Last summer I wrote an article about the creative process behind my collection, Beauty in Imperfection. My friend Alma suggested that I submit the story to Stampington Publications and it was just published it in their lovely Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine.
It’s not perfect, and that’s the point. File marks, visible seams and solder – things that other jewelers might consider bewildering - are the trademark of my collection. Inspired by the imperfection that abounds in nature, people, and in life, these rings, bracelets, pendants and earrings are a tribute to acceptance. The forms are clean and simple. As in life, It’s the blemishes that add the depth and character.
Beauty in Imperfection was born in a moment of frustration. I was working in the studio, trying unsuccessfully to fabricate a new design. That day, nothing was going right and I kept making careless mistakes. In total exasperation, I squished the entire piece I was working on through a rolling mill! When it emerged through the other end of the mill, I was astonished at the graceful irregular form. I sat back and smiled.
Through this experience, I began to think about how much time and energy we spend in pursuit of perfection. This accidental discovery has been golden (pun intended). The ordinary, ho-hum bracelet that I was trying so diligently to make has been reshaped and transformed into something so much more genuine. Viewed only technically, my bracelet is a disaster - an ornamental fender bender, almost inconceivable through the eyes of an experienced metalsmith. Examining this same bracelet with introspection and sentiment, it is so much more valuable than the sum of its parts. What do you think? As a final flourish and visual metaphor, a small white faceted diamond is handset into each piece of jewelry. It serves as a reminder that precious gifts in our lives are not always in plain sight and shouldn’t be taken for granted. The more I think about this concept and share it with others, the more I see how freeing and powerful it is. Our personal experiences and definition of perfection may vary but I believe that our desire for acceptance is universal.
I’m so touched and honored by the stories people are sharing with me. A friend of mine gave her teenage daughter a small pendant to applaud her uniqueness and protect her from the body image messages in the media. Some are choosing to wear these rings as wedding bands - Representing each person’s individuality and their commitment to each other: two pieces coming together as one – but not seamlessly. When I feel uncertain about something I find comfort in slipping on a bracelet or ring. It’s my subtle way of acknowledging that things don’t always unfold as I anticipated and it is my cue to be open to new possibilities. As a designer, it is so exciting to watch this product evolve and know that it is affirming to people at the same time.
I invite you to make a Beauty in Imperfection™ bangle. Don’t worry if you make a mistake – it is allowed, even encouraged. This project can be both enjoyable and meditative. The following steps are not precise and are open to your experimentation and interpretation. No two bracelets will look alike and each will get better with time and wear. Just like us! Other styles from the Beauty in Imperfection Collection can be found here.
Sterling Silver Wire - 12 gauge for a lightweight bangle
Diamond (1) small faceted -approximately 1 to 2pts in size
Charcoal Block or Fire Brick Cross
Locking Tweezers with Wooden Grips
Scissors for cutting solder
Tumbler with Steel Shot or Polishing wheels and compound
Flex Shaft Drill Bit – fine Tapered Bur Bezel Pusher – fine Burnisher-fine and slightly blunted