This was a busy week.
I took part in the holiday shows at two local art centers. As is typical, each art center asks that the participating artists sign up for shifts to work during the show, an effective way to provide the necessary "staffing" to make the show run as smoothly as possible.
It's also a way for the customers to meet and talk with the different artists.
I had nice conversations with a variety of people, answering questions and explaining how I make some of my pieces.
I was talking with one woman when she noticed my bullet casing necklaces.
"Are those bullets?", she asked.
When I told her that yes, they were spent bullet casings that I had etched, she said, "That's not nice...not nice!" and walked away.
I didn't think much of it. I never assume that anyone will like my work, and am always happy when someone does.
I really like these necklaces.
They let me make a statement about transforming an object with one intended use into something completely different.
For me, this speaks to the complexity of sensitive and emotionally charged issues like gun control.
Shortly after the woman walked away, one of the other artists who had been working at check-out told me that my necklaces had upset someone.
After leaving my display, the woman complained that someone (yes, that would be me) had actually used bullets to make jewelry. She had planned to buy some items, but changed her mind because of my necklaces.
She would not support the holiday sale because of my bullet necklaces.
Wow...I was kind of stunned that someone was boycotting the show because of me.
I absolutely respect taking a stand, and some of my work had obviously hit a nerve in this woman.
I respect that she felt strongly about an issue and voiced her upset.
I wish she had explained it to me.
It may have been an interesting conversation if I could have explained my motivation for making those necklaces.
One of the reasons that I enjoy making jewelry is that I work with beautiful materials to make beautiful pieces of adornment.
But....sometimes it's not just about beauty.
Sometimes I feel a need to say something with more substance that might be meaningful only for me, but hopefully meaningful for others as well.
That's one of the reasons that I use recycled materials which helps me to take a stand, however small, against wasteful consumption.
Sometimes I like to have nerdy fun....
....like with the back of this pin that I made out of the letter 'R' that I had saw cut from an old license plate.
Sometimes, I'll hand stamp a quote, like this one from Steven Wright, because I have something on my mind that I need to express.
Sometimes, a thrift store find, like this vintage Red Cross pin, sparks an idea related to socio-economic issues.
Like my bullet necklaces, these are some of the pieces of my jewelry that satisfy my need to occasionally take a stand.
I know not everyone will like what I'm saying through my work, and that's fine...
.....and I really like my bullet necklaces.