The very first mouse
for the 3rd or 4th time...?

The first in a series of tends to be poorly documented because there's no idea yet whether it will be successful, i.e. even become a series—or just another of many, outnumbering failures.[1] So I don't have a picture of the apogee (so far) of this series, which featured a focal not only with frit, powder & floral trailing, but also dichro (a la one of my very favourite beads/beadmakers, my treasured floral vessel by Leah Fairbanks) which I used in the 3rd[2] iteration ...the bead was cracked, so into the mouse it went. I think I even epoxied it back together after it broke.[3]

most recent iteration of a dead mouse. Sodalime lampwork focal featuring frits and powders, floral trailing; glass beads, including vintage czech pressed, soldered copper ring, goldfill & plated beads. Focal approx 2.25" long; mouse (not including beadalon ends) 9.75". Strung & photographed Dec 2017.

Alas, someone dropped it on concrete and it suffered major damage. I wasn't so upset at having to replace the focal, but was sad that the accent bead just below, originally a striped raked lotus made with a unique BE multi-coloured sort-of filigrana cane (no longer available) broke, cuz I just loved that bead. However, after months of not making a replacement, I finally just hunted around in my bead tray for something else—in this case, an old pixie dottie, made, iirc, from a batch of German (lauscha) pink glass from some ‘glass of the month’ club thing I participated in years ago.

It's been awhile, so it's probably time to drag out that 50# of pots story again—some prof divided his(?) class in half, asking 50% of the students to make one, perfect pot to get an A grade. The other half merely had to make 50 lbs’ worth.

Needless to say, the ones who churned out volume produced all the best pots. Some—a very few—people are willing to do the careful prep to hit it out of the ballpark on the first try. My father was one of these, and for many years I just assumed that's how true genius works. However, he was obsessive-compulsive[4] ; I learned from another very bright person (by watching them in action) that iterative efforts are generally hella more efficient in solving problems.

For this reason, I'm willing to fail a lot. My modus operandi is to keep plugging away at something, and because I'm kind of slow, I generally do the same damn dumb thing over and over and over, until some accident or serendipity happens and I see an incremental improvement. Or at least, some failure that could potentially be turned into an improvement. It's for this reason I keep playing with beads that are total failures, instead of jamming them immediately into the water jar. I've watched a lot of beadmakers—generally part-time hobbiests—get frustrated and give up, instead of seeing those failures as an opportunity.

It's easy to do! If you're not playing with something on a regular basis, it can be damned hard even to get to a barely succeeding mode—down dog (a yoga pose) is a good example for me. I detest this pose, because it hurts my shoulders. It has always hurt my shoulders because they're very weak, and have been:[5] it's been decades since I could do even a single ‘real’ pushup.

So I generally do a standing sequence, because I have enough of a base to build improvement on. But when I started doing yoga with someone else who follows a youtube practitioner[6] I started doing more of adho mukha svanasana. I still am not very good at this pose, but after practising it regularly, I began to get glimpses of improvement, such that, perhaps some day, it could become, as it is for many experienced yogis, a ‘relaxing pose to hang out in’.

The point of this digression is that, why yes, when you're so far down the well nothing works or goes right, it's a struggle just to achieve anything, anything at all. And then, I think, it has to be okay to give up in frustration, plunge that useless chunk of glass into the water jar. But: just remember, some day, even if it isn't now, that mess will be an opportunity to play.

Treasure that.

Notes: this page was originally one of a series created on (or about) 27dec2017; posted not quite two years later, 07nov2019.

[1]The obvious thing to do is document everything. This gets old fast, but is, I'm convinced, on the things that separates the great from the merely good. I'm too lazy—or not obsessive enough—for that first category, though I've tried.

[2]The 2nd iteration was possibly just a restring, though usually ‘iteration’ means a new focal, not just a restring job. Of course, all this is going off my memory, which is erratic.

[3]The theory being is that mice are, as jewellery goes, rather ephemeral, so I knew eventually the thing would break entirely, but in the meantime I was willing to enjoy this repaired stage of its existence. If that makes sense, which it mebbe doesn't to folks not in the shabby-chic mindset. But it's a thing.

[4]He used the term anal-retentive, and the condition has been medically documented on his side of the family, so I don't think I'm making unsupported claims, here.

[5]While I was doing a minor grammatical edit to this page as part of the review process for the latest (as of late 2022) in the series about this mouse I realized that, some 5 years later, of which the last two–three years’ worth of 2-3x/week kettlebell weight training made the greatest difference...I can finally, sort of, do down dog. Even attempt wild thing, which was totally out of my purview back when I wrote this at the end of 2017. So, future me urges you: keep at it!

[6]Yoga with Adrienne, which I recommend highly, because she puts a lot of thought into getting people to get the benefit of asana without trying to get into competitions—even with themselves—over the shape of a given pose.