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Today is my 27th birthday.

Flowers from my parents and brothers for my birthday:

Looking back on my 27th year (or being 26th years) many things happened! My life has really done a 180 degree turn!

I started my 27th year living in Vancouver, BC. In July I moved out from living with a roommate and moved in by myself into a one bedroom apartment on Balsam and 3rd street. My Mom came to Vancouver and helped me re-paint the apartment that the previous tenants neglected to do. Thank you so much to Mom for helping out, it was a much larger job than expected.

The second weekend in July, I went to a BBQ at my good friends place, Ali and Bernie’s… where I met again Lloyd Budd… and we all know where that ended up! 😉

At the beginning of August I took a three week holiday from my vindictive boss’s and went to the Bowron Lakes with my Dad, brother Landon, and some family friends. It was a beautiful trip… the whole 7 days that we were there, it rained only for about an hour, which is almost unheard of in that area you can get freak snowstorms in the summer. I then spent a week visiting Sharla in Prince George, and Cheri in Quesnel.

I returned to Victoria to spend some time with Lloyd and to find out that he received an offer from Flock Inc. who wanted him to start right away. He gave his notice at Mercurial and started working remotely on the Flock project right away.

September my good friends Nadia and Andrew tied the knot. I was so happy to be included in their special day.

Lloyd accepted the position at Flock Inc, in California! I had very mixed feelings about him accepting the position, especially since not even a year previous I had moved back to BC, from Calgary, AB in order to be close to my family and friends.  I was not looking forward to the possibility of moving away from everyone again. I agreed it was an opportunity not to be passed by. The original plan was for Lloyd to alternate months in Canada and California for the first 6 months, while I transitioned to move down with him. After the first month we decided that long distance was too difficult, and even though I would miss my family and friend immensely, my heart ached to be with Lloyd more, so we planned for me to join him November 1st.

We announced our engagement to our family and friends near the end of October. Many were shocked that we got engaged so quickly, little did they know we were actually secretly engaged for a while before that even!

Entry into the United States proved difficult for me, and I was denied the first time I tried to enter. A week later I got into the USA, and have travelled back and forth with Lloyd since such time. Every time I now enter the USA they ask if I have ever been denied entry? Apparently it is to remain on my “record” for sometime.

November and December were some tough times for me, I moved to California to be with Lloyd, which was proving to be difficult with him working 16+ hours a day and commuting to Palo Alto, leaving me behind in San Francisco by myself, no friends or family around, and no job to identify with and little to do.

January and February I took some silversmith classes which I thoroughly enjoyed. I decided however that silversmithing will remain a hobby of mine for now, instead of going professional.

The commute and the many hours apart was becoming difficult and frustrating, so we made the decision to move closer to Lloyd’s work. Flock moved from Palo Alto to Mountain View for the beginning of March, and we moved from San Francisco to Mountain View that same month. Lloyd can now walk to work, it is only 6 blocks! He now comes home for dinner and we are spending a little more time together than we were, and living in a much nicer place, and I enjoy the community down in Mountain View quite a bit. All round it was a good move.

April I spent preparing for our wedding, and applying for teaching. Recently discovered that due to our visa being temporary, and being an International student I am not illegible to apply for the program and San Francisco State University.

Taken after my bridal shower in April in Victoria, BC:

We got married May 7th, which a community of people, in particular my parents Donna and Bart made possible. It was truly beautiful, I am lucky to have such a wonderful network of friends and family willing to help up to make the day what it was… thank you again to ALL those who helped.

In short in my 27th year:

  • I met my future husband again, and got married!
  • I quit my Human Resources job at Ernst and Young and moved to San Francisco with my fiance without a job or any prospects!
  • Picked up and left my life in Canada, to follow future husband, so he might be able to realize some of his dreams and aspirations in Open Source community.
  • Went from Human Resources work, to thinking of being a silversmith, to applying to be an Elementary school teacher!

What will my 28th year hold, I am not sure yet. Not being eligible for a teaching credential in California, I am planning on taking the 4 courses I am missing (take a couple and Foothills College in California and transfer them, the two Canadian studies courses I will take by correspondence) to get into either the University of Victoria or the Simon Fraser University teaching program for when we return to Canada… which I am hoping for sooner than later as I continue to miss my friends and family, and Lloyd is hoping for the later rather than sooner! Other than that, I will play it by ear and see what my 28th year has in store for me!

