Hello! I've been meaning to start this for ever, so have stopped procrastinating. Finally. If I want to keep this a regular feature, I'm going to have to treat it like a diary. Not literally. Then it would have one really long entry on January 1st and then be shoved in my sock drawer until I threw it away. I'm going to actually keep this one updated. I figure it's probably best to start off with an introduction.
Here's my biography in as brief a form as I can manage. I was born Baby Jones in Cardiff on Feb 3rd 1974. I was an experimental delivery. My mum got to have the hospital's top obstetrician oversee her care and pick the day I was born, in return for trialling a new epidural drug. All went seemingly ok, and with a bit of forceps and stern persuasion there I was. There was some consternation over whether I was 'quite done' given my soft fingernails (don't ask me, I can't remember) and lamentation over my sticky out ears, soothing my mother with "you can always get them pinned back love".
That's me in a cat food box, yawning, with the ears in question. It's a toy pink bunny's ears at the other end, I've not got weird long feet. I didn't have a name for 'about 3 weeks', because mum thought I was going to be another boy, and they'd only decided on Nathan. Small mercy as my name would have become a Banarama song title 13 years on. Names that were considered and discarded included Medina, Vicky and Esmerelda (I shit you not). Thank the Universe a lady suggested the name Lydia to my dad. It stuck. So 45 years later, here I am, complete with crap fingernails and sticky out ears.
I currently live in Cardiff, in the village I grew up in, a short walk from my work studio. In the time in between the forceps and now there was, of course, other stuff that happened. In no particular order of import, there was growing up of a sort, school, college, living and working in London, a lovely man, then two kids, a diagnosis of autism & a motley zoos-worth of animal lodgers. All of that led me back in my hometown and since 2009, I've been a self-taught jewellery maker. I didn't see that coming. Luckily, It is truly what I love doing, and never am I more at peace that in the midst of making something. So apart from the terrifying financial instability, insane hours kept juggling home-education, keeping two young people thriving and stopping the ferrets from teasing the dog, it's good.
The dog. Unimpressed.
You may be interested in how I went from producing telly in That London, to being a stay-at-home-mum, to jewellery making. (You may not, in which case you can skip this bit). To replicate how to teach yourself jewellery using the Niziblian method, take one term of a City & Guilds jewellery design course. Pass it, despite having had to have left after Christmas. Do nothing about it for 5 years. After enough people ask if you're chronically depressed, wonder if you perhaps shouldn't find something new to occupy you. Make a few things and decide to declare yourself self-employed immediately (about 10 years too soon). Rent a studio, and although its location will change over the years, stay in there and play with metal. Learn through experimentation, trying out a variety of tools and profanities on your way to finding out what grips you. Hope and pray that enough people will like your jewellery that you can keep doing it. Keep doing it. The dog will remain unimpressed.
This past year has been unsettled, enough that I have seriously questioned whether it's viable to continue. Fair to say that lately my focus has not been aided by being in a fairly permanent state of existential crisis. When this kind o' maudlin kicks in, I know it's time to retreat for a bit. The pre-Christmas run of fairs, making enough stock to fill your stalls, and keeping up with commissions can burn a body out. I'm very much looking to spending the Christmas holidays with my best beloveds and being reborn again in the new year. Ideas for a project I want to do have been brewing in the background, and all the requisite parts are ready for me to get started in January. Bring on 2020!