Updated: Jul 11
What a crazy time this has been! Even though I'm loving my new found personal time, I am missing all of you! So, in the spirit of sharing I want to tell you what’s been going on in my world.
CLOSING DOWN JAN MICHAELS JEWELRY
The last time I saw many of you was in early March 2020 during my final “blow out” sale at the Eureka Square store and manufacturing center. My projected date to vacate the store was March 31, which was when my retirement would officially begin. After 40 years of designing and creating jewelry, my entire enterprise was about to close. But who knew that by March 15, the last day of the sale, the world would literally turn upside down. There were concerns and rumblings about the new coronavirus, and many were worried if coming to the sale would endanger their health. Fear, and especially fear of the unknown, swirled around us. Meanwhile, my deadline was fast approaching. A decree to “shelter in place” came from Governor Newsom’s office and all business stopped by the end-of-day March 16. I was in a real bind as I was forced to pack and vacate mostly on my own. I was a one-woman-show getting things packed, donated or trashed. In those final two weeks, I worked harder than I've ever done in my 40 years of business. Each day felt longer than the next, punctuated by hard physical labor. With the pressure mounting, my thought to extend my lease was shot down when I learned the landlord had a new tenant scheduled to move in directly after me.
THANKFUL FOR A BIT OF REPRIEVE
Lucky for me, some helpful hands did finally arrive. The always joyful Sharon (you might know her from the check-out at Oceana Market with blue hair and a big smile) spent 2 or 3 hours assisting me when possible and helped nudge me through the packing process. We laughed a lot, shared music and stories and made the work more fun. Occasionally, both my trusted helpers - Leslie and Jenny - were able to work a full day on a weekend, packing last minute orders and cleaning out work stations. Kate, our office manager, was busