A (somewhat) daily rambling on the life of a polymer Clay metal clay and Fused Glass artist/teacher/author.

Very soon my blog will move to my website...as soon as it is done that is. This blog will be my Theatrical life of directing The Secret Garden

Friday, March 20, 2009

What was your biggest mistake or worst workbench disaster?

It is Jewel blog time again...

Hmmmm? “What was my biggest mistake or worst workbench disaster?”

Oh, that is easy. Way back in the early ‘90s we were struggling to make ends meet. The recession was in full force and I was doing custom and repair work, running the gallery, posting sales and inventory and trying to keep up with the paperwork. My sweet Phil was delivering the Sacramento Bee newspaper in the wee hours of the morning to help keep us in the black. At one point I broke my ankle… went back to work the same day. There was no one to work the gallery but moi.

We were a young business at only 3 to 4 years old and had a very small space to work. It is very hard to start a jewelry store/gallery. The jewelry is what brings in the rent money and most people are VERY loyal to the store they have been supporting for years. So, they need to be unhappy enough to search out a new place or have moved into the area and need a new brick and mortar to repair their jewelry or to purchase new.

We had a great client who brought in a ring to be sized. Oh my gosh it was beautiful. It was a 14k gold and hand fabricated. It was very ornate band with a bed of pansies carved and soldered into place. I have never seen one before or since. It was fabulous. I was thinking at the time that it was made in Germany or somewhere else in Europe. It was beyond beautiful and had a craftsmanship to die for.

I had a very cool system for bringing in repair work…. But that time it didn’t work. I was starting to get more business than I could handle and so the paperwork suffered too. I was to enter stuff on the computer and then file the work in chronological order for repair, custom or catalog sales. I sometimes slept overnight on the floor because I was working so late and we didn’t live in the community where the gallery was located.

You guessed it. I lost the ring. I spent more hours than I can imagine looking for it. Even when we moved into a larger space in ’94 I kept my eyes out for that amazing ring. So, I figured that, during one of my, “Let me get this paperwork cleaned up” stages that it inadvertently got into the garbage. My client was so understanding. I had put a huge value on the ring and she took the cost of the jewelry out in trade: more repair and many pieces of jewelry. I was so fortunate she didn’t want the cash.

My biggest lesson was to 1) have my garbage cans with covers 2) never have the latter near my office nor bench work area. Needless to say, it never happened again. But, wow, was I ever humiliated and embarrassed. Just thinking about telling her was pure agony.

Oh, yes, that was my biggest mistake EVER.
Do visit these other wonderful artists and read what their bench disaster was... they are very interesting.


  1. Things like that do happen, but it must feel horrible that it happened to you. Losing a ring important to someone like that...

  2. You are soooo right. I definitly learned my lesson(s).