Sitting on grey, weathered wood between members of my immediate family, I watched my cousin Anna walk down the aisle with her father, my Uncle Don. The scene was pure magic in the outdoor pavilion, facing a glittering pond and fountain, all set against the backdrop of a draping willow and pristinely blue sky. A better day could not have been asked for.
Many, particularly the bride and groom, had anticipated this day for months. Anna and her new husband, Adam, along with their families and friends, put loads of work into creating a gorgeous wedding. With Anna and Adam living the Minneapolis area, far enough away for visits in either direction to be only an annual occurrence, our family wasn’t able to offer the help that we wished that we could; or so I thought.
Last fall I received a message from Anna asking my sister Chelsea, and me to make the jewelry for both her bridesmaids and her. Of course I jumped at the chance to help Anna and to have an excuse to get my hands in some more beads. After finishing school for the year, I began work on bracelets and earrings for Anna’s six bridesmaids and a necklace for the bride.
I found myself feeling differently as I worked to wire wrap scores of glass pearls to braided chain for Anna’s necklace, than I do when I make pieces to sell on Etsy or to give as gifts. What was strange for me with this project was the fact that I had not designed the jewelry that I was making. I haven’t done a lot of custom work, so it almost felt like I was cheating by creating something from Anna’s ideas. When I develop a piece of my own design, I get an image in my head of what I want it to look like, and then I work fervently to make it into a three-dimensional reality until I’m satisfied. My mom has often walked into the room where I work at home and commented that I am “in the zone” as I am in the midst of a rush of design ideas. This often will indicate that my fingers are moving quickly, only speaking if spoken to, hardly paying any attention to whatever I have playing on TV, and piece after piece are being hung on the jewelry tree that acts as the home for not yet priced necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
This so-called “zone” is a place that I love to find myself in, and will sometimes try to force myself into if I’m in a bad mood and long for some catharsis. Stringing sparkly, bronze colored bracelets for Anna’s bridesmaids put me in a different place rather than my normal, or rather eccentric, creative dwelling. My fingers still moved that the same hurried pace, but one large difference was that because I wasn’t relying on my own brain for the image of what I was making, I was able to pay closer attention to the show that I was watching on Netflix. Thanks to my best friend Luann, who lets me use her account, I watched the entire series of The Wonder Years this summer.
Another difference would be that I knew exactly who would be wearing this jewelry and when. When I make something to sell or give as a gift, there’s always the unknown new history of the piece to begin when given to the new owner. A necklace leaves my hands, and I don’t know how or when it will be worn, and while I tend not to give it too much thought, I will often have a fleeting moment of wondering what the new owner will wear it with and to what sort of occasion. In this case, I knew all the details of when, where, how, and with what outfit. This presented me with a new sense of excitement, and pressure, to string each bead and fasten each chain with careful pride. While making Anna’s necklace specifically, I knew that this pearl and ribbon piece had the potential of being in her jewelry collection for the rest of her life. This notion gave me the drive to put me in a new zone: one that is filled with romantic images of weddings and the God blessed marriages that follow. I was honored to offer Anna something that could make her and Adam’s day even more exciting and wonderful than it already was shaping up to be.
The vows have now been said, rings exchanged, the bride kissed by her groom, and it was a glorious day. As I sat with my family and enjoyed watching the union of two wonderful people, I prayed that God would bless their marriage for the rest of their lives, all the while finding my eyes lingering on the neck of the bride, and the ears and wrists of the bridesmaids. I commend Anna for designing such beautiful jewelry, and I am so grateful to have been able to have the experience of bringing it to life for her.
Congratulations Anna and Adam!