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The Mind of a Jewelry Designer in Plymouth MN Part 2

Posted by Stuart J. Adelman on

So it’s still 2004, and we arrive home from Tucson with our pretty gem in hand. What to make with it? Sometimes I get instant feelings about what a gemstone wants to be set into, and sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes I know right away what to make. The design just comes to me, pops into my head if you will. Other times I will see the design in something, like a flower, a cloud, hairs in the bathtub. I see designs everywhere. It’s a gift, I think. It’s also a curse, I think. But once I see the design in my mind, it is a mad scramble to get it made. Because if I don’t get it made right away, or within a reasonable amount of time, someone else will make it. I have learned that the design has all the power. It wants to be made. It needs to be made. And since I am a maker, it comes to me. If I cannot help it get made, it moves on to another maker. It might sound a little crazy (or a lot crazy), but I have seen it happen too many times not to believe it.

So now I have this amazing Madeira Citrine in my hand, and out comes the sketch book and my favorite pencil. I start to draw the stone shape first. It’s a pretty simple sketch, nothing elaborate or detailed. Just simple lines at first, until the design starts to form. Then I will start to detail it. But first, I need to come up with something that impresses me. And after 40 years of doing this, it takes a lot to impress me. Nothing like putting undue pressure on myself. But if you recall from my last blog post, this gemstone is for the AGTA Spectrum Design contest, and the deadline is September something, and this is only February. So I have plenty of time! I put a few ideas down, but nothing interesting is coming to me right now, so I’ll get back to designing soon. Away goes the sketch book, and the Citrine goes into the safe.

I start to get busy in March, and by the end of April it’s all I can do to keep up with my work load. It’ll be nonstop until the end of July, at least. But that will still give me a month or two to make up a special piece for the contest. Plenty of time!

Well, now it is September, and I am still slammed with work. Looks like I will miss this years’ contest, but that’s okay, I’ll have even more time to enter in 2005. And boy will I have a great design by then! Meanwhile, our lease was up at the building we were in on May 1, 2005, and there just so happened to be some buildings going up one block away. I could see them working from my office. ‘Own your own office’, the sign said. Okay, we said. That was February. We’ve got three months to move! And the timing is not so great, as our busy time starts at the same time we need to be packing. Oh well, once it is done, we won’t have to do it again.

We are in the new place, and have barely gotten everything set up, and I have got a backlog of work. My calendar fills up through September. Well, there goes another year. Maybe I will get to that fabulous Citrine by Christmas or in the spring for the 2006 contest. Or maybe not. By the end of a crazy busy year, I have forgotten all about the Citrine. I am reminded of it occasionally when the photo pops up on our gallery computer slide show, and I am pretty sure I know where it is in the safe, but it is not on the radar for projects that need doing. There are many other priorities right now, and besides, a contest piece is a big investment that does not pay very much. Oh I would get some great notoriety and a cool trophy, but those things don’t pay the bills, so on to the back burner it goes.

Fast forward to 2011. Maybe this is the year I can finally make up a design for the Citrine, and enter it into the Spectrum Design Contest. They usually send out the information brochure in the summer sometime, so I will find out all the details when I get it. When the brochure does show up, I eagerly read all of the rules, requirements, and categories. The entry deadline is still September, so that’s okay. Wait, how much is the entry fee?! Um, that’s a little much. I think I will have to think about this a little longer.