Finding the Silver Lining
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
I recently managed to find shelter in the attic—a small corner for creation. I went back to being a woman writing a novel. Life went back to being a long-lasting battle between a person and a blank page, between a person and a "what happens next?" between a person and fictional characters who have different ideas about what they should do.
But this post, I type from my silversmithing room. I'm not a jeweller yet, but I'm teaching myself the craft. Even before I earn the title, a guest room in the farmhouse has been named after it.
I started studying jewellery making in London. I lived there with T for several months.
T had been living on canal boats for a fair amount of years, near Regents Park in the heart of London. We lived there at the height of European winter, a freeze that gives you plenty of time to snuggle on an electric blanket and think of the future. We had a plan. The dream we've been racing towards the past year has been a van trip in America. We planned to buy a van and travel unobstructedly, devour the continent. The thing is, we had a few things to finish first. I was planning to come back to Israel, finish my driver's license, and complete constructing my boat, which is part of a research for the novel I'm writing. Then I'll return to London. In the meantime, T has been busy with the process of closing his business, a granola business called Upfull. Neither of us has a rich uncle who died, leaving us a lot of money, and neither of us is a 9-5er. We had to think of a creative strategy to live and work on the road.
Luckily, we are both creative people. T is a painter, I write, and now we also have a joint project.
Our idea was to start a business of handmade jewellery. I've always been good with my hands and love to create different things. In our plan, I'll learn silversmithing and be the manufacturer, and T will be responsible for operations and managing finances. I bought equipment and supplies and began a series of silver incineration, converting metal into burnt weird-looking, deformed rings. Still, no hope is lost. I kept ruining that fine silver every day, in order to improve.
Meanwhile, T continued to work as a freelancer. He's a financial coach/university lecturer and business consultant. I also found a gig as a babysitter for Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer's son, T's new neighbours and friends. Playing with the big boys now. A sweet, demanding lad named Ash, who hates baths and loves, what else, books.
When I left London, I abandoned the jewellery equipment behind. We knew I'd be busy and not able to continue my training. When I return to London in two months, we agreed, I'd continue from where I left off.
So I returned to the Promised Land. I failed some driving tests, proceeded with my boat build and then, within a few weeks, T called me to say he was going to South Africa to see his family before our big trip. He continued and said he bought me a ticket so I could come, meet his family and see his hometown, for two weeks.
I was delighted. I wanted to see Cape Town, the city where my T had grown up, and also had this relentless itch for change.
It was the commencement of the COVID era, the beginning of March. I packed clothes for two weeks, left my boat unfinished and my license undone, thinking that within two weeks, I'd come back and complete my tasks. Little did we know, T and I, that Coronavirus will take over all of our plans. The sky shut off. T is far from his boat, I am far from mine, and we were left swimming in a viral world, fighting to keep our heads above water.
Since then, you know what we've been through. But what I didn't tell you is that the day before we went to Prince Albert, in an attempt to gain some control over our fate, I went to a silversmith supply shop. I bought, for the second time this year, all the equipment needed to practice my questionable silversmithing. We have come to the conclusion that time won't stop because our lives are standing still, and that we must take advantage of the situation for the sake of the business we are birthing.
I got the equipment easily, the two things that were harder to come by were a blowtorch and silver; two pretty essential items. These days, silver is at a three year high, cost-wise, and difficult to obtain, especially from the small town we're now staying in.
Prince Albert has a big hardware store where I ordered a blowtorch. We heard that the owner's wife was a jeweller. I asked him for her phone number, thinking it'd be worth chatting with her. See if she'd any information to help me get silver. Both she and her husband were not helpful. She only told me to order from Cape Town and that here I'll find nothing. Her husband forgot to order a blowtorch for me. Thanks a lot, neighbours.
T and I decided to take matters into our own hands. I did a deep dive online, it took time, but I managed to get my grubby hands on some silver. Blowtorch, for some reason, turned out to be a rare commodity. We took the car and drove to a nearby town, only one and a half hours drive through the Swartberg mountain pass, a UNESCO world heritage site. The most breathtaking journey. Welcome to Oudtshoorn. We bought a blowtorch, paid for the silver in the bank, and had a nice lunch, nestled between a valley and an ostrich farm. Then we only had to wait for the silver to arrive.
The order was delayed, but yesterday morning, the Dutchman came to the house and said we had a package in the mail.
It was a small package, considering the large amount of procrastination we had to endure. Ever since arriving in Prince Albert and loading up the silver room with supplies, I couldn't do any smithing. We were sitting in the living room, staring at the package. It made us both feel that this amorphous material was soon to be the first step towards our business.
After everything we went through and with reality forced upon us, we needed a victory.
Now all that remains is hope that I've got some talent, and not find myself covered with burns, suffocating in silver powder. That'd be an embarrassing update. Good luck, Moriah.