Do you need a time out?

Back in March when we went into lockdown, I found it hard to keep on making jewelry. 

On the one hand here was a gift of uninterrupted time which I felt I should take advantage of. Haven’t I always bemoaned the lack of time to design new work? What about all those ideas bumping around in my head for sculptural pieces and what I think of as “jewelry for the home”? 

Metal and glass room screen by Estyn Hulbert

On the other hand, hawking jewelry seemed utterly inappropriate and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. 

And then came protests around the world over crucial issues. Jewelry?! It didn’t seem important. So I sat back from showing or sharing, and dropped off social media and these emails completely. I couldn’t imagine when I’d be back.

In truth even before all that I’d found myself saying repeatedly that I was feeling tired creatively. Uninspired. 

I’ve been making jewelry for twenty years. Designing and running my own business for fifteen. I wasn’t feeling excited or energized. It seemed clear to me that I needed to reboot somehow, and find my way back to the heart of my creative self. 

In January I took up a simple daily collage practice, using scans of old family photos.

Collage with baby and toddler

Collage of girl walking on Iona beach

Collage of young woman watching over her child self

This helped. I needed to be making something just for the sake of making, without concern for the market. I needed to play. But I still felt like I was spinning my wheels.

So when we went into lockdown I gave myself permission to take a time out. I weeded my flower beds. I planted a huge vegetable garden. I (along with the entire world and their sister) baked sourdough bread. I napped. I built myself a ladder so I could climb up into my favorite tree and see the world from above. 

Estyn Hulbert sitting in large Norway Spruce tree

I walked through my yard at night, feeling the dark trees around me that have grown from the little twigs I planted years ago. 

Magnolia tree in blossom at night

I unashamedly “wasted” time. I lay in the grass and stared at the sky. I played hide and seek with the catbirds. I napped some more. 

Blue sky over house roof and trees

Gradually and imperceptibly my interest in jewelry has returned. I ordered materials. I have some ideas I’m tinkering with in the studio. And I’m planning a fun online event — I'll tell you about it here soon. 

It feels so good to be back.


These 3 things

I found this little film incredibly moving; 
these may be the most stylish individuals I've every seen;
and the best kept collection of cat whiskers. (Mine is just in a box.)


Summer's end

John Prine at his typewriter

The second half of August in the Hudson Valley always takes me by surprise. The leaves start to turn and drop and everything takes on a golden hue.

Maybe it's the Celtic in me but I love a good sad song and I miss John Prine who we lost earlier this year. We've been singing Summer's End around here a lot lately. And I love this cover of Hello in There recorded in Scotland in the 90s.

What's your end of summer song?



Sign up to get these Letters from the Studio emailed to you. 





Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published