional art and has let me create one-of-a-kind pieces, wedding rings and divorce rings. I have made wiccan jewelry, special order cold connected work with aluminum, copper and sterling, and my favorite is a wedding ring turned into earrings. He burnt the ring when working around the car battery and wanted to make half hooped and carved earring posts for his wife for their anniversary. It was fun. He came back in later and told me his wife had purchased a new band for him. They exchanged wedding rings at their anniversary lunch. Times like that made owning a gallery/jewelry store worth it.
Yes, I am very grateful for all jewelry making has brought to my life. Especially all of the wonderful friends that have touched me. Thank you to you.... you KNOW who you are.
Whew... that is enough.
Thanks mom and dad, I will always be indebted to your love and support and encouragement.
Do visit these other wonderful 'Jewelry Carnival' bloggers today: