Wednesday, 17 July 2013

why we do what we do {the rainbow through the sawdust of skateboard jewellery making}

I keep thinking more and more why Sam and I are here (living on this land, having given up full time jobs, and a secure paycheck and regular rubbish removal, oh and decent internet). Why have we chosen "the simple life", when sometimes it starts to feel like the complicated life. 

This is a many sided story, that may take me a few posts to work through. I'll start somewhere in the middle. Is that ok? Today I want to talk about why we have given up jobs and secure income to become creatives and makers. Why we want to work all week making something, for possibly no or small returns. To set up at market stalls and chat with people, and have smiley friendly conversations but go home with little more than half a week's pay. 

Maybe you're wondering if this is all about the money. Oh no oh no. Because if it was slightly about the money, well we wouldn't be here. {Though right now I'm desperately wanting to go to this fantastic looking workshop, and it's simply not possible}.

Today Sam spent at least 5hours standing in our building site, with his make shift work bench and a drill press, and made beads out of broken skateboards. He cut and drilled and banged, and scraped his fingers. His thumbs are raw and ragged. He brought in a bucket of 250 cut beads that will be used for our necklaces. Tomorrow he will go out again and take those 250 beads and sand them using a borrowed sanding machine (thanks Dad!), until they are smooth and round and perfect. Then the next day he will sit down with his paint brush and sealer, and individually paint each one with a clear coat to seal in the colour, and protect the skateboard wood from wear. Individually - each tiny little bead in his fingers painting and coating. Then he'll spend a few more whiles working on the necklace fastenings and threading the beads. 

Every day he comes in covered in rainbow coloured sawdust. With a dust mask imprint around his face, and more bandaids on his fingers. And looking slightly more ragged and tired. And he's earned that afternoon beer, that's for sure!

And yet, he loves it. While I can't talk for him, I can talk about what I see. I see his mind turning over new ideas for how to reuse these pieces of broken skateboard and share them with a new audience. He loves the hard work of it, and the satisfaction of making something that people love (oh thank you thank you everyone for loving them!), and something that is totally entirely handcrafted. And the enjoyment of seeing his fingers work to create the perfect circle. Sometimes he races the clock to shave a bare second off his time for sanding his beads; but really each one takes minutes of dedicated and patience and care. 

And the other whys. Well, today he and I sat down together and had a tea break, sharing a pot of tea and a conversation. And for lunch also, he sat with me and we talked about life, and about nothing. And there was only our own self-guided rush, not a timer or a bell. And while he's working in a make-shift studio (currently set up in the building site, in our one-day-will-be-kitchen), he's looking out over the blossom trees and can stop to hear the birds calling or hopping through the grasses nearby. And he can jump on his bike to pick the kids up from the school bus. And tomorrow he may just take the day off and come to school sports day, instead of spending it sanding beads. And that's as important an aspect of making; the not making and the thinking/planning about making, and the rest from making.

So, next time you hold something in your hands that is made by the love sweat and tears of someone else's hands - take a moment to think about why they make what they make, and what they gave up, and what they've gained. And how you are helping the handmade world go round. Whole lotta love to you for that!!

*all images are from Sam's instagram. You can follow him for a different view of our "simple life", check it out @sammessina


  1. Oh that speaks to me heaps - we've just started out on the making and markets journey after just making. Among other things, we're making wooden buttons and it sounds like a similar process. Intense and rewarding.
    Love your skateboard bracelets and beads. Such a great idea and very cool.

  2. Keep the balls rolling!! Nice posts you have given for us.skip hire Manchester


Thank you for your words and thoughts. I do so appreciate each and every visitor to my blog. While I try hard to reply to your comment, it often doesn't quite happen..... know that I'm sending you a thoughtful thanks xxx

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...