Monday, April 11, 2011

A Good Problem to Have?


So, I've had this "problem" rattling around in the craft closet.

A while ago, when I was relatively new to metal clay and the Short One was more interested in reciting the alphabet than talking our ears off about Marvel superheroes, I toddled off with a 40% off coupon to purchase a packet of PMC3 from a local art supply store. When I went to check out, the nice young lady at the register asked me if I had seen the metal clay that they had marked for clearance. She took me over to the locked cabinet where they kept the clay and handed me the box, above: 10g of fine gold clay, marked down to 50% off. The price? $103.00.

Now, this seemed hideously expensive for a small lump of metal clay, but, even then, I knew it was a great price for gold, so I decided to splurge and picked it up. Because I felt like (and was) a neophyte with working with the clay, I set it aside until I felt more technically competent to deal with such a precious material.

I'm not even sure they sell this type any more - I haven't seen it around in catalogs for a while. This is the kind that actually fires to 24k. Despite the fact that it's several years old, the lump still seems perfectly malleable in its little sealed packet. I check this periodically while I debate what do to. (Of course, I could be wrong and the clay is completely unworkable now, which would make the whole issue moot. I try not to think about this possibility. A lot.)

Every few months after purchasing it, I would take the box out, think hard, and decide that my technical skills still weren't up to snuff for using it.

After I finally came off of my seven month hiatus in February and started working with the clay again, I was determined finally to get the gold clay out and use it (before it really gets too hard, and I have no choice but to turn it into paste). Then I checked the current price of precious metals and nearly fainted. 10g of PMC Gold, the 22k version currently on the market is now selling for over $600.00. Gack!

As stupid as it is, I may never get the nerve up to use this clay. Which I know would be a complete waste, but I find the whole situation paralyzing. Does anyone else have this problem, like buying particularly nice beads and then never finding a project "good enough" for them?

22 comments:

diane hawkey said...

I was just looking at beads i have that I have been hanging on to for years because they are so special that if I use them in a less then fantabulous project I will feel like tI cheated them out of the life they deserve.
I suppose I could be fixed with the right therapy :)

Melissa J. Lee said...

I'm with ya! Let me know if you find a good bead therapist.

Boot ~C said...

somewhere along the way I seemed to have turned into a hoarder my 'good' supplies sit around while I wait to find the perfect project worthy of them.so I feel your pain.sign me up for therapy(maybe we can get a group rate) & we'll kick this, & make great stuff!

TesoriTrovati said...

Goodness! That is a treasure trove you have there. And you ARE good enough, no great enough, to work your magic with this! I have seen the work you do, in person at the Bead & Button show, and it is amazing. Get this clay out and beat off those demons with a shiny gold stick! Because even if all you make with this are gold sticks it will be worth it!

And you have described me to a T. I have more art beads horded than I could possibly use. They are too pretty, too special, and I am not sure that I have an idea strong enough to use them. I have made some totally ugly things with my art beads that have not sold (thank heavens!) and now I have them in a box waiting for me to tear into them and make something really great. So failing the first time makes me more likely to do something stunning the next time to breathe life into them.

Get to it, Miss Melissa! You never know what greatness is awaiting you!

Enjoy the day!
Erin

averilpam said...

USE IT!!!!
Such a bargain can't be wasted by leaving it lying around until it's useless! I totally understand your reluctance to risk wasting it on something less than perfect but try to pretend it's cheap copper or brass or something and enjoy using it. At the current price it's probably safe to say you won't be buying 24k gold clay again...

Melissa J. Lee said...

That's a really good point, Erin. There have been times when I haven't liked certain designs using fab art beads - and I just cut them apart and started over. It's kind of ridiculous to hoard the beads when you know you can do over! If only I could convince myself of that...

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hey averilpam,

I know! But doesn't that just make it worse? I have only one shot to use gold clay... The pressure is killing me! (Can you tell I'm a glass is half-empty kind of person?) Still, I think you're right - I have to work up the guts to use it this year.

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hey Boot ~C! I didn't realize you live in Okla - I grew up in Norman (my folks are with OU)!

Erin S said...

This makes me laugh because I am the same way. I buy a stand of really cool beads, not having any idea what I'll do with them, and then every time I want to use them, I say, "no, this isn't a good enough project to use the really good beads." Then I have a big fight with myself, like, if I'm never going to use them, why did I buy them? So I will use one or two and then hoard the rest. An obvious case of "having the cake" vs. "eating the cake."

Melissa J. Lee said...

It's always nice to hear that I'm in good company!

Softflexgirl said...

Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. That can be true with designing, exercising, speaking to strangers, etc. You just have to get over the hump and get started. Treasures are usually found on the other side of that hump. :)

Melissa J. Lee said...

Those are very telling examples, Sara. I'm not very good at starting exercising or speaking to strangers, either!

Andrew Thornton said...

One of the sayings that my collage teacher had was, "Murder your darlings." Sometimes we become so emotionally attached to our raw materials that we don't take risks in creating the work we've set out to make. Sometimes we've got to do away with the preciousness, even if it is Precious Metal Clay.

And even if your experiment fails, you can always send it off to Rio for a tidy credit!

Melissa J. Lee said...

I like the way you think, Andrew!

Cyndi L said...

Yes I do have that problem, and yes, Melissa, you are DEFINITELY GOOD ENOUGH to use this clay. Yes, I am shouting at you, and at myself too...a twofer! Use it, use it, use it...

Melissa J. Lee said...

Thanks, Cyndi! I think I will be using it - as soon as I finalize a design (and set up separate tools etc to avoid contamination).

Mellisa said...

I will anxiously await the reveal! I have several art beads hanging out on my desk that I've had now for at least 3 years and haven't even started to work with...it's all about feeling like I won't do them justice :) Maybe I need to hold a jewelry retreat called "Pull the Trigger" where we all bring our hoarded beads and we force each other to create with them!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Ooh, that sounds like a good idea... I'll be there!

JeannieK said...

Oh Honey, been there, have the T-shirt. I know it takes a lot of courage to move forward when we feel we don't add up.

Have no fear Melissa. You are one of the most talented artists out there. Go for it! You can do this!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Thanks, Jeannie!

Lori's Glassworks said...

Your post made me think about all the "good" beads resting safely in their "special" containers. I too am guilty of buy a stand of beautiful and sometimes expensive beads, not having any idea what I want to do with them. No project seems worth of their presence. Why do I continue to buy them if I'm not going to use them? Yep, I think I need hoarder therapy too. Sign me up!
Cheers!
Lori

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hi Lori! I love being in good company!