When I was a child, a teenager and even a young adult, I was very concerned with getting people’s approval. I spent a lot of time trying to please people. I didn’t have much self confidence and worried people didn’t like me. I was a very anxious kid that often felt unworthy and “not enough”. I could barely spend time on my own : being alone felt painful and scary.
As a young adult, with time (and a lot of therapy) I gradually learned to know and love my true self. I learned to make the difference between what I wanted to do and what I was doing to get people to like me. And on that path, what really helped me heal my wounds and grow a sense of self is jewelry.
Sitting for long hours in my studio, making necklaces, playing with beads and fabrics slowly taught me to spend time on my own. It became fun. It felt good. I didn’t need to be with people all the time anymore. I wasn’t running away from solitude anymore : I was enjoying it. In fact, I often think that I still spend a lot of time alone because I have to make up for all the years I spent running away from myself.
Jewelry showed me intimacy. My studio became this little world of mine, this secret intimate universe where everything was possible. I learned that the journey was more important than the destination as I embraced the long hours it could take me to make a necklace.
Making jewelry taught me hard work and to take pride in what I do. I had never been fully dedicated to anything before. I began to look for inspiration everywhere around me. I would hunt beautiful color combinations and interesting material textures. I spent entire evenings embroidering beads and crystals to fabric to build a necklace, with “Project Runway” playing on my computer, its young designers giving me a sense of community.
My first big fabric necklaces were kept secret for a while. I loved them so much : not only because of what they looked like but mostly because of the deep joy I felt when I was making them. For a while, they all hung on a coat rack in my studio, hidden under a big sheet. At first, I didn’t want to show them to anyone, not even my flatmate who was a close friend.
I had finally learned to respect myself, my process, my need for intimacy and secrets. I had found my voice, my passion and what would become my work. For the first time in my life I was dedicated to doing something that came from inside and not from an outside pressure or a desire to please.
And that is how making jewelry became a huge part of my life…