Tuesday, December 22, 2015

when a bead is more than a bead

When i launched the ReWearables line in 2012 my main motivation was to have a creative outlet that rescued broken and discarded beads, gave them new life.
It wasn't a business yet; it was actually just an item on a ToDo list.
A lot (i mean A LOT) has changed in the past 3.75 years, but i continue to relish saving pretty things from being discarded.
However, yesterday i had an experience that brought into focus for me that the work i do to pay the bills can also be the work i do in an effort to positively impact the world around me.
Whenever someone gives me jewelry or items to use in my studio i offer to make a custom piece -or they can choose something from my stock- as payment.
Viva the barter system!
Kalisha offered me a basket full of  jewelry and she asked me to make a pair of bracelets for her mom's best friends.
Her mom, Stella, passed away last year; in fact, her one year angelversary is rapidly approaching and Kalisha wanted to share something special with these two women.
She supplied one of her mom's favorite necklaces and some pieces for me to use.
If you are looking at that badly lit picture and thinking,
Wow. That is a motley mish-mash of things,
then you are right where i was last Friday. They are nice pieces, but i could not get any sort of vision of how i was going to get them to work together in not one, but two bracelets.
Saturday i cut everything apart and sorted the beads and bobs so that i could get a fresh perspective. In doing so, i noticed that the focal necklace i was using had several pairs of beads, not singles, not groups, but pairs. Just like i was making a pair of bracelets.
A-HA! (that makes me think of the music group; here is one of my favorite a-ha songs)
The two bracelets would feature the same three beads in the center, one bead for each of the friends.

The round lavender beads were the only ones that color on the whole necklace, so they were Stella.
Similar in size and importance, but different in shape and color a pair of puple beads and a pair of pink ones became her two friends.

After a quick consult with Kalsiha i decided to make the bracelets matching, but different: one would be a sleek linear design and the other a chain of dangles. Some matching beads were included on both, but there were also different beads on each because i figured the three friends would have shared experiences, but the details of the each of the ladies' relationship with Stella would be unique.

The only thing i added (besides the hardware of course) was a tiny pair of angel wings as the matching dangle detail on both bracelets to symbolize that one of the friends had moved on, but was still a beautiful part of the remaining whole.

If you are wondering why the pictures are sub-par, it is because both pieces were completed to my satisfaction less than 2 hours before i was schedule to give them to Kalisha so i had to shoot them at my desk as it was rainy and grey yesterday.
She seemed to like them and i told her that i was going put their pictures on the NikCo FB page as an example of my custom work, but that i would wait a few days so that she would have a chance to present them to her mom's friends.
That was at 3:45pm.
At 5:20pm i received this text
If you'd like (to) share as early as tomorrow I was in here crying like a baby so we met up shortly after you left. Both ladies loved there (sic) gifts and said they felt my moms spirit with them "Stella is looking down on us" is what Liz said!
You just know that brought a tear to my eye.
Some days, especially lately as i meander through my own grief, i feel like how i spend my time has no real meaning, no impact on anyone around me (i am sure we all feel like that sometimes) so it was a welcome surprise to realize that i can use my creations to help people and touch their hearts.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015