Finally I start to write about what the title of my blog is all about! “My adventures in silver”…

I took another silversmith/goldsmith class at the Revere Academy this week, called Fabrication Two with Vasken as my instructor. Photos of the projects that I made in class:
Box%20ring%20-%20JulesSilver%20creation

Chain%20pin%20-%20JulesSilver%20creation

 Ring%20with%205%20different%20filing%20techniques%20-%20JulesSilver%20creation

Initially I was only registered in two classes at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, and just today I register in a few more! I have decided that I am really going to pursue my passion for making jewelry, with the goal of first finding an apprenticeship in the Bay Area which I hope will lead me to the professional level.

All my life I have been interested in the Arts, if it was not drawing and painting, I was trying another creative thing. I started jewelry making when I was young, as quite a few girls do, making necklaces and such for their friends, though I think I was one of the more passionate ones about it. Many friends would come to me if they wanted a daisy chain necklace or a new hemp necklace.;-) It just progressed from there. When I was about 15 or 16, I went to the Market in Ganges on Saltspring Island (in BC, off of Vancouver Island, Canada) with my Mom. There was a necklace there made with wire work and beads, I think it was about $30 or more, which I thought was expensive at the time. I remember thinking to myself, “I betcha I can make that!” Not sure how much later it was that I was at Bead World in Victoria buying small pliers and getting some nickel wire and getting the first few instructions from the counter staff on how to make a wire wrapped bead. The first thing I made was a bracelet made from Amber, which I gave to my Mom, she still has it! I look at it now and think what I mess it looks like 😉 Since then I have made many many more wire wrapped necklaces. I wish I had documented them all! I have more than a few lucky friends and family members that have my creations in their jewelry collections that I given away for presents for birthday and the like.

Many people have told me that I should sell my work, but I have never found the time to be able to do that. When I was going into University I wanted to take Fine Arts. My Dad’s advise was to take his version of a practical degree, and then if I wanted to still pursue the arts later then I could, but I would always have something to fall back on. So at my Dad’s advise, I have a Business degree.

Since being out of University I have wanted to return to school to do my Fine Arts degree, but I found it too difficult to leave the job that I was in to return to school and be in debt. Also I was not sure what I wanted to do with it once I completed it. I have contemplated taking a Graphic Design degree to make it so I had a skill coming out of the program. I have also always had the desire to learn Silversmith/Goldsmithing.

In September of 2003 for 8 weeks on Monday nights I took a class at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Alberta where I called home for three years of my life. I took the beginning Silversmithing class in the evening and learned to make basics of silversmithing. I loved it right away, my favourite part is still watching the solder flow… it looks so cool!

In the class my favourite project was the necklace making, so a couple months later I took a private lesson. The instructor taught me another basic linked chain and gave me some hints to how to set up a bench at home. My brother made me a simple jewelers bench and I bought a couple of the basics. I have been practicing the necklace making at home for a couple of years now.

Arriving in San Francisco I thought I would have lots of time to work on my jewelry. I found a jewelry school in San Francisco where I could build on and enhance my skills. At first I only registered in two classes.

Since arriving in San Francisco I have been trying to figure out what to do with all my time as I do not have a “real” job. Some people (parents mostly) have advised me to find a volunteer position or even a job (tho the Visa situation is almost impossible for me) to keep up my skills so when I want to return to have a “real” job market (as defined by “them”), I will not have been out of the field and it will be easier. I did try a volunteer opportunity that would do just that. Though I found that I was not as passionate about it as I thought I was. I was to be a Volunteer Coordintor for Artsfest (being a volunteer myself), my past life I have experience in Human Resources. I found I was not motivated to get the work done or do the job. Doing Human Resources work when you are getting paid is okay, but for a volunteer position I found I did not have the motivation to be there.
I don’t have a job at the moment, so this should be the ideal time to pursue my jewelry! I am in the program to complete my Jeweler Technician diploma. I will have completed 7 out of the 11 required classes for my jewelry technician diploma by the end of this February.Then will come the very hard task of trying to find a jeweler that will take me on as an apprentice. Why is it so hard to find you ask? Well…
Our instructor did his training in Paris a little more than 20 years ago. In the world today, from my intructors point of view, Germany would be the top provider of jewelers, who produce work that is very precise, well made and detailed. France would then come in second where you would find a little more of the creative side, and then Italy. In Europe you take your training or school in jewelry and to ensure that you get your essential practical experience the Government PAYS professional jewelers to take on apprentices. This is not the case in North America. Apprentices cost a jeweler time and money, so the number willing to take on an apprentice is quite low, if nil. My instructor having learned the way he did, and also being a teacher at the Academy already has a couple of apprentices and does not know of anyone else willing to take on a student… so my search begins. While I am looking for a apprenticeship I will be looking for some studio space where I can practice my skills, and start making pieces to sell. I will have to figure out a concrete plan however.

