Sunday, June 24, 2007

...but it's for a good cause...

Jewelry making has been a hobby of mine for the past few months. I do it mainly to distract myself from the grim reality of graduate student life. Somehow, making a nice-looking necklace or a particularly dangly pair of earrings offsets the unfathomable panic that bubbles up each time someone asks, "So, when do you graduate?"

Recently I was overcome by an odd surge of goodwill. I got an email from a friend regarding a fundraising event in which beads from South America would be made into jewelry that would then be sold in a silent auction to raise money for the people who made the beads in the first place. They were looking for beaders to make the jewelry. We would buy the beads and then have three weeks to make a necklace for the event. I'm all for supporting the local people and so I signed up.

We arrived at Spark Craft Studio ready to see a wide selection of funky ethnic handmade beads. We were met by the lovely, Maria, a young entrepreneurial type with the most amazing sense of optimism. Her ideas about bringing the proceeds back to the local community and supporting local jewelers were admirable. Why would you want to buy a mass-produced item that hundreds of other people will also buy when you can have something unique and handmade?

Then I saw the beads:

It's not that I have anything against bright orange or blue, or even anything against what looked to be some sort of polymer bead one might make in grade school. It's just not my style. At all.

I hoped that perhaps other people would turn up and it wouldn't be just me and my friend shouldered with the responsibility of making ALL the necklaces for this fundraising event. Eventually, the guilt overcame me and I bought $16 worth of these clay beads. It was all the money I had in my thin little wallet (Maria only took cash.) Spark Craft Studio was nice enough to give us a store credit of $10 for participating in the fundraiser. I was going to need all the help I could get. I hoped that by the time I got home, inspiration would strike.

One week later and the beads are still sitting on my diningroom table. Mocking me. Who will win this battle? Me or the beads...only time will tell.

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