Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Of Moths and Jewelry Makers

This summer, I signed up for a silver jewelery making class at a local college. It is an indulgence I cannot easily afford and deliberated quite a bit about the $150 tuition and $23 material fees. But as soon as I entered the classroom, stepping over the enormous human foot sculpture that does double duty as a doorstop, I knew I was in the right place.  

It is a small class, of mostly forty to fifty-somethings, all women: creative and smart and funny and eccentric.  The instructor communicates with swans, believes they swim across ponds to greet her and drop feathers for her as gifts; she races 6 year olds to get to her favorite horse on a boardwalk carousel; tries every imaginable means to rid her ancient car of angry bees before brandishing the flip-flop and swoons over tiger- eye, garnets, and amber. She is great.

I love the company of these women, kindred spirits in many ways.  I get very little time at the torch, and my instructor does have a tendency to take my projects from my hands and finish them herself, but that is ok. I am learning by watching, by listening, and befriending. This is new territory for me, making friends, and surrounding myself even for a few hours, with artists.

When you solder a silver piece it has to sit for awhile in a solution and there is often a waiting period between instruction, during which I make my rounds and admire the works of these woman.  There are prayer beads in the making, brass cuffs and star rings and there are scary, aggressive pieces - large and angular. After I see what everyone is working on, I slip out the backdoor, into the courtyards where flowers abound and sculptures lurk. Here also is where the kiln building stands - its warmth, I am told, attracting a plenitude of moths.  The moths, which don't live long, often fall here and leave a wing or two.  I pick up these sacred offerings.  

Sunday, when I went outside, there, right there, was a Luna moth stretched out on the warm sidewalk. Maybe it is more accurate to say half a Luna moth, since she was missing her long tendrils. I thought for sure she was dead but when I looked closer I saw her shift her weight on her tiny, weary feet. I went to scoop her up, with the intention of putting her on a pink hibiscus to rest comfortably in her final minutes. She surprised me with a flap of her wings. I tried to lift her again, and she took flight, without her tendrils or "tails". She rose above my head and hovered a bit, a showy little air-dance, and then climbed higher, higher, and then out of sight. She was battered. She was bruised. She was broken - but she soared.

I went back into my class so happy about this. My instructor was working on a pendant, for herself, a rare thing, but she has had some tough times recently and needed to create a heartfelt piece.  I came in just in time to see her carefully set a small bit of swan down under glass.

 I watched over her shoulder: learning and understanding - so very worth the price of admission..


  1. oh my my my...glad I turned on the 'puter this afternoon...
    my my my...magic happening girl...magic
    and messages.....let the luna be yours
    If you ever have the chance or time...go back in blog and read the beginning...where I talk about artistic women....how they guided my inward journey......I don't see them anymore but, the journey was fabulous and continues....your healing babe you're healing.....woooooohooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    1. I definitely will go back Suz. Very interested to hear about it. Hope all is well.

    2. ah, don't bother....I'll bore you to death...
      All is well,just busy with family
      hope you get good at making jewelry

  2. Sounds like you're in a great place.

  3. August 21...! It is now September 4th....where...are..you..?
    post something from the frontline

  4. tap tap, knock knock....anyone there?

  5. So glad I found you again. I am a silver jewellery person, and would love to take a course. Making a note to myself to look for one. And some swan down.

  6. Curious to hear the next instalment...

  7. hey! clear your throat, at least

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  13. HI, it's me, Suz. October 2016. Wishing you a wonderful Fall. Hope you are doing well