There’s No Crying in Silversmithing!

It’s not like the universe didn’t warn me that things wouldn’t go my way at the lab last week.

I was clearing my desk that morning, waiting for it to be 9:40 so I could leave for the Craft Guild, and one of the papers I came across was a tear-away calendar entry from August 6 that I’d put aside instead of tossing.

The calendar entry read: “Nihil simul inventum est et perfectum.  Nothing is invented and perfected at the same time.”  (I was a Latin teacher in my previous life).

So that day I was working on a few new designs that I conceived of when I decided to devote myself (mostly) full-time to smithing.  They seemed simple enough at the time, but I’d never attempted any of them before, so, of course, they were proving to be a little stickier than anticipated.

I was frustrated because I didn’t even come close to finishing a piece, and I kept arriving at impasse after impasse.  I only get to go to the lab once a week right now, and building my home studio is turning into Michael and Holly’s relationship, so it really gets under my skin sometimes when I spend 3.5 hours in a repeating loop of okay, no, not that–maybe if I…no, what am I doing here?  Okay let’s try this, and–wait, that’s never happened before, the last two of these I made went just f–oh my god WHY WON’T THE SOLDER FLOW???

But I called a good friend and fellow artist  on the way home, who told me it’s a good thing that I had a “bad day” at the lab.  “It means it’s part of your everyday life now.  This is what you wanted when you left your job, to be able to do this every day, and bad days are just going to happen.”

So maybe it’s not a bad day, then.  It’s just a day that showed me what works and what doesn’t; how even tiny changes to or variations on a design can mean great differences in the process.

The Latin verb from which we get the English word perfect doesn’t always carry the same connotation of flawlessness that we assign.  It just means complete, finished, carried through.  I’m still discovering these designs that I’m reaching for; I’m still in the process of inventing them, so completing them is still some distance away.