Saturday, 11 February 2012

A free-association exercise

There is a certain sort of freedom to be gained by not worrying too much about whether things are meant to go with other things.
I made this necklace last October. We'd just had a fragment of glorious summer, a little Indian summer right where autumn usually is, and I decided to make a necklace from beads that somehow said something to me, without any reference to what I thought ought to go with what - it was a harvest of mismatched metals, colours, sizes, shapes, textures... It felt organic and unplanned, compared to what I'd done before; the wood and the flower motifs were meant to reflect the abundance of nature, as were the colours: late summer merging into autumn.

I strung it all together on a piece of turquoise string, so that the beads all hang in a slightly higgledy-piggledy way because of their very different hole diameters.

To my surprise I found this type of free-association exercise turned out to be a pretty emotionally cathartic experience. It all felt a bit like my life: my life as a mother, and my life as someone who works outside the home.

My day would start at the flower part of the clasp: I'd get up in the morning, have a very little bit of time at home, go to work, look after all the different projects and try to keep them in order, then come home and have a nice period of calm and quiet to myself in the evening before my own bedtime. And do it all again the next day, and the next, round and round and round...

Looking at it that way, when the necklace was complete, I realised some things about my work-life balance that hadn't occurred to me before.

To my utter surprise, a lot of people have since commented "I like your necklace" followed by "did you make it yourself?"

I am not entirely sure whether this should be taken as a compliment, but I'm taking compliments wherever I can get them these days!

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