One of the things I like best about being a jewelry designer is making my own beads. It doesn’t matter whether they are made from silver, copper, bronze, polymer clay, stone, or glass. I find the most satisfaction from using beads I know I can’t get anywhere else. I often combine my own beads with beads and findings made by other crafts people I’ve come to know through blogs and through Etsy.
Drilling rocks, waxing and then buffing them takes time. So does drilling sea glass, though when the glass pieces are drilled the beads are finished. No waxing or buffing needed. Enlarging the holes in fresh water pearls also takes time, though I’ve learned to speed up that process considerably by using the same drilling technique I use for rocks and glass.
Drilling rocks and glass sounds like tedious business, but I actually really like to do it. A lot. There is great satisfaction when I drill from the opposite side of a stone and connect successfully with the first hole I’ve drilled. I think of how I would like to use each rock as I place it into the dish with the others, waiting to be cleaned up and waxed. So much possibility! I enjoy spending time on the beach looking for specific shapes colors or sizes of rocks, even though I already have boxes and boxes in my studio that would take me years to drill.
I also like to listen to books on CD while I work so I’m able to keep up with my “reading.” (Currently listening to “The Falls” by Joyce Carol Oates. I think it could be a bit of a slog to read but I am enjoying listening to it. A few books that stand out for me as excellent listening are: “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese, “The Lotus Eaters” by Tatjana Soli, “American Dervish” by Ayad Akhtar, and “Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles.)
Factoring in the usual distractions of an island summer, this is what two days of drilling looks like for me:
That would be 42 beach rocks, 50 pieces of sea glass, and 75 pearls of assorted size. I can’t wait to start working with them but I will have to. Tomorrow is an off-island day for me. Haircut, visit with Mom, groceries, and time at the Subaru dealer for a catalytic converter recall. But on Friday morning, don’t call me because I’ll be busy at my bench!