Into the Fire
by Juliette Williams
I’ve been on a real journey with jewelry making this past year. I found myself ill last year with a lot of time on my hands (I have Multiple Sclerosis, and had to leave my full time job at University of California, Santa Cruz to rehabilitate from a flare-up). One thing that struck one of my doctors has become the focus of the past year – jewelry making and photography. She suggested that I use these projects to help me in rehabilitating my coordination as well as focus and concentration. When I got sick, the flare-up affected me so that I forgot basic things, such as sitting up, walking a straight line, and remembering names. Bit by bit, they have come back and I’ve regained much of what I had ‘forgotten.
I had been working with polymer clay for a few years, and two years ago started experimenting with copper wire. I remember the first pair of pliers I got – I felt like a jeweler!
So, this year has been a wonderful creative journey. I’ve recently started working with more semi-precious stones, copper and brass sheet. In July, I started experimenting with ‘fire painting’ on copper and brass, and at the same time opened my first Etsy shop.
One thing I’ve learned in the past month: Fire is a teacher. Metaphorically, and literally. I get the torch going, and put a piece of copper or brass on the block and after that, it’s not up to me anymore. It’s as though the fire speaks to you, telling you the path you want to take on the metal, and how long to keep going before the ‘sentence is finished.’
This December some of these pieces will be in shows in Santa Cruz and Ben Lomond, California. And some of them are commissions for artist Doug Masury’s beautiful tapestries. I feel humbled and honored. Thankful beyond words.
Fire. It’s been cleansing. And such a teacher.
You can find the talented and sweet Juliette here: