I’m just not ready to continue the story where I left off. I get all gummed up. I know that before long I will be ready to tell everything. Each detail in its own time. So I will skip ahead a little and tell a part of my story that makes me very happy. It is the story of me making rings.

I tell a very short version of this happy story in my “about me” page on tinahdee.com. Ironic, or perhaps a divine appointment, that the jewelry came along right in the very midst of the part of my story I can’t talk about just yet. I’ve always been a creative person. Always drawing, writing, painting, making something, playing an instrument, singing. Sewing was a large part of my creative life until I had to go to work at a traditional job when I was in my late ’20’s. I even went to design school. I still get the best feeling inside when I look at fashion design magazines or think about cutting a sloper.

Anyway, I can’t say the jewelry caught me by surprise, because it was much sneakier than that. It was so smooth and stealth that I didn’t have time to be surprised. But it is funny, because of all the “crafty” type things, I never thought jewelry was something that I would be good at. It was becoming more popular to make your own jewelry with beads and clasps and jump rings, and it just seemed confusing to me. I literally had a thought: this jewelry stuff is just not me.

Well, I was given the opportunity to lead a large spiritual retreat for women. I wanted to pour as much of myself into the retreat weekend as possible. One of the traditions is to give the women a tiara at a special ceremony during their time. Usually the tiaras were ordered online, rhinestones and rhodium. They were always very pretty, but I decided that I would make the tiaras myself with Swarovski crystals and gold/silver plated wire. No, I had never done that before, no, it didn’t matter. I’ve always been the type of person that if my hands are busy, my mind is busy solving problems and coming up with ideas. Darin calls it mining for truth. Whatever it is, there’s just something about having busy hands for me that turns my mind in the right direction. I guess that’s why they say that idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

I don’t know how many hours I sat on my bed making those tiaras; unmaking them if I messed up and re-making. I know they weren’t the best tiaras ever to grace the retreat campground. I think they had a bit of a tendency to catch in your hair if you weren’t careful. And they had a delicate presence, you might not even notice someone was wearing it unless the moonlight caught the facets of the crystal and it flashed like a bejeweled lightning bug.

But I think, that wasn’t the point. The tiaras were for me. The experience of putting my hands to something with the intent of pouring my heart into a physical object – that had a profound effect on me and it was a lifeline during a very difficult time in my life. When the weekend was over and life went on, I heard the whisper of a friendly voice: don’t stop doing this. “This” was making jewelry, I knew that. I knew that I was going to figure out some way to continue.

At the time I was a freelance journalist writing about open source technology. I had pimped out my writing talent in order to make money; I was writing about something in which I had no interest and didn’t care about. And when I ran into my difficulties, the ones I have shared yet, my ability to keep the plates spinning on the writing was failing. Everyone could see it. My writing contracts were drying up because I just couldn’t pretend like my heart was in it anymore.

In the meantime, I was looking for a baby gift for a friend and someone else told me about this website called Etsy. Another friend was making bibs, diaper covers, and other baby accessories and selling them there. I bought a gift from her Etsy site and looked around a bit at some of the other shops. I should open a store here, I thought. Before long that’s what I did. I had created an account in May to buy the baby things, and by July I had a store. That was just the beginning of my amazing journey to full time ring maker and all the wonderful things that have happened to me and that I have been able to experience since jewelry making has transformed my life.

Written by Tina Gasperson

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