Yesterday was my niece's 8th birthday party and she invited me to come and do a jewelry demonstration and project. I was honored to be invited and thrilled that she was interested in what I do. But I accepted with a bit of trepidation. What could I possibly do with the girls that would be safe, interesting, and fun for more than ten minutes? I love making jewelry but I recognize that it involves a great deal of tiny, tedious activity. I find the repetition enjoyable and meditative but I am not eight.
After considering several projects and rejecting each for a variety of reasons (toxic chemicals, too expensive, requires too much supervision) I determined on making silver domed pendants on spring-wire necklaces with beads. The pendant could be personalized by each girl and would allow them to see some metalworking processes that, perhaps, they had never thought of before. Then, they could string their beads with minimal supervision.
I gathered all the materials and loaded up the car and headed over to my niece's house. The girls started arriving as I was setting up my gear. They ran about and jumped on the trampoline and were generally busy being little girls and I started to sweat a bit. How on earth was I going to get all of them through the project when they couldn't stay in one place for ten seconds together?
The moms and I called their attention and I sat down at my bench and started to show them how to make the pendant. It was absolutely silent. They were gathered around my bench watching and listening to everything I told them about the materials and the tools and the reasons behind each step. The entire demonstration took about 15 minutes and they enthralled for the entire time. They asked really bright questions and were excited about making their own necklaces. After I finished showing the pendant-making process, they went off to the worktable to string their beads. One at a time, they came over to the workbench and assisted in the making of their pendant.
I had such a good time working with all of them. It is really refreshing to experience that bright interest of a child again and see the things that we, as adults, often take for granted or have ceased to care or think about. They embrace the process of creation with such enthusiasm and joy. They share their wonder and energy so willingly.
My niece and in-laws kept thanking me for taking the time to do the project with them. But, really it was a gift they all gave to me, to spend the afternoon with the girls and get a fresh perspective on the nature of work and the joy of making things. I had a wonderful afternoon.
“Am I not a man and a brother?”
10 months ago