I love mornings and tend to naturally wake early to enjoy the silence and a strong cup of coffee. The morning light is magical in these early hours. Stepping outside delicious earthy scents are tenderly held in the dew. The days are getting warmer, but the nights are still quite cool and slowly consume the emerging life. While walking up to my studio I saw several of these beautiful large bees frozen in time. Yesterday they were dancing gleefully on the breeze entranced by the warm promise of sunshine and taste of spring flowers. Sadly they emerged too soon and lay where the frost stilled their hearts. I can't help but think of the all the times I've wrested with my own desires of wanting something before its time. I play it safe, yielding to the desires and wisdom of others rather than my own. My soul kicks and howls wildly like an animal that refuses to be broken. I have no doubt there is great value in patience and timing. But what of the value of the wild soul that steps outside into the cold in a blaze of glory with pure joy in her heart and on her face? Is one way of living better than another? I don't have that answer, but I can tell you a life without risk will lead to soul death. Balance is my mantra so today I choose to live wild, free, and wise.
I have deeply tangled roots that spread from the Midwest all the way to the Hawaii. My family is here in the Midwest and for now it's where I need to be, but a big part of my heart and soul is rooted deeply in the Hawaiian volcanic soil. I look forward to my return each and every day.
When I lived in Hawaii, I had the honor of working for the Easter Seal Society. It was a position I fell into, but one that forever changed my life. I part of a team whose mission was to care for, teach, and advocate on the behalf of a group of adults with severe developmental disabilities. When we would go out into the community - away from the security of our day center - some people stared, some people looked away as if these adults didn't exist, and one or two told us we scolded us for bringing them out in public. Yes, really. No one smiled or said hello. What happened to the aloha I had come to believe in? Aloha resided in our hearts and with the amazing foster care givers who took these beautifully imperfect individuals into their homes as if they were family. I was fortunate enough to see the hidden gifts that most of the public refused to see.
Money was extremely tight and so we did what we could to teach and provide stimulating experiences on less than a shoe string budget. With the birth of my first beautiful child my life was changing, and the position that I loved so much was coming to an end. The government was reducing the vital funding needed to sustain our adults services program and case management would be returned to the state. So with that dreaded news I moved back to Indiana to "regroup" and spend some time with family. I cried a lot over the days prior to my return to the mainland. I was draped in leis with laughter and tears, hugged a lot, and given presents for my family upon my return by my co-workers and caregivers who now seemed like my extended family. That is the aloha I know and miss, and this was one of those experiences that forever changed me.
Hawaii is a definitely a beautiful place and one could fall in love with its beauty alone, but I discovered a more meaningful beauty standing with these "differently abled" individuals. They faced more challenges in one day than I could possibly comprehend, yet they were happy in the moment.
Most of the money raised in donations that many of these organizations like Easter Seals rely heavily upon is earmarked for the children and for those with mild to moderate disabilities. This is simply because they have the most potential for growth and independence. The pieces pictured above are the beginning of a very meaningful project that I'm working on and I hope it's success will shadow everything I've done thus far. Initially I will be donating 25% of the profits to one of two organizations that serve adults with developmental disabilities. Specifically, I will be speaking with individuals within these organizations to ensure that the money raised will be put aside for the instructors to use for enjoyable and educational community experiences. These first pieces will be available in my etsy shop beginning tomorrow evening. As always, thank you for your support! I know couldn't do this without you! xoxo
Where to begin...
I always struggle with my words when sharing something deeply personal with an audience I can't see.
It's the start of a new year and I'm generally not one to sit down and reflect on the previous year or make goals for the coming one. I've learned over the years that my desires can change with the blowing wind and my good intentions are often swept along. This post is a reflection, but not because it is a new year. I just think it is just time to get honest with myself and you.
Perhaps it would be best to start at the beginning...
When I first began making jewelry I loved sitting down and watching a piece come together in the most beautiful and unexpected way. I made whatever I wanted to on any given day and I found that my work found a happy owner just as fast as I could make it. I was happy and business was really good.
Within a few years I became seduced by the idea that I should take my business further. I was doing really, really well so it just seemed like the next logical step. I decided it was time to branch out to boutiques and ego whispered in my ear often that she wanted to see my work in magazines. Goals on paper. Goals met. In reality, this wasn't as great as I imagined it would be. I was forced to create collections for the first time, meet press deadlines, and monitor numbers closely. But worst of all I was loosing the freedom I valued so much. I found it difficult to keep up the pace and I needed production help. Fabricating each piece myself was my true love. Giving that up to anyone else was non negotiable.
Over the past two or maybe three years I've genuinely struggled emotionally with balance within my business. I never truly felt like an artist because they are really good, right? However, I couldn't identify as a designer either because I just couldn't stick with one signature look to carry my brand and I didn't have a desire to keep up with style trends. In recent months I have realized that I do create like an artist and I'm not happy trying to be anything but what I am.
It's cold here today. Bone chilling cold and when it gets like this my husband endures my endless and sometimes angry pleading to move to Hawaii. It's the place I once lived and loved with all of my soul. He is happy here and tells me he just isn't ready. He has built a great business. One that frustrates him some days but overall gives him great satisfaction. Still I relentlessly plead with him. Yet, I'm no different. I've put my heart and soul into building my business. What would happen if I switched gears? What if I went back to working in silver more and making whatever I felt like from one day to the next? What if I didn't post to social media every day God forbid? I have told myself repeatedly it would be suicide. (Would it be?) I would most likely find myself starting over or at the very least loosing most of my current customers. (I would find new ones then, right?) Yet I was asking my husband to consider doing something I wasn't even willing to do. Let go of all that he had built, both good and bad. I couldn't let go. I couldn't look my ego in the eye and tell her to get over herself.
What I know for sure is that change is coming. I feel the tug to go back to my jewelry roots and I'm finding myself making "secret" pieces. I don't want to make something and then waste energy worrying if it will be received well. I need to lighten up. I want to be brave and part of that is being honest with you.
I don't know what this change will look like at this point, but I'm going to take some time and play. It may just be a phase, but I don't think so. I only know that this decision feels right. Some might think I'm crazy and that's okay. Maybe I am, but I'm sure about it because saying this feesl good and I haven't felt this solid in a while.
After six wonderful years, I'm so excited to announce that CHRISTINEMIGHION.COM has a brand new look and I hope you will love it as much as I do!
Although I've been creating and selling jewelry since 2007, I didn't officially launch Christine Mighion Jewelry until late 2009. Before then, the beginnings were humble and I was making jewelry in my bare bones basement studio. I've now moved into a large studio out in the woods, have more equipment, many more customers, and a few furry visitors, but the process remains the same. I still make each piece of jewelry myself from start to finish and it is this process that I love so much.
Your support through the years has been humbling and I'm deeply grateful. It has been so affirming that my desire to bring fashionable and eco sensitive jewelry made by an artisan's hands rather than unconsciously outsourced and mass produced has resonated with you. Today we often don't know where many of the items we use or consume on a daily basis come from or what their impact on the environment and surrounding communities might be. I'm also so happy to say that because of your support we have raised thousands of dollars for so many amazing charitable organizations.
From the deepest part of my soul, I thank you all!
xoxo - Christine