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Short Reads

A Lack of Craft

Good intentions are no match for poor workmanship.

For our eighth wedding anniversary in 2016, I liked the way the number 8 could be turned on its side to make an infinity symbol. I had the idea of making Rachel a bracelet featuring this motif, searching for different materials and testing my techniques. For the bracelet portion, I used leather lace, expanded on the theme by learning how to make an eight-stranded braid.

When I presented it to Rachel, the problems quickly became apparent. Those eight leather strands coupled with my zealous weaving had formed a thick cord that was far too extensive. On Rachel’s delicate wrist, the full bracelet wrapped around 3.5 times, creating a Wonder Woman-style vambrace hefty enough to stop bullets. We both knew immediately that this “jewelry piece” would not be seeing the light of day.

Wonder Woman uses her vambrace to stop bullets. From fanart.tv.

I thought I could fix it by making it shorter, holding that thought in my head as another project I would eventually get around to completing. I finally did, motivated by Rachel’s birthday and an acquisition of flat pliers for working the metal without marking it. I went to measure her wrist, where I was again confronted by the leathery python snake dwarfing the homemade infinity charm.

I had waited four years to confirm what I knew from the start: There was no fixing it. The techniques required to make something with the same features that was actually wearable with an outfit were far beyond my skill and available time. I had knit her an ugly sweater, and when it comes to items of style, the amount of love put into something is hollow if the output is irredeemable.