creates shawl pins and other useful things
(my very favorite thing is her cable needle rings: so clever, so practical)
with wire, tiny hammers, wire cutters and sweat.
truly, i never saw her sweat,
but when i signed up to be taught by leslie at a lys,
using her tools and wire to create a thing of my own, i sweat (liberally).
‘you can make anything you want’ is the way she started.
so i grabbed a pen and drew out a swirling thing that i’d had in my mind lately.
‘do you want me to get you started?’ she asked,
and i nodded my head in response
hoping that it wasn’t completely obvious that i had absolutely no idea what i was doing.
she put my scribble
down on the table in front of her,
estimated how much wire she’d need and cleanly snipped it off the roll
(cue the sweating)
then she gracefully bent the wire into curves & arcs.
starting at one end of my sketch
and ending at the other,
turns out that she’d cut the precise amount of wire needed.
the precise amount.
she did glance at my scrawl once or twice
as she went along, but she never measured what she was doing
against my drawing even once,
except with her mind’s eye,
her finished piece
so that you’ve no reason to doubt me, i took a photo of the piece
laid atop the sketch.
the amount of skill it takes to do that is beyond me,
it is nearly beyond my understanding altogether
and all the while,
as she bent and twisted,
she was making interesting conversation with me
a veritable stranger (cue more sweat on my part).
i did ‘help’. i hammered the wire flat.
all those little indents are
my hands’ work.
next time i had the opportunity,
i signed up for another bit of time with leslie.
i was so thrilled with both pieces that i promptly set them aside for over a year.
it’s ironic, but true. i wanted them ‘perfect’
and i could not figure out how to attach leather cords
so that these asymmetrical shapes would hang
evenly at my neck, or manageably at my wrist.
today, while trying to solve a completely different puzzle
the solution to this one came to me.
it seems so obvious now, that the cords would have to be attached
in asymmetrical places to make it balance,
but until today it felt truly impossible.
now i am thrilled all over again.
these are exactly what
i had first pictured inside my head
when i drew the original sketch for leslie in response to
her saying, ‘you can make anything you want’.
i love that actually i helped to
make them real,
and even more i love that i got to watch her skills at work.
if you ever get the chance to be somewhere that leslie is,
you should go there and please do tell her
that ‘tal’ says ‘hello’
she will not remember me
from one busy afternoon nearly two years ago now,
but i will always remember her. life is funny like that.
‘hammered’ taken from 39:3 of exodus.