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I’ve just noticed that this whole metal clay thing can become a business. How did I find out? People bought stuff from me. I found it a bit ridiculous at my stage of the game, though there were a couple of pieces that could pass the muster. (always wanted to use that phrase).

From the ridiculous to the sublime (no, I’m not dyslexic), an acquaintance came over one day and noticed a painting I had done of my daughter, Amanda.


My friend loved it and asked who painted it. I told him I did but I’m really into making jewelry these days, wearing like three rings and a necklace I made.
He said, “My wife and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary June whatever…do you think you could paint her portrait and make a set of jewelry, earrings and a necklace. Of course I’ll pay you, x amount of money.” My jaw would have dropped had I not propped it up at the piano. “Sure, that’s good, when do you need this all for?”

Here’s the essence of what I had to do. The input from the client was almost minimal. The “wife” is athletic, sexy and elegant”. He gave me a photo.
In the pit of my belly, part of the jewelry design just came to me. The portrait painting scared me half to death. NOBODY likes the way they look in a painting. Not at first anyway.

For five weeks I spread my time from my shop to a painting studio. Every time I changed something on the portrait, I changed something on the jewelry design.
I think I lived on adrenaline for a good 3 weeks. When I would get home in the evening from painting I was exhausted. Working on the jewelry all day, the next day, I was exhausted at night.

As a jeweller and a painter (and especially you hairdressers out there) you have to learn when it’s time to walk away. I re-did the background of the painting no less than three times. I used a lot of paint. I re-designed part of the jewelry set many more times. I had it in mind to make dangling heart earrings. I went blank every time I sat down. Why” I had made copper, bronze and silver chains. The technique would be the same. I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me. Now I have so many fired-up hearts in my studio, send your friends to me for Valentine’s day if they need something.

The deal is this. When adrenaline is pumping you can be creative good or creative bad. If it’s the latter, you have to chalk it up to experience (hate that phrase, too)..and use more supplies to do something new. Not so much adrenaline is left. Now you just have to practical and fit the bill. Oh, and pray the client likes your works. This is what I thought, at first.

When it came down to the silver clay necklace, I made a profile of a woman, full body. I decided that hearts around her would symbolize her children and her marriage. Those hearts came very easily. It was when I couldn’t make the dangling earring hearts, for the love of G0D, not even WITH a template, I knew I needed an alternate idea. Seeing the profile came out well, I made a set of earrings in profile, one facing west, the other facing east.


Unfortunately, I didn’t have a photo take with the earrings, or maybe I did and have it hidden away in some file folder in my computer.

Now, the rest of the painting. People suggested I paint the necklace on her in the portrait. Can you imaging if she hated the portrait AND the necklace? No, this was Certification 12th level or higher, in both metal clays. Oh and really, I should have taken an intensive course in the study of Monet. Yes, “monet” is involved and there’s that to consider. I won’t say how much he paid me but it was enough for me to act nonchalantly very cool and say, “Yeah, that’s good.” In the meantime I am dancing inside and almost in a state of disbelief. Like a good dream. (Just a little flashback, there…)

It came time to solder on those hearts to the profile and I’m not the soldering type, yet, if ever, though of course, I bought the thing-a-ma-jigs online to be able to do it correctly.
As an aside (when my husband brought home a small tank of oxygen it was almost bittersweet. I had to carry around a tank of oxygen 3 years ago, so I could breathe.) And look at me now, wheeling and dealing in paintings and jewelry…I wasn’t proud. I was grateful for all the advice, encouragement, kindness I received from everyone in this online jewelry designers, much the same as for the people who helped me through my lung transplant. It all seemed surreal at one point.

I digress. In the end, I ordered a product that could do this for you without solder. Unfortunately, my pieces were too thin for my husband to work with so he soldered everything. I love my husband. A LOT.

Now the jewelry was all done; anded, tumbled and shined. It was not perfect. But who’s heart is perfect anyway? There are always nicks and scratches. OK, that was just a line I thought up should the client point that out. Always be prepared.

Finally the painting. I sweated gallons on this and had to pick the frame. I was told about the pathology of someone looking at their portrait for the first time. My art teacher said, “You know she won’t like it.” What? “Nobody likes their portrait at first but then it grows on them, etc.” I felt doomed. Finally I let go and let G0D and after that, it was out of my hands.

Here’s one of those blurry camera phone photos I am notorious for.

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