Some of you know I've been making a lot of earrings for my upcoming show. These images represent just some of what's in production. I get lost in the process of earring-making and especially love making bunches of earrings. It's another kind of meditation for me. The parts for the earrings are made a dozen or more at a time, over several hours (with breaks). This might sound like mass production - it is, but it's much more than that. As I make each metal or metal clay part - form or shape it, file or sand it - however I might handle the piece, I think about that earring finding an owner or being a gift, and wish it to bring joy to someone.
Not everyone might agree, but I believe that the energy and thought we put into our artwork comes through in the finished product. And I like to be mindful of the quality of my work and in touch with the process of making. Some people have suggested I hire help so I can make more jewelry. At least for now, I can't imagine not making each of the pieces I sell, though on occasion, I have had help with adding the ear wires and such. This total involvement may not be for everyone and sometimes there are reasons to have others make your work. Even putting your energy and positive thoughts into the design of a (mass) produced item will probably have this effect also. Personally though, I really like to have the hands-on contact.
From time to time, I encounter a person (a stranger) wearing a pair of earrings I've made and I engage them in a conversation about them. I don't tell them that I've made the earrings. The response is usually how much they like/love them, and I might hear the story of how they were a gift or that they got them at a gallery or show (maybe years ago). They often say they were made by an artist, but most of the time they don't remember the artist's name. I don't really care - if they're happy, I'm happy. Depending on the circumstances, I might identify myself as the maker at the end of the conversation, but not always. I'm not in it for the notoriety (if they happen to remember the artist's name, that's a bonus). I just like to hear the stories and see them smile.
Maybe all this energy-putting and joyful thinking is for naught, but who's to say? It seems the responses to my work support the theory... and in any event, doing it makes me happy. When people lose an earring, they contact me (or the gallery) for a replacement and are always glad hear I'll make one. So I'll continue to put my positive energy and joyful thoughts into my work (with all pieces, not just earrings). The bottom line: I really want those earrings to make someone happy - to make them feel good. The payoff is when I know I've done that. If I hear someone say "these are my favorite earrings," then I know they feel good when they wear them.
I'm sure many of you treat your work (or gift-giving) similarly. If not, try consciously sending some positive energy with your gifts or artwork. In this upcoming holiday season, think about each gift you're giving and the person you're giving it to. Give the gift with joy. Send your holiday cards with good thoughts towards each recipient. If you're a jewelry maker (or other craft maker), think about what you're making and your reason for making it. Be aware of the making, rather than just going through the motions. Think about the person who will be wearing/receiving that item and wish them well. If nothing else, it will make you feel good to think that way.
Spread the joy! I'd love to hear from others who think this way about their craft.