Image by simone-walsh via Flickr
I’m a magpie, attracted to anything that sparkles, such as jewellery or personalities, life’s bling. So when the opportunity arose to teach jewellery making to people as obsessed with sparkle as I, I grabbed it.
This month, September, I will teach 4 classes in the fundamentals of beading. To promote the classes, in August, I spent a few hours demonstrating jewellery making techniques, sharing the joy of sparkle.
A wedding attire crisis introduced me to a potential student, who had spent the day searching for the perfect pair of earrings for the dress she planned to wear to a wedding the next day.
In desperation, she visited the craft store, wondering if she might find the solution to her color crisis. She saw me with the tool kit out, building a bracelet, and asked, “Do you think you could put together a pair of earrings in the next few minutes?”
Putting together the earrings was the easy part – darn easy. The time-consumer, I replied, looking at my watch, is designing the earrings – choosing the beads and findings. I didn’t mention that – technically – I wasn’t supposed to build earrings for customers.
We had 45 minutes to pick the material and put the earrings together. I’ve never made a material choice in under 60 minutes. More importantly, I had never collaborated with anyone on the choice. The pressure mounted.
She was determined. Certain of her choice of colour, she had eliminated about 85% of the stock available. The 15% that remained had challenges of its own. Size, degree of sparkle, cut, gold or silver mounts – the length of the earrings – lever back or hook. All decisions to be made. We had 30 minutes left.
I couldn’t begin the construction, until she returned with the receipt proving she had paid for the supplies. I prayed the queue at the till wasn’t too long. We had 20 minutes left, when she presented me with the receipt.
I laid the beads out on the board, for her approval. She saw that I had a few bits and pieces in my tool kit. The sparkly bits excited her – can we add a silver ball? We could but I knew that the ball would make the construction more difficult. Rather than tell her, I built the first earring exactly as she asked. Sometimes seeing is easier to understand than a verbal explanation.
The problem arose. There is an element of physics involved in jewellery making. Physics caused the problem. We had 15 minutes left. Had she not chosen beads with a front and back, the problem would have not been obvious. She loved the design, but agreed the construction was not working. After several unsuccessful attempts to defy the laws of physics, she agreed to forgo the problematic design element. The earring hung perfectly and looked fabulous. Five minutes remained to put together the second earring.
I finished with a minute to spare. She had a pair of earrings and I had a new student. I’m looking forward to teaching her the techniques. She’ll never spend a day searching for the perfect earrings again!