Pinterest is a challenging little website when looking for inspiration. On one side, it is a great platform for inspiration where you can share the brilliance of others, on the other, it is a great way to discover just how easy practice can make something look while creating your own “Pinterest Fail”. I have to admit I really only look at Pinterest about 1-2 times a month but when I do login, I love to look at how awesome other jewelry artists are and I often file items into a folder for future inspiration. In a twist of irony, I almost never go back through it for inspiration, thankfully that does not make the platform less fun to browse through.
My best friend’s Mom, Muriel, loves butterflies. Two years ago her late husband asked me to create a wireframe necklace and earring set in sterling silver for Muriel for Christmas. There were a couple of problems with this that ultimately made me unable to provide what he was asking for: 1, I do not actually work with sterling silver; 2, I knew I did not have the skill to produce what he had his heart set upon at the time. As this unfolded, I felt that my inability to create this project for him caused some friction between us that remained unresolved prior to his death. Muriel has told me this was not how he felt – but more importantly I really wanted to be able to do this for him and couldn’t. Not being able to meet that expectation continues to resonate with me because I adored him and just wanted him to be proud of me.
As I was scrolling past posts on Pinterest in early November, I stumbled upon a wire frame Celtic Butterfly instructional post. I was immediately inspired, not only was this perfect for a shadow box display but they were going to tell me how to do it! Sweet!
I know you are laughing at my hubris – looking back, so am I.
I love wire, playing with it, shaping it, using a hammer and anvil to texture, flatten and stiffen it. All of it, love it. However, this was a great lesson in things I could use LOTS more practice in. My first 2 or 3 wing attempts are hilarious they look nothing like a butterfly wing, though they are a pretty impressive mess of wire. After that, I did get a bit more skill and the end results do look like butterflies. I even like them, but they did not look like something I would create. As soon as I realized that, expressing this project within my own style became important, then the project really unfolded. It became so much more than what I would have created using another person’s vision.
The time that I spent on the Celtic-styled butterflies was essential however. These plans gave me the shape and structure of the butterfly, it also gave me the certainty that I could reproduce this in a style that was my own. My failure to produce a replica of someone else work actually provided me with the confidence to pursue my own vision of this project.
I love how each of these butterflies turned out. I love how the challenge of failing provided me with confidence in myself. I love how much Muriel loved the completed shadow box. I also love how it allowed me to fulfill a promise to someone I loved, even after they are gone. This project may not have been as beautiful without a Pinterest fail and the lessons it taught me. I love how it forced me to own and acknowledge that I have a style that is my own and that I can produce something amazing that is all my own vision.
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