Ahimsa Designs – Artisan Vegan Jewelry Designs by Kristen Anderson

I Did It! Reflections on the Design Challenge

So, the last piece for my design challenge has been photographed. The last description has been written.

I love the feeling of knowing you have to do something, but not knowing why. The certainty you have that insists on action. The feeling of being swept along a current, conscious thought subsides and the knowing takes over.

Lately, I have started listening to that knowing. In some big ways. This design challenge felt smaller than some, but is growing and evolving in some bigger ways. I will try to explain here, but it may require more pondering in the future…

I started this challenge to push myself to make some new designs. So, I do have 17 new designs and I am extremely happy about that. Some of them I love, some I will probably modify at some point. I feel good that I kept the ones I was not in love with for a couple of reasons.

One: It helped me push through my ideals of perfection, this all-or-nothing, everything has to be just right before I share it with the world. My jewelry, like me, is not perfect, nor do I want it to be. It is original, hand-crafted, raw, organic, not mass-produced…sometimes it feels exactly right, sometimes not so much, but it is what is real in that moment for me. And that is enough. More than enough, that is beauty.

Two: Pieces that I originally did not connect with, were others’ favorites or meant something to them that I had not even seen. I am learning to trust that a process runs through me (us) that does not need my judgement or critique. If a piece works, visually and technically, then maybe there is a reason it was made, even if I have yet to understand or appreciate it.

That being said, I was amazed at the level of participation and connection my customers had with the challenge and with me. I have enough ideas to keep me busy for many months! All of the messages, texts and emails I received surprised and motivated me! I was shocked that people actually care what I make, connect with the stories about the pieces and share creative ideas with me. What a wonderful collaborative effort this has been!

Many unexpected events occurred during the challenge. Right in the middle of the event, every member of our household contracted the flu, the sick-for-a-week-cannot-get-out-of-bed-for-3-days flu. I have to admit, I had a hard time getting motivated again after that. Still recovering, it took several days before I felt clear-headed enough to trust myself with a torch or hammer. My daughter helped move me out of this space when she overheard me complaining about needing to make jewelry. From the other room she inquired, “Wasn’t one point of this challenge for you to actually enjoy making the jewelry?” Touche, my little mirror.

Then, I planned and prepped for David’s Over the Hill birthday party and we had a celebratory weekend without the kids. I could either finish that last piece or go camping with my man on our one night without kids. Duh. The last piece was a couple of days later than planned.

What feels like the biggest gift to me is that somewhere during this challenge, I found my spirit again, the part of me that longs to create, to grow, to expand, to be more of me, to love. Not just as a jeweler, but as a person. I’ve made some big changes and commitments to myself that will change everything for me, will help me bring more love and light to this world, will help me be a better mother, lover, partner, daughter, sister, friend, artist. It inspires me to keep growing as a jeweler so that I can spread this love through the jewelry.

I was inspired last weekend as I talked to artists at an art show. I was reminded how much I need to give to my passion and art. Artists talked about doing shows every single weekend and I was reminded of a time (up until last year) when I would participate in as many as 20 art shows a year. They were exhausting and physically demanding. They were also where I connected with people, face to face. I miss that. After a year and a half of looking for a new studio space that would be closer to my home, I serendipitously walked into a gallery that may be looking to fill a studio space. Maybe it works out, maybe not, but it has lit the fire and that is exciting!

I also had a major retailer (one of my favorites) reach out to me to inquire about carrying some of my pieces. Scary and exactly what I have been hoping for!

And we reached a milestone on the Ahimsa Designs Facebook page, 1000 likes! Yay!

I don’t know if the design challenge had anything to do with the amazing opportunities that have presented themselves since this began. I think that it is all connected, all interwoven like the rest of life. This experience has encouraged me to dive deeper into my authentic self, to become more disciplined about self-care and work and play, to assume the very best about each person who connects with me or my jewelry, and to give everything to my passions…art, creating, motherhood, family, my soul mate, healing, connecting, loving, being.

Thank you for joining me in this journey of becoming more, more of myself is all I am called to be. I am incredibly thankful for the connections that have just begun as well as the ones being strengthened and renewed. Thank you for indulging my attempt to jump start my creative spirit…you have helped me find that and so much more within myself. You have also allowed me to see and know more about you and I feel that we are truly partners on this path into love and light.

We will be announcing the winner of the $100 gift certificate on Saturday, October 19th. It’s not too late to “join” the event and be eligible to win!

JOIN HERE to be registered for the GIVEAWAY: https://www.facebook.com/events/167893720081230

With Gratitude,

~K