I feel that this is an ideal time to make a “go” of wanting to pursue my jewelry, mainly because I am unemployed and the visa situation in the USA for me is very difficult and I am still young! I do not want to turn 50 and say to myself, you know I wish I tried that when I had the chance… this way I will be able to “try” it and when I am 50 say… I am satisfied and happy that I did try it… and it was successful or unsuccessful, but at least I was not afraid to try. There IS a possibility that this could work out, there is also a possibility it won’t… as with many things in life…. but if we never tried or went out of our comfort zone… then where would we be?! I do not know where this will lead, and I already know that I will get a lot of opposition from people in my life, which is hard, it is hard enough to pursue something you’ve always wanted to try, but even harder when you have little support. For the moment I am very much enjoying my jeweler classes and the possibilities that lie ahead.

After celebrating the Christmas season back home, we arrived back in San Francisco to ring in the new year! We went to the Laughing Squid pad and then moved onto the Geek Aerie for fireworks…

The first few days of 2006 I took a silversmithing class from Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts. Where I learned some more of the basics of silversmithing, and we also learnt a little about making jewelry in gold. It was a lot of fun and I feel I really added to my skills. There is another three day course coming up in a couple of weeks that I will attend also, which is a continuation of the one I just took. I have some of the smaller equipment at home, however if I want to start doing this more full time I will need to find a studio where I can work, so I can have access to things like a drill press, polishing machine, ultrasonic machine etc. I hope to soon have my website up at julessilver.com.

silverclass1

I looked into doing some volunteering at Christmas time and came across a company called Artsfest, which is a non profit organization largely run by volunteers that showcases a cross section of the many outstanding artists and performers who call the Bay Area home in the month of May. I am going to start by organizing their volunteer program for them at about 10-20 hours per week and then see how things evolve and work, and it may grow to full time. Hopefully I will get started on that this week.

We arrived back in SF to full speed ahead on the social scene! This past weekend we’ve been to a few celebrations. Our friend, neighbour and collegue of Lloyd’s, Termie (aka Andy) is moving to Armsterdam on the 10th. We attended his going away bash, which was located just upstairs of us on Saturday night! Then on Sunday night went to celebrate birthdays’ with some other friend’s, Chris and Cal at Laszio bar. And this coming Friday we hope to celebrate birthday with another friend Matt.

Lloyd continues to be busy with work. We are contemplating moving South so the commute will not be so bad for him. He commutes about 5 days a week, and we have an event to attend in SF about 1-2 a week, so it makes a little more sense that we commute for events instead of for his work.

Wedding plans are still coming along nicely. We are just trying to finalize a caterer, as the one that I had wanted quoted us an astronomical cost. We hope to have our invitations out by the end of this month. And I finally found a dress! While we were visiting friend in Vancouver on our way to Victoria, I went back to one of the first places I went and tried on a dress I had tried on months earlier and it was still my favourite, so we got it! My Mom came over for the day and one of my bridesmaids’, Ali, was there to help me pick it out. My other bridesmaid, Nadia, was the one that saw it with me the first time. Unlike the USA you are not allowed to take photos of the dresses while trying them on at the places I went in Vancouver. Many boutiques (at least the ones in Van) actually get the dresses take out the desginer labels and put in their own. Sorry to say I cannot show everyone! But not to worry there will be plenty of photos after the weekend you can see! Below is a shot of my parents backyard, where the ceremony is to be… which we are promised will be ready in time…parentsbackyard