Last night I did something new and completely self-indulgent and it was good. I took my first jewellery making class, the real kind, with a blow torch and everything. When the day came around I had a dozen reasons why I shouldn’t go but instead I plucked up the courage to take myself away and try something new with people I'd never met. I don't know why it took courage, but it did.
If the term quirky could apply to an experience, then that would be the term I'd use for this class. We sat around the kitchen table in an ancient manor house just down the road. An Aga kept us warm while the rain bucketed down, dogs were running around under our feet and children wandered in and out in wellies and pyjamas.
I met new friends, learned a bit of chemistry (a very little bit, so little I’ve now already forgotten it), got to fire up and use a blow torch and shaped and soldered my very first ring. It’s copper because that’s what learners practice with but by some miracle the random piece of metal the instructor gave me to practice with turned into a ring that actually fit me. I know it’s not aesthetically beautiful (though not too bad against my favourite turquoise) but it's special to me. It’s a successful first attempt at a new skill and a reminder that two hours to myself a week is a very good thing.
The after effects of those two hours lasted all through today as well. I had an extra hop in my step during my extremely wet walk with an extremely wet dog and my spirits soared, lifting me from the low place I've been dwelling of late. Next week we learn metal cutting – more fun tools to try out.
On the subject of blow torches, my friend Tracy recently finished off her series of 'Already Read' newspaper art pieces using a blow torch and they're amazing. I think you'll recognize the faces, even if you don't live in the UK; how on earth did she manage the detail?! Scroll down her gallery and look at her incredible work, who'd have thought newspaper could become so beautiful.
And call me stupid (go ahead, I won't hear you anyway) but I only just figured out how to control the high contrast on my iPhone images. Just tap the screen where I want to focus and it adjusts the images colour and exposure, not just the sharpness. The top image was my "aha!" moment. Wow, that was easy. I hope to go back to real cameras soon, but mostly my phone is the choice for ease of use these days, and right now easy is good.
Happy Summer Solstice and remember, it's Peace Day today.