Last week I received what has become a regular “follow up” call from a gem dealer. We had the usual discussion. Me: “Thanks for following up, I’m a very small business, and I really don’t use, um, regular gemstones. I like wacky, flawed stuff”. Him: “We have a HUGE inventory and selection, I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll like, or we can MAKE it for you! Plus we can get a CAD drawing out to you for a completed piece within 3 days, anything you want!” We have the same chat every six weeks or so. His company sells garden variety, perfectly cut gemstones, and casts lots rings and things from computer generated drawings. It’s hard to explain to some people that you really don’t want that stuff. (If this is your first time reading any of my posts, may I kindly refer you to an earlier post: “Not Flawless Please”).
This time I pursued the conversation a bit more since I was in a long line at the grocery store, and found myself saying this: “Look, what I do is ridiculous. I make every single bezel to fit all these odd shaped stones, I spend a lot of time sourcing out rocks that I can usually only get a few of because they’re so unique and I don’t cast anything. My stuff is pretty much one of a kind, or limited run. It takes a lot of time and effort, it doesn’t really make any sense.”
Did I just say that? Well it’s true. It wouldn’t make sense to a “business” person. But most business is boring. I like to live on the edge.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how true this is. When I got the nerve to show the necklace I made in the last blog post, I never expected to get such a positive reaction – from total strangers too.
The Wanga piece I showcased got a lot of reaction (considering I have what? 10 followers?) Apparently people read this stuff. It was wonderful to have a public message (and many private) of support. In addition to that, I received a wonderful commission for another “Wanga” piece.
Emma (my patron!) was born in September (Happy Birthday Ms. Emma!) she has a daughter born in March. I made this piece for her:
Centered around a nice big aquamarine, (March birthstone for the beautiful daughter, representing peace) with sapphires: a natural blue rose cut sapphire set in 22K gold, and blue and orange sapphire briolettes (mom’s birthstone, representing truth and faithfulness). A couple of extra aquamarine briolettes just because, and an orthoceras (wisdom of our ancestors). This piece also has leather ties with sterling M&M end tabs so you can adjust the length.
Making this necklace made me practically giddy. It brought me so much joy, it almost broke my heart to send it off. Thank you Emma for loving the Wanga!
Here’s part of Emma’s message: “I also love the Wanga series and would dearly like to have a necklace myself. Could you make one for me please?….. Let me know if it’s something you’d be prepared to do”.
Don’t you just love the way she asked?
Years ago, back in the 90s, (before I moved to New Orleans) I was hanging around a bar in the French Quarter, listening to some really mediocre music – hard to believe, I know, but it happened, at least that one time. I turned to the couple next to me and said: “This band sucks”. They agreed. I proceeded in talking them into sharing a cab to join me at another venue, to see another band across town. I’ve been friends with Linda and Steven ever since (even though Steven likes to tell everyone that I picked them up in a bar).
Steven asked me to make something for Linda for their anniversary this month. Happy Anniversary my friends!! I hope Linda likes this:
On my travels this summer, I stopped in New York for a little rock shopping. Here are a couple of things the rocks turned into:
Links to the shop inspired by Car Talk’s “Shameless Commerce Division”! Click the caption underneath the photographs.
I strip my soul bare, writing this stuff, and always wonder how goofy my process looks/sounds. Obviously I’m getting more brazen in sharing. Leaving a comfort zone doesn’t automatically bring on the magic. In fact, I have been squashed like a bug on many many occasions.
But as they say in the south: “You scared? Say you scared”. I ain’t scared.