Rubbing Elbows with Jewelry Rockstars

WP_20150731_016It’s impossible to create in a bubble. For me, anyway. I find that my work is continually influenced and challenged by that of other artists I admire. One of my biggest wire-wrapped jewelry idols is Sarah Thompson of Sarah-n-Dippity. Her work is modern, yet romantic with just the right amount of edginess.

Sarah has been getting quite a bit of press in the jewelry world lately because her first book, Fine Art Wire Weaving, is scheduled for release in September. I’ve been inspired by her work for a couple of years now, so I’ve been dabbling a bit with jewelry in her style through online classes and excerpts from her book that have been featured recently in magazines such as Belle Armoire Jewelry and Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry.

These four bracelets are some of the results of my exploration of Sarah’s style. I’m looking forward to seeing how her style and the techniques I’ve picked up from her influence my jewelry. The two love knot bracelets are m y own designs, using the techniques and concepts I learned through creating the other two bracelets, which are Sarah’s designs. I’m toying with a few more knotted designs in my head right now as I type.

WP_20150731_004I shared these photos in the projects area of Sarah’s wire wrapping course on Craftsy today, and I was thrilled to get a response from her. It turns out she’s working on a similar knotted bracelet design for a future Step-by-Step edition, and she liked my spin on that idea. She said it was “super cool”, and I’ve been grinning like a fool ever since.

Some people get excited about a close encounter with rock stars. I get excited about a complement from one of my jewelry idols. Today is a good day.

Advertisements

Dysfunction Junction, What’s Your Function?

There’s a common misconception in our society that the best way to deal with unpleasant realities is to look away and remain silent. One of the most pervasive realities in our society, which we consciously choose to ignore, is sexual abuse. I originally published this post on my husband’s blog a little over a year ago. It’s about my home town, Trinidad, Colorado, and the dirty little secret that town keeps for multiple teachers and coaches in the community who have been sexually abusing teenage girls for generations.

Trinidad School District #1 is currently under a Title IX investigation by the Federal Office for Civil Rights. That investigation is in the third and final stage of review currently. It is my sincerest hope that the findings of that investigation will be made public soon. I also hope that this story becomes known nationally because it’s time we have a national conversation about this problem. The Obama administration has focused its attention on the sexual abuse that occurs on college campuses. That’s a start, but we need to go deeper. This behavior starts in high schools and middle schools, and until we get to the root of that problem, we’re never going to solve it.

I’ll be sharing more of my own story of the sexual abuse that I endured while growing up in Trinidad along with more of the backstory of the current OCR investigation here on my own blog. The time for silence has passed. Now is the time for action. As a parent of a daughter, I want this abuse to be stopped. There’s an attitude of not my child, not my problem in our society, and I couldn’t disagree more with that attitude. My attitude is, if your child isn’t safe, my child isn’t safe. So if I have to work to protect your daughters in order to keep my own daughter safe, so be it.

Simplify...

Trinidad Colorado is a deceptively charming little western town. It’s conveniently located on I-25 halfway between Denver and Albuquerque, NM where it’s nestled at the base of a distinctive mesa named Fisher’s Peak. Trinidad’s streets are lined with gorgeous, if poorly maintained, old buildings; and its citizens, who frequently wave to strangers, seem unusually friendly. But beneath all that friendly western charm is a dirty little “secret” that the locals tacitly accept as normal and acceptable behavior.

20120929 Hwy 12 010 Simpson’s Rest – Trinidad, CO. Photo by Matt Reamy

If you’re considering moving there, you should know the truth about Trinidad, CO, and you certainly won’t hear it from the locals. That charming little town happens to be a safe haven for sexual predators with a taste for young girls. The Trinidad school district not only employs multiple sexual predators, but it goes to great lengths to protect them, too. Despite a nearly continuous stream of allegations of inappropriate contact with students that spans decades, most of these predators…

View original post 670 more words

Selective Compassion

I heard a great phrase today: selective compassion.

These words resonate with me for a couple of reasons. First of all, I have to admit that I’m guilty of selective compassion. I have a strong tendency to identify with those I feel are innocent victims of circumstance—children, the elderly, animals, etc. Compassion for the innocent comes easily and naturally to me. I am far less inclined to feel compassion for grown adults whose circumstances are purely the result of their personal choices, however. This is perhaps most evident in my lack of compassion for The Ex.

The second reason selective compassion resonated with me today is because my last two blog posts were met with highly irrational and verbally abusive responses from an angry reader. This reader left a long, rambling response to one of those blog posts. I moderate all initial comments from readers, and I chose not to approve this particular response for publication because I don’t feel it adds any value to the conversation. I did respond to the comment privately, however, and my reply was met with more bitterness and hatefulness. Among other things, this angry reader (who is not The Ex, in case you’re wondering) accused me of being a narcissist and a lousy parent.

Being the introspective sort, I’ve given a great deal of thought to these accusations. I’ve examined them from every angle in order to determine if there’s any truth to those remarks. Although I’m far from perfect, I am definitely not a narcissist. On the contrary, I was consistently cast in the role of Echo to many a Narcissus prior to meeting my husband, Matt. My attraction to men who couldn’t love me was actually the subject of many therapy sessions during my late 20s and early 30s. Even though I know I’m not a narcissist by any stretch of the definition, being accused as such stung nonetheless.

As for the quality of my parenting, I’ve questioned this myself in an earlier blog post. I am nowhere near perfect in that role, either. I have so much to learn, and I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with parenting daily. It’s easy to believe that I am a “lousy parent” because I already doubt myself in that regard, but it’s much too early to make any firm conclusions about my parenting. I’ve only been a full-time parent for just over one year, after all. By all indications, however, my husband and I seem to be doing a pretty good job thus far.

Over the course of the past year, our daughter seems increasingly happier and more confident. She’s blossomed socially and makes friends more easily than ever. She went from testing a full grade below her current level in math to testing a grade and a half above her current level. She’s found an outlet for her passion for music in the cello, which is in turn helping her develop the ability to commit to goals and the work ethic to achieve them. It’s impossible to say at this point how successful my daughter will ultimately be or how much of her future success can ever be attributed to my influence. It is reasonable to conclude, however, that these are not the sort of results typically achieved with lousy parenting.

As I’ve processed these deeply personal and hateful attacks on my character, the most dominant emotion I’ve felt toward my accuser is anger. Today, though, I realized that selective compassion is what allowed that anger to take root in the first place. The moment I recognized myself as someone who doles out compassion discriminately, the anger dissipated. Likewise, the moment I recognized selective compassion in my accuser, her words lost any power to hurt me.

The next time someone tries to provoke you, ask yourself where compassion fits into the picture. Are you choosing to forgo compassion by engaging in their drama? Are they choosing to forgo compassion with their provocative words or actions? Chances are, the answer to both questions is a resounding yes. That is certainly true in my experience with the Angry Reader.

I don’t know how consistently or universally I can really expect to feel compassion for others, but expanding the depth and breadth of my compassion is something I plan to consciously work on now that I understand how quickly and easily compassion neutralizes drama.