At a friend’s 40th birthday party the guest of honor ceremonially opened her gifts, one by one, and acknowledged the person who gave it to her. As she got closer to the gold-wrapped box I’d brought, my heart started to beat more rapidly. Id’ been having an enjoyable time at the party, had met a few kind women, but being my typical shy self, I knew the next moment would alter that dynamic, as it always did. I was about to become somebody.
My friend picked up the small cube of a gift I’d brought, gently removed the large bow and gift wrap which revealed my signature logo on the top of the shiny white carton. She carefully folded back the tissue paper and removed the enclosed literature I’d painstakingly created to establish my craft as more than loving-hands-at-home. It was a well-written marketing piece that I tucked into every customer’s purchase.
Under that folded piece of paper was my art. She very gingerly extracted the egg between her thumb and middle finger, and held it up for everyone to see. On it was an elegant pattern that I had batiked, a floral arrangement, with her name in tiny letters (similar to the one on the left designed for a friend’s mother) along the border design. There was a moment of silence followed by an audible intake of breath.
And then the comments came, as they always did.
“Who did that?”
“Jane! Did you make that?”
“How do you do that?”
“It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!”
Invariably, one or two guests would come right over to sit beside me and insist that I tell them all about this unusual art form, how I got started doing it, and where they could get one of these exquisite pieces.
I’ve never been good at social events, but learned along the way that if I brought something special, it would get me the attention I craved. I believe that a large part of my artistic development came out of the need to show who I was through my art–all the love, the beauty I see and know, and creativity was more easily expressed in an object that in words or behavior. My art was my entree into life. Love my eggs, love me.
When I exhibited at craft shows, my booth was 10 feet by 10 feet and filled with hundreds of intricate patterns done by my hand. Jewelry pieces made from eggshells lined the vitrines in my corner display. There were bright red eggs dangling from thin gold ribbons, decorated with fine lace-like snowflake patterns, and my objets d’art under glass domes with price tags in the hundreds of dollars. I had had a huge sign made: AN EGG BY JANE that let fairgoers easily find me.
I often had people come to my booth at these shows and make the same remark. “Did you make all of these yourself?”
I loved the attention. I didn’t know any other way to achieve the awe, admiration and attraction, so I kept doing my craft for 30 years.
It was my silver bullet.