3.10.2010

Behind the Scenes: Never Give Up...Always Surrender

milagro cross pendant bunny silver jewelryMilagro Cross, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
sterling silver wire, garnet, silver cross pendant
and acrylic painted polymer clay cross

I have a yoga teacher that loves to motivate her class with a memorable quote from the movie Galaxy Quest: "Never give up. Never surrender." Her clever humor always gets a chuckle out of me even though I'm drowning in sweat and the back of my legs feel like they're on fire.

Lately I've been rewriting this quote in my head to say "Never give up. Always surrender."


milagro cross pendant bunny silver jewelryMilagro Cross, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
sterling silver wire, garnet, silver cross pendant
and acrylic painted polymer clay cross

I'm definitely living this affirmation moment to moment, trying to renew its wisdom when I find myself wanting to give up on this crazy life or quit on my art. The only sure thing I've learned from doing art for over 20 years is that if a piece is suppose to manifest, then given the right amount of time I can be certain that it will happen. More often then not, if I let go of the struggle to create and stop holding on to a particular time frame, everything falls into place accordingly.


milagro cross pendant bunny silver jewelrywooden milagro cross

My journey to create a milagro cross pendant for Hint Jewelry started with a gift from a friend ten years ago. During a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico a friend saw this milagro cross and thought it was the perfect gift for me...she was so right! I've loved this cross with all my heart. There is something about the mixture of worn, soft wood and hard metal along with all its wonderful organic imperfections that just feels like me in object form.


milagro cross pendant bunny silver jewelrySilver Milagro Cross Necklace, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
garnet, sterling silver wire, and silver milagro cross pendant

Fast forward to 2007 when I was just starting to experiment with precious metal clay, and here is one of my first necklaces. Conceived as a type of rosary, I used garnets to accent my precious metal clay milagro cross pendant in silver. Just when my own milagro cross started to take shape, I became distracted and let it sputter out. I hadn't really thought through how to fabricate the pendant using just one mold and was instead pressing three different stamps into the clay to make my images.

milagro cross pendant bunny silver jewelryacrylic painted polymer clay milagro cross pendant

After three years of fine tuning how to design rubber stamp molds for precious metal clay, I was ready to come up with a new solution to my milagro cross. Here is a sample of the new milagro cross made out of polymer clay and painted with burnt sienna and gold. I decided to use symbols that reminded me of spring and Easter.



From the very beginning, I have viewed my art as creating my own stylized lexicon of a personal symbolic language. The symbols themselves are not unique, but rather they reflect my taste -- like a handwriting sample. This cross is an example of how I'd love to build stories into one piece from my collection of designs. Like a cartouche of Egyptian hieroglyphics, my cross tells a universal story through personal symbols.


mini cookie cutters dragonfly heart crossmini cookie cutter collection

Instead of cutting the cross out by hand, I purchased a mini cookie cutter from The Cookie Cutter Shop online. You can find all kinds of neat shapes to use with precious metal clay or polymer clay like a dragonfly mini cookie cutter.

Though I still have a few technical problems to sort out before I make another Hint Jewelry milagro cross in silver, I'm so close to seeing this piece manifest. For whatever reason, I've always had more faith in an ongoing art project that has taken three years, then I have had with real life. I suppose that's what makes each moment an opening -- a continual invitation to always surrender.

For more ideas for running an online business or making metal clay jewelry see my whole Behind the Scenes blog series.

7 comments:

  1. Love that cross u made.. The hammered look gives it such an antique feel.

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  2. I love it! Can't wait to see it in the shop soon!

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  3. where to begin... how i love hearing the story behind your work? your symbols? how in love i am with this evolution of integrating paint into your pmc work?
    you are so incredibly right about the surrender though... when i am sitting sketching or in the act of executing a design and it is feeling forced, the time comes to just leave it alone... and it does come back... wondrous and complete... so glad you have patience with your work... and how you have modified the affirmation...
    the lines following 'from the beginning...' are a really wonderful synopsis of how you think and create...

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  4. Beth- I read lots of blogs and hardly ever leave comments but I felt I had to tonight for you. I really like your silver charms but I love your new cross. The paint on top of the silver is beautiful- wouldn't have thought it would turn out that way. Thanks for sharing your creative process with us.

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  5. Yes, I also find that getting out of my head with all of its shoulds, musts, cants, wonts, is the primary task in preparing myself to create art. Surrendering to the moment is essential -- as well as just picking up that brush, or scissors, or ink pad and physically getting into motion! OK, when are you listing your Milagro cross -- this is something I must have?!?

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  6. Thanks for sharing the journey of your milagro cross with us. Can see why you fell in love with the cross from Santa Fe - you wonder how any hands have stroked it and how mmany people have treasured it before you. Sometimes the best pieces take that long convoluted journey - but then there's just that much more of your good juju in it. Look forward to the unveiling of your milagro cross (:

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  7. Must make a clarification that the gold cross in the photo is actually made of polymer clay (plastic) with acrylic paint on it. Wouldn't that be cool though! I did see someone apply paint or some kind of coloration to silver metal clay, so it must be possible. Unfortunately, I haven't made my new cross in silver because I still have a few technical things to work out.

    Virginia, I love your solution of getting into the physicality of it to motivate. This is a big stumbling block for me as I'm such a contemplative. Thanks for this tip!

    Catherine, oh yes just holding something that has the energy of others is part of the magic and sometimes out in the marketplace I forget the power of this juju in objects. Thanks for bringing that back into the light for me!

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I'd love for you to share your ideas and stories on my blog! Please know that I may not always be able to e-mail you a direct response, so be sure to check back to my blog and continue the dialogue. Many blessings for connecting with me through word and image :)