"It's time I finished this piece," I said today.
I had begun work on it a little over three years ago for a beautiful bride.
She knew exactly what she wanted and she was really good at asking for it.
I didn't know how to set boundaries as a business owner
and so I said 'ok' to things that didn't sit well.
I undercharged, too.
Leather has ways in which it works best and I didn't know how to be firm.
I didn't know how to say 'not that' or "creative decisions are ultimately mine"
because I was scared to be controversial, scared to disappoint.
As the communication wore on I felt pinched and micro-managed: these are both things no one wants to experience as a maker. They kill the passion and mute the beauty of the resultant piece.
None of this was her fault, mind you. If I'd had the presence of mind to indicate my edges early on there would have been no issues. In my young-businesswoman naivete I let us both down terribly.
By the time I declined the half-finished order we were both very frustrated and
the experience changed my business model:
no more custom orders.
In January I broke that rule and made several custom listings in the Metal Shop
after announcing my intention to do so here.
The result was so beautiful and affirming:
I have come so far.
I have so far to go.
In the closet under a pile of elk hide lay this gorgeous piece, so badly needing to be finished.
Maybe it's this time of life...
Orion makes my heart so big and open
Motherhood makes me see the infant everyone once was and before I can harden again love creeps in and makes a home.
In the cut-out blank center section where I removed the custom text there will be a nest in layers.
I've never done anything like this before. I am having a leather rebirth.
I am thinking in hides again after several years of heaviness that started in the heart, started in a fear of not having enough..started with the moment a gifted girlfriend danced across my toes while trying to find her voice and resulted in the end of that bond.
I forgot about abundance.
I declared the world a limited thing with a place one could claim and defend like a stronghold.
Piece by piece I've worked to forgive everything; to see my hand in all of my own suffering.
When the pastel peeked out from underneath the huge and heavy mustard hide I had to chuckle...
and I had to do something with it.
After three years
I could finally look at the sadness and separate it from the leather.
I could see how this failure was the beginning of cocooning myself away to safety.
Like many other situations of late
I could forgive it all with ease
and move on.
I prayed a prayer for the woman who would have set this down next to her
ever-bubbling champagne glass,
filled with her lip gloss and powder and the room key
for her wedding night.
I reached back to that previous version of myself who was fearful and small of heart and I blessed her confusion.
I saw everyone in their best light and wished good things all around. I breathed and let go of what felt tight.
Steaming mug by my side
and heavy rainclouds over our cottage
I picked up my favorite brush
and got back to work
on a ghost.