How long has it been?

I’ve been making jewelry since I was a kid.
Back then, I had a plastic yogurt container filled with seed beads and sequins.
I remember making a pendant out of denim and clothesline wire and glue; the
necklace was crochet thread. In the 80s, I had a pair of acid-washed jeans (who
didn’t?) with an unfortunate rip at the knee. I sewed beaded fringe right on the
rip, to make it seem intentional – but of course that made kneeling in church a
wobbly, bruising affair. I also flirted with sewing laces and sequins on cotton

Now that I’m almost 7 months
Bellyfull, I find jewelry-making therapeutic and absorbing again. It’s been an
on-and-off thing for me. Earlier this year I had a jewelry party in Moksha, and
neglected to tell most of my past customers. 😉 My sister has offered to be my
business manager, partly because she is not too happy with little beads on the
floor attacking her feet.

I don’t think
I have a steady market in Manila. Most of my work is too, well, irregular. And
there aren’t too many people who have room in the budget for that wonderful
space between throwaway geegaws and what they consider “real” jewelry. I’ve had
some success on eBay. It was a surprise to me that people were willing to pay
shipping from here to the US or Europe to obtain my pieces. It was a sad
decision for me to halt selling on eBay. (There’s a reason sellers call it
“feeBay,” and not too affectionately.) The payment method of choice, Paypal, is
available in Argentina, whose economy collapsed, but is not available in the
Philippines – because we are considered right up there with Indonesia as one of
the world’s biggest credit fraud risks. Just thinking about it makes me grind my
teeth. So I will stop now.

I have a
lovely, useful book called “Primitive and Folk Jewelry,” by Martin Gerlach,
which was originally published in the early 1900s. It has black-and-white
photographs of jewelry from many cultures, using materials as varied as gold and
cowrie shell and brass and cloth in the same piece. Many pieces are jewelry not
merely as adornment, but as talisman, collaged memento, coded message. Many are
also made by hand, with the simplest of tools, their irregularity conveying the
signature and spirit of the artist.

Maybe Belly will like beads, or torches.
Maybe he’ll like working and creating with his hands when he grows up. That will
be a good thing.