The ideal, Better Home and Gardens.

The reality, my craft room.

The ideal, from Better Homes and Gardens. The reality, my writing room.

Sterling silver pin with citrine briolet, pearls and garnets


“Control of chaos is the stabilization, by means of small system perturbations, of one of these unstable periodic orbits. The result is to render an otherwise chaotic motion more stable and predictable, which is often an advantage. The perturbation must be tiny, to avoid significant modification of the system’s natural dynamics.”

I think of in German, machen ordnung, to make order. It is a brutal process that requires a brutal language. Basically I have to tear a place apart before I can rearrange in a way that allows me to use for a certain purpose. In this case, the space is my study, the place where I use to conduct interviews and write, back when I worked for commercial newspapers. After I decided to write for non-profit organisations, I moved my writing quarters to another room and remade my former office into a silversmith’s office.

Formally trained silversmiths usually have immaculate work spaces. They arrange their jeweller’s benches according to an age old pattern. That makes sense. Much of silversmithing is precise work. It requires orderly surroundings. many silversmithing tools are delicate and expensive. Some rust easily and it does not do to neglect them.

Having said that, I will admit to keeping my bench in an apparent state of chaos. That is, to a trained silversmith my bench looks like a pigsty. Yet I can find my tools blindfolded. It is true that I have only killed two sets of aviation grade cutters, but that happened over a period of eight years and I have learnt not to use them to hold piece of silver I am heating wth a MAPP (liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) mixed with methylacethylenepropadiene) gas torch. The combustion temperature of MAPP gas 5300 °F ( 2927 °C ), great for melting silver and one’s good, expensive aviation cutters.
Here and there I make a piece of jewelry that makes someone happy. It is a skill to have. Writing is cleaner, but the creative process is no sweeter than making a drawing and rendering it into metal. I practice both crafts in rooms where there must be some order–my kind of order, not decorator magazine’s prissy, photographable prettiness. See for yourself.


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