Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reflecting From Whence I Came Or Why I Design Jewelry

Designing jewelry started as a reaction, a creative response, to ten years of losing what I considered to be my strongest talents and greatest loves: playing classical piano and writing what I coin, “whimsical observational commentary.”

Having lived that archetype of the funky cum zany high school English teacher, suffering a massive stroke in my twenties and losing my left side to paralysis was not something I signed up for. I mean…really…who chooses to personify that graphic of the evolution of man we are all familiar with- you know, where you see the chimp hunched over, gradually walking from four limbs to a semi erect posture and then on to the now celebrated anatomically modern man. Well, I regressed from biped, to wheelchair schlep, to terrified four-pronged cane-walker, on to petrified straight-cane-walker, finally to confident, “watch-out-here-I-come”…and-on-two-legs-limp-free-self once again. Spontaneous recovery for the fine tuning was a hope, but after ten years of inhabiting a body my brain wasn’t fully utilizing, I gradually grew open to accepting that I would not regain full fine motor coordination in my left hand, and doesn’t that bite?

I needed an outlet. I was too impatient for one-handed typing. Practicing piano so that on a good day I might play like I did when I was a 5 year old was too depressing. I needed a means to integrate using my left hand. But what? Lady Depression brought me to what some deem the best kind of therapy, and I do mean the retail kind. So I found myself in Michael’s, figuring I’d buy some wool and maybe take some knitting classes, but I dunno, it didn’t feel right. Neither the notion of classes nor knitting sweaters inspired me. Who would I knit for? Myself? Hmm, before me reeled a series of high school Home Ec projects, the chocolate chip cookies for which I used salt instead of sugar [my bad?], the Camp Beverly Hills sweatshirt for whose crooked pocket seam was an insult to those things that are crooked, the polished cotton pillows whose stitches puckered like shots of stomach acid.

Wait a minute!

I don’t even like knits; I hail from the “tailored school.” No, I would not knit for myself. But what am I doing in Michael’s then? Bewildered, disappointed, and confused, I chose a shortcut down the nearest aisle to exit the store when incidentally, I discovered the beading department. The neurons finally synched. Now this I can do. A hobby borne of necessity, a pastime evolved into habit, a passion to be fed…the conception of Bead Your Habit.