Saturday, July 24, 2010
Kindness goes a long, long way.
Many years ago when I was a budding jewelry artist I did craft shows. The other jewelry people I met were often, not always, but often antisocial and unfriendly. They frequently exhibited paranoid behavior and would clam up if they knew I made jewelry, afraid that I was stealing their designs. The craft shows could be grueling, hot, dusty, tiring... I think my back is ruined from my craft show days. A little community feeling was nice, rare but lovely when it occurred. One night at an indoor local show a women walked into my booth. She commended me on my work. She was kind and open and sweet. She told me she was a metalsmith and had a local studio and invited me to come by. I was shocked and amazed. I thought I knew all the local metals people. She was the friendliest metalsmith I'd met to up to then! I went to her studio. I was bowled over. On the wall was a huge poster of a work I had flagged in a Tim McCreight book. I pointed and said "That's... that's.." and we both simultaneously said "Shaken Not Stirred". "Yeah that's mine" she replied. I felt like I was dreaming. Here was someone I'd never met but I'd admired their work in books, who was right here in my little two bit town, AND she was hospitable, generous, with skills FAR superior to mine and reaching out the hand of friendship to ME?!
Her name was Marcia MacDonald. She spent that afternoon showing me things encouraging me offering advice. She went on to do the same on a number of occasions.
She lived here briefly and then went on to bigger and better things on the West Coast. Today I find that Marcia has passed away. She succumbed to a long battle with cancer. I must chime in with the hundreds of voices this week lauding Marcia as a wonderful person and accomplished metalsmith. Though we were never close, she was always kind and I am better for having known her. She showed me what being a woman contemporary metalsmith could be like. That a craftswoman one could glow with confidence, and generosity and not give into pettiness and fear. She and I talked at length about starting a metals club here because I was starved for other folks who had my same passion for metalworking and art jewelry. She felt that we should be a giving, sharing community of craftspeople, that is was healthy to prosper together. Those of us who knew her will miss her bright light. The metalsmithing community will miss her wonderful work. I feel blessed that her path crossed mine.