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Les Petites Mains

Les Petites Mains

Alice & Chains Jewelry Blog

| Jewelry with a story |

What does a jewelry intern do? ACJ's latest runway collection hosted five interns for five weeks. 

Les Petites Mains

Busy little hands, dusty chalk, oil pastels across the knuckles, dirt under the finger nails. Those are the hands of my four-year old daughter on any given day. Having been a similar child - active, creative, and inquisitive the unfortunate lack in creative offerings of my youth haunts my memories. Having access to plenty of art classes via public school was not the issue, however the lack in support and opportunities to experience art in the making hugely impacted how I followed my passion. 

Why it matters (to me)...

My senior year of high school was spent in a small farming community located exactly in the middle of no-where. Hearing more "What are you going to do with that?" when answering my desired course of study in college rather than "That's great!" derailed my internal compass. The next several years and thousands of dollars were spent ambling through a program and life that was worn awkwardly and uncomfortably.

That path was difficult and unfulfilling. Only while working grueling hours at a small investment bank in Manhattan was my need for creativity re-discovered and followed. 

Who are they?

Fast-forward 9 years, still working grueling hours (clearly the Empire State of mind) and an opportunity arises within my own opportunity. Using this most recent runway collection (A Night in Madeira) to offer youths, grades 7th - 12th, an opportunity to participate in hands-on experience in creativity through jewelry and fashion. Local school age students from all over the Rivertowns arrived every week at the Alice & Chains Jewelry studio for five weeks straight. 

What did they do?

Outside of the typical course of creating fashion jewelry which includes skills such as beading, sewing, and manipulation of wire - these students experienced creativity in the real world. 

  • Cost - materials cost money. In the final days of making, we ran low on beads colored emerald green - so we improvised, spacing the beads out accordingly to still provide the illusion of the color we needed. Most students experience creativity in a controlled environment that provides all their materials - whether that be parents, schools, or classes. Learning that running to the store to buy more, often is not in the budget of the creative process. 
  • Time - beading can be tedious. Through out five weeks we all worked together on the various portions of the same eight to ten pieces. Sewing, sorting, stringing, and attaching them with pliers. Learning that creativity is not a quick process, it requires a stick-to-it attitude, along with openness to learn new skills like how to use jewelry pliers or brushing up on color theory as well as the ability to work in close proximity with unknown peers. 
  • Creativity - the world is your oyster. The collection expresses this - however the points above express the limits. The world is your oyster - BUT that requires aspiration, learning, dedication, time, money, and the where-with-all to know when to ask for help, or in some cases, say no to taking on too much. Creativity as witnessed through history in "the greats" (Van Gogh's ear, FL Wright's control issues, Monet's poverty, McQueen's suicide, and so on) comes with a steep price tag - running a business, having a family, staying inspired, all while remaining within the boundaries of sanity (and sleeping) is not taught at school, learned in a book, or viewed in a museum. First-hand witnessing and experiencing the choices creatives must make will lead new artists to make better educated choices - art or "the good life", or better yet - how will they define "the good life"?

Merci Petites Mains

I have my degrees, business, creativity and now a daughter - however prior to interns I did not have the experience of realizing that perhaps all my paths have merged.

As many parents can assert, one of the greatest gifts is in the success of experiencing "new" with a child. The twinkle at the first bite of banana, the joy plastered on their faces when they realize they can walk - the words of gratitude, can-do attitude, the expressed excitement, and requests to come back have been wonderfully overwhelming. I can only hope to create such an experience again - whether for those same students or new ones.

Thank you to all the little hands that got me here - you have taught me so much!

Click here for a Lisbon surprise ;-)


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