Behind the Scenes: Revisiting Failure
When I took metalsmithing in college, my soldering was a mess. I chalked it up as a personal failure and threw soldering in the bin with all the other techniques I swore never to attempt again.
Fast forward fifteen years to a place in my life where I realized how silly it was not to master a good soldering join. Challenging myself to move towards the things that I resist, last weekend I embarked on a one day soldering workshop and revisited this essential metalsmithing technique.
Not only did I have tons of fun, but I noticed that since abandoning this technique every other thing I have done from knitting to taking bellydance classes contributed to a better result this time around.
I can imagine lots of reasons why I felt like my first attempts at soldering were a failure, but mostly I just wasn't open to the process. Last weekend I was a part of a classroom of three women who were lighthearted and was blessed with a teacher that had lots of neat tips like creating this channel in the firebrick to separate the soldered rings from the soon to be soldered.
Everything was easy and flowed. While it was happening, I realized my new experience wasn't coming from natural talent, but it was because I had fine tuned my dexterity and focus through all sorts of other endeavors like welding and yoga. This time around I was excited to plop my newly soldered rings into the pickle and then reform into circles using a mandrel and rawhide mallet.
What came out of this class for me was more valuable then feeling successful about soldering, rather I came to understand that in every moment my present learning is always informing all processes. When I think I have abandoned something because I thought it was a failure, there is always the possibility that I have learned how to do it better through other means. So if I really want to, I can always try again and know I will see new results.
Nothing you have done is ever lost to you, so I hope you take a chance, revisit failure, and delight in seeing new growth!