I’m a big fan of trying new things. A few months ago I registered for a Belt Making Workshop from Christy Tomlinson. I’m sure you’ve seen the bracelets – made from leather belts and hand stamped with meaningful words. Christy is one of my all time favorite artists. She constantly tries new things and shares all her knowledge and talent with beginners like me. I admire Christy a lot because she has no fear when it comes to art or creating. That takes guts. To put yourself out there day after day for the whole world to see is scary. I want to be fearless when it comes to creating. Sharing more of the projects that I’m working on is gently nudging me towards being a fearless creator.
After registering for the belt making workshop it sat in my inbox for about a month. The workshop consists of several how to videos and a complete video of tools and supplies that are needed. The bracelets are really beautiful. I have seen them over the years and was so excited to be able to learn how to make them. Like most of my projects I thought it would be a “snap”. Snap is in parenthesis for a reason folks. I often dive head first into a project only to find that it’s a little more difficult to complete or the process is much more challenging than I could have imagined. Trying something new takes time and patience. Lots of patience.
After watching the videos and gathering all the tools (there are many…and they are somewhat pricey) I sat down ready to turn out bracelet after bracelet. The version of this project in my head was not exactly what turned out in reality. Let’s just say my optimism came to an abrupt halt when I couldn’t get the snap to fasten. Oh. My. Goodness. Who knew that snaps could be so stubborn. I’d get the snap set and hammer away like a mad woman to get it to fasten. I’d try the bracelet on and go to take it off…the snap would stick. The male part of the snap would stay in the female part of the snap and stick together essentially not allowing the bracelet to stay closed. Insert hair pulling emoji here. Oh the frustration. At first I thought it was me, then I blamed the cheap snaps from Walmart.
Eventually I found snaps that were specific for leather use. I hammer the stink out of those snaps and so far that seems to be working. Hurdle 1 – complete.
Next step was the metal stamping of words. Who knew that stamping in a straight line was so challenging? See picture below. Sometimes my hammering was too soft…barely scratching the surface. Other times I hammered too hard and too crooked and had to start again…all while using tape as my guide.
Eventually after a few mishaps I got the feel of the stamps and how much pressure you need to apply with the hammer. I was able to gauge where the stamps should be placed and Voila…straight words. I had contemplated for a while naming my bracelets “Slightly Imperfect” – giving myself a little loop hole for my impatience.
After several rounds of practice and a whole bunch of new “slightly imperfect” bracelets for myself I got the hang of it. And I LOVE making these bracelets now. I have started taking orders and making them as gifts. It’s been a really fun project that I am especially fond of. Hurdle 2 – complete.
I think that I am most proud of the fact that I didn’t give up. Learning new things isn’t always easy or fun for that matter. Whether you’re making jewelry or learning a new skill at work – it’s a process. Make room for the hurdles that you will cross. Deep breathe your way through the frustration. But KEEP GOING. The end result just might surprise you.