There are some weeks when making jewellery is an utter joy. This has been one of them. I had spent a beautiful couple of days in London with the small Niziblians visiting family (and the critters at Whipsnade), and my finest friends welcomed a new baby girl into the world. All this and the following day my favourite author came to my home town for a book signing.
I have always had a book (or two or three) on the go since I was tiny. Books have been my lifelong refuge and best friends. Occassionally I meet someone who ‘doesn’t read’. I am entirely suspicious of these individuals, and mentally mark them for future reference. Why would you not read? Why would you cut yourself off from one of the most pleasurable experiences in the world? To deny yourself knowledge, fantasy, wonder, awe, laughter, you know - all the good stuff? Anyway, I digress. John Connolly was doing a tour of the UK to promote his new novel, Song Of Shadows. I wanted to go to the signing and take something with me.
I used to work in telly production, and met a few (scary) super-fans of famous folk. I do not want to freak people out, although I tend to on a pretty regular basis. It’s just the way I am. So I uhmmed and aahed about the wisdom in taking someone I don’t know a present. It’s a little bit odd. I’m mostly a fair whack odd, but try and filter it out a bit so people don’t throw shoes at me in the street. Anyway, I talked to fellow folk at the (artist) studios where I work, about my reservations. My friend Ian pointed out it would be better to be knackered and on tour and get a present from a weirdo, than just being knackered and on tour and meeting a weirdo. So, what do you take? If you work with silver for a living and have a slightly dark side, you make a bookmark. Well I did.
So, based on a bookmark my small girl had given me with a big bead on top, a cord, and a little bead on the bottom, I made a skeletal finger wearing a garnet ring, attached to a chain, an initialled plaque, more chain, and finally a garnet ring (I love something to fiddle with when reading, thought this would be good.)
I also discovered that when carving 5mm solid silver rod, you can go into the type of reverie that ends abruptly with you realising you’re sanding your thumb.
One of my absolute favourite jewellery makers, Dauvit Alexander, gave it a retweet and called it ‘brilliant’, which gave me a severe case of fan-girl joy.
Small girl is also a big John Connolly fan - she inherited the precocious reader gene and has been raiding the book cupboard since she was ultra wee. She is currently steaming through the Samuel Jackson series and nipping into the Chronicles of the invaders (written with his partner Jennie Ridyard) on the side. She got to say hi first, got two of her books signed and got some reading list recommendations too (that’ll cost me!).
So, he was an absolute gent, and was very sweet about me bringing him a fairly creepy present. I was so worried about doing something like clinging to his ankles whilst sobbing “I love your books sooooo much”, I managed not to mention them at all. *High fives doofus self*.
The few days following has been bonkers. The commission floodgates have opened and I’ve got some really fabulous orders to get on with. Engagement rings, wedding rings, another bookmark (this time with a tiny gold and silver magnifying glass), necklaces with some lovely freeform stone pieces, a piece based on a dagger design and so on! I would have had a lovely replica of a ring I made for my husband to make, but Royal Mail won’t allow jewellery to be posted to Australia (and none of the courier companies I found would insure it). Bah.
That embuggerance aside, I had more good news. I’ve found out I’m one of the finalists in Craft & Design Magazine’s ‘Selected’ awards. I am really made up, and looking forward to seeing the results in May. Check out some of the makers in the Selected gallery, there is some really beautiful work out there!
So, it’s been an amazingly happy week for me, and I’m extremely grateful. Now if noone minds, I’m off to sneak into the bath with my new book and see what Charlie Parker’s been up to.