Driving back to Montréal from Holidays in Nova Scotia, I had a lot of time to think about what I want for 2009. Besides the usual growing family happiness & prosperity bit, I realized that my creativity suffered in 2008. I had most of my attention on my daughter, and convinced myself I just didn’t have the time or the inclination to be creative. I would be creative on the computer: editing photos, working on my website, etc…
The only problem with this plan was, this was not tactile creativity. Although photo editing can be fun; staring at a computer screen did more soul killing than building for me. I realized, that if I were to keep on top of my creativity – which is my unwind, my meditation, my zen – I would have to make jewelry design more of a priority in 2009, even if the logic in the back of my mind is telling me I should be cleaning the house or finishing my website so to market all the things I make.
So, after being very inspired by the Starving Artists Jewelry Team I joined on Etsy, I decided to embark on 100 days of creativity: a piece a day, made & listed on Etsy until I reach 100 listings. Ok, so I cheat a bit here. I had about 30 pieces to begin with in my Etsy shop, and there are days when I get inspired to make 2 or 3 pieces in one sitting, and some days I don’t get to make any because my motherly duties come first. But the general idea is, 100 pieces of jewelry to signify 100 days of putting this side of me to the fore front. I am creative through & through, and without it I feel very out of sorts; it even led to depression in my early 20′s. Hell, I’m even left-handed! The touch, the colours & textures…this is so a part of me as breathing, it needs to be nurtured like a new born baby.
At first, I got off to a slow start. I had not been making jewelry regularly for so long I had a bad case of performance anxiety. So it meant unlisting and rearranging a few things I already had on Etsy. Finally, I was forcing myself at 10pm to make one piece. Even though my body was screaming go to bed – you have to get up early tomorrow. Even if it was a simple pair of earrings; just something. And you know what? It was the best thing I have ever forced myself to do. All of a sudden, the business ideas starting coming to me…the next step for marketing, where I want to take it, where I want to be in March (when I have to take another hiatus to play new mom all over again). I feel totally clear-headed, and directed. It was all because, I needed to reincorporate into the mix the one thing that inspires me, motivates me, gets me excited: making jewelry!
Now this probably sounds completely hokey to some (most?) of you. For goodness sake, you are making jewelry, you say…body adornment to pretty up one’s vanity…but no, I don’t see it that way. We all have talents; this happens to be mine. I believe in wearable expression: not wearing jewelry to hide our self-hatred or self-believed ugliness. It is to express, to inspire and heighten one’s self. I, as the artist, express myself with each piece. The wearer interprets the piece in the way that it makes them feel when wearing it. Maybe it reminds them of someone, something…this is my goal, that you enjoy wearing the piece because it goes with such-and-such outfit…and then go farther to wear something that is infused with the good intentions & energy of the person who made it. You know who made it. It is a one-of-a-kind, not just something off a conveyor belt. In our throw away society, materialism means so much, yet so little, as we will discard what we buy just as fast as we swiped the plastic to purchase it. I am hoping, especially in this economy, that the sentiment of cherishing the goods we buy because of the hard work that went into it – you for making your dollars – me for making the jewelry by hand – is brought back. This is not just for myself, but for all those who work away in the Cottage Industry. We are not driven by money, but by enjoyment, & a deeper need that so needs to be fulfilled again in this day & age.
My jewelry making philosophy is outlined on the front page of my (incomplete!) website heavenlyflower.com
Please check out the goodies in my Etsy Shop. I am almost half way to my goal! Even if you don’t buy you can look & appreciate. I hope it inspires you to evoke your own creativity, however you choose to express it.
Oh, and on the business side of it: once I get the 100 pieces complete I will then use this as an online portfolio to promote myself while I work on finishing the website. Don’t worry, I’m always thinking… Leilani Cleveland Deveau is a self-taught jewelry artist with over sixteen years of experience. 4 years ago she added the fiber arts (wool processing/dyeing/carding/spinning, knitting, crochet and felting) to her long list of creative interests. Leilani welcomes questions or comments from other crafters and handmade artists, as well as requests for custom, wholesale or consignment jewelry. Her home studio is located in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. You can contact her by email: email@example.com