Keep Making Work

It’s been a rough couple of months for everybody I know. The only thing keeping me sane these days is the commitment I have made to myself to keep working, keep making art, keep writing, and do my best to keep my personal house in order. Being jobless has been difficult for me because I love to work, but I’m hanging in, getting leads here and there, and taking a Teacher certification course with an eye on becoming an elementary school substitute for awhile — just to keep bread on the table, insurance on the docket, and a roof overhead. One thing is certain: I’ve discovered I still struggle with Math as much now as I did when I was younger, so it hasn’t been easy, but it is getting better. I actually search for math problems to solve now just to stay in practice.
After Tucson, it’s the Praxis Core Tests for me.

On the metals front, I have been experimenting with some cool new tools and techniques and have designed a group of fun new classes to teach this year. I am writing for the MJSA Journal now, with my first “At The Bench” feature running in the January 2017 issue, and I’ve contributed some tool content to http://www.wirejewelry.com for the educational section of their website, and will continue to do so all year. I’ve booked some gigs, pitched some classes, submitted a book idea and outline, and have managed to stay afloat so far, so life is good. I desperately hope that things turn for the better soon for me and for everyone, and that the Arts and Education are not hung out to dry by our new administration. I hope that we all find calm soon, as it seems the entire country and every person I know is still in a state of unrest and turmoil. We are all agitated and scared, which makes each day a real challenge, especially for the hypersensitive. Thank goodness for my jeweler’s saw — it is a calm port in the storm, and the place I go when I can’t bear the news any longer. I just map out and saw complex patterns and try to find the peace in my silent studio — to escape from the loathsome behavior, selfish greed, cruelty, paranoia and rage that is just everywhere now. Participating in the Women’s March helped, but I fear it did not turn any tides. I often lie awake at night terrorized by what may come. I know I am not alone in this.

We must continue to notice what is happening, watch out for each other, speak up for what we know is right, carry on, have hope and make work because we are artists and that’s our job. Artists are the sentinels of society and we can’t help but pay attention. Sometimes, it’s hard to do, and it’s difficult to be calm or kind in the face of an aggressor, or someone you believe has done something that takes our country the wrong way, but my friends, hang in there. When you don’t know what to do, pick up a hammer and hit some metal. Maybe it will help to fix something inside of you, or me, or us, or them, or everything and all of us. I just continue to saw, and I still continue to hope. I will remain kind, hold fast to my core values and go on. Because anything else is unthinkable.

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About Helen Driggs

Metalsmith, Artist, Writer, Maker of things. Former Senior Editor of Lapidary Jewelry Artist Magazine View all posts by Helen Driggs

5 responses to “Keep Making Work

  • Glenice opatow

    Helen, You rock! I desperately want to master cold connections. Any suggestions?

  • Marian Hollander

    Thank you for your wonderful post. All good things to you.

    On Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 8:11 PM, materialsmithing wrote:

    > Helen Driggs posted: “It’s been a rough couple of months for everybody I > know. The only thing keeping me sane these days is the commitment I have > made to myself to keep working, keep making art, keep writing, and do my > best to keep my personal house in order. Being jobless has” >

  • Annie

    I visited to find help on sawing my jump rings and found help for my soul ❤ It's comforting to know that people I admire and look up to have been feeling just as wrecked by what's been happening as I have. I wasn't able to attend the march (or the sister march near my town) but have been trying to write letters, call, and send emails. I've been trying to make a concerted effort to stay away from Facebook and spend more time working either in my workshop or just around the house, but the threat still seems to hang over me. I'm hoping we all get through this without things spiraling down much more than they have already. Thanks for writing this piece, Helen.

  • Kathleen Finnegan - Student

    ​​Hello from an old friend

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