11 November 2011

old gold

Sometimes we have ideas that make us hungry. So hungry that they feed their way into our psyche and plant themselves there with such certainty that no one can talk us out of our interest into the original idea. We become ravenous.  This is one of those ideas. When I first mentioned it, Paul was not smitten. He was resistant, for whatever reason, to this idea. But I, being the obnoxious person I am, pressed on. 

It's unfair to say that I'm annoying, per se; I was inspired and unrelenting, yes, but never annoying. (right?)

So here was (is) the idea: request gold from our families, scraps (not the good stuff!) and have it all melted down to make our wedding bands. my engagement ring, a melissa joy manning yellow diamond with a hand hammered band, was partial inspiration for the design. but i'm also in love with all things david yurman, but wanted to have our bands locally made at a charming little shop called "From the Vault."
hello beautiful
So we marched up the street, literally this place is right around the corner(!), and i spilled my beans. Graham, a young and oh-so-talented jeweler, was open to the idea. it was my own fiance that needed convincing.

"Isn't it a lot to ask for gold from our family?," Paul insisted. 

"Of course not! Every woman has old gold hoops, scraps from broken chains and old bracelets that they want to get rid of. Just let me try."  Our conversation was short, and then I got to work. 

Inspired by Mrs. Lillien and her beautiful wordsmithing, I set out to draft a poem to sell my idea to our handful of grandmothers and mothers alike.  I was asking for gold, you know, this had to be good. And once the poem was finished (full script below), I used words and colors and handwriting to bring this idea of love that is deep and wide to life. 

This turned out to be one of my favorite elements of the wedding, ultimately capturing a most important story that represents my and paul's family histories...Both of our parents are divorced. This is sad when you're a kid, weird in college, hard every christmas, and has turned out to be one of the biggest blessing in life for both of us. Now, we have 4 sets of w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l (and happily remarried!) parents and 8 sets of grandparents, so there is a lot of scrap gold in our family. And our families are unique (aren't everyones?)...

What's significant here for me is this: though divided, divorced, and broken in a sense---left to become something less than its original beauty--our families have discovered a deeper love, a better understanding of partnership, new meaning through all of this. While i cannot take credit for my family history, I can tell you that making the best of what we have makes for a fun wedding : )

So back to the inspiration, here are a few photos of the image...
the full monty

detail (gg9a is my gram 9a who we loveeeeee)
The poem reads:
paul and stephanie are soon to be wed. "two become one," or so it is said. the festivities are planned--we hope you'll be there--october 2nd in Louisville promises to have enormous amounts of love in the air.

we're writing today to submit a request, we're asking for gold--oh no! not your best! your brightest and finest should stay with you, the bottom-of-the jewelry box pieces will do.

we'd like our family heritage to live on our hand, we're using your gold to craft our wedding bands! so please send us a little--anything 14 or 18 karat-- we'll melt it all down, reshape it and wear it!

and please if you're able, make plans to come--celebrate our wedding and have lots of fun! xoxo love stephanie and paul

After making the original piece,
I zipped my way to Kinko's and made some high quality color copies.
Then I Bought and addressed an outer envelope and inner padded envelope.
(you don't put gold in the post in just anything.)
And marched my way into the post office.
(you can imagine the look on the postman's face when I told him what I wanted to do.)

The project involved:
the poem
an envelope for mailing
and inner envelope
a pre-paid, pre-addresses priority mail outer envelope

preparing for post!

oh yeah

clear instructions

all in all, the project cost us about $60.
which is a bargain when the goods that you receive look like this.

that's right... amazing pile of golden goodness

my great grandfathers stopwatch chain
a 14k gold piggie charm from my mom
a funky hippie golden mermaid from paul's mom
broken chains
alicia's signet ring (couldn't bear to melt that down)
tiny diamonds
my grandmother's wedding band
golden studs
and so many eclectic pieces
perhaps my favorite response... from gg9a again: "thank you for including me. love love love"  
come back in the next couple days for the final product: the rings!
and our vows...
when we exchanged the beautiful pieces with one another.
so special.

happy saturday and much love!

p.s. know somebody who would love to take on this project? the idea has been so well received that people have encouraged me to make a project out of it. the listing is up in my etsy shop and i'm making custom poems! so please, spread the word!


Anonymous said...

I thought this idea was amazing when you told me about it. Reading about it makes it even better. So awesome, and so sweet!!!
- Erin Brown

Jennifer said...

This is such a BEAUTIFUL, beautiful idea! I love it with my whole entire heart! And you can bet it's going in my memory bank for future use!