When I first decided to enter the Metalsmithing program at UNT, I knew I’d learn tons of jewelry techniques. What I hadn’t expected to learn is how spiritually connected the creative process is with the physical process of making jewelry.
For instance, I melted some of my old silver jewelry in order to use it for a project. I had to melt it, clean the impurities out of the molten metal, and then pour it into a mold, which makes an ingot. When in ingot form, the metal is thick, and needs to be flattened into sheet metal:
This is achieved by putting the metal through a rolling mill. During this process, the metal can easily become brittle, and cracking may result. In order to keep the metal malleable, it must be annealed (heated) before putting more stress on it:
When I made my first ingot, I realized God had worked in my life the way I was working on that piece of metal. In order to be useful to my Maker, I needed to have impurities cleaned out of my life. The process required fire, and felt destructive, yet it yielded clean metal ready for use.
But it wasn’t ready yet, the metal still needed to be stretched into a thin sheet. As I passed my silver through the rolling mill, the edges would crack, unable to withstand the pressure. This is normal though, and just needed to be monitored. When I saw cracking, I used a metal file to smooth the edges, and then I annealed the metal so it would be ready to withstand the next round of passes through the mill. And such is the Christian life… God allows us to go through hard situations. We may crack, we may become brittle, and he may have to cut out parts of our lives. But you can always bet that He’ll soften your heart so you can bear it.
And in the end, it was all done for our joy and for His glory. For our usefulness, and for His pleasure, which is both our pleasure and for His use!