Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Jewelry Making as Craftivism

During this holiday season, I find myself reflecting on the new word in my lexicon - "craftivism" and on what I have always called "meaningfulness." I'd like to share my thoughts with you.

Several years ago, I found myself out of a job after many years of working with young children, families and teachers in what I considered to be a very meaningful way. Work had always dominated my life and unemployment was very difficult. Being unable to readily find a new job hit me even harder. After a while, however, I realized that I was being given a gift—the gift of time. So I dug out all the tools and materials that I had collected over years but never used and began to make jewelry.  Immediately I felt a shift in my being. Some long dormant part of me was being awakened. I was a woman possessed, making one embellishment after another.

Jussie's Jewelry
At first, making jewelry was a guilty pleasure. Throughout my career I had always felt that my work was a meaningful contribution to society. Making jewelry was just for fun. Whenever I was asked what I was doing, I answered, almost apologetically, that I was “just” making jewelry. 

Eventually a friend of mine expressed, “What are you talking about? Jewelry brings great joy to people. People love jewelry.” That simple statement reframed my thinking completely.

I’m now back to work full time again, this time in a job where I'm teaching teachers. I derive great satisfaction from what I do but now I make jewelry on the side too and I feel more in balance than I ever did before. So to all you craftivists out there I say, “Thank you.” Thank you for your efforts to improve the world and thank you for all the joy you bring to us through your crafts and your creativity. 

Posted by Jussie's Jewelry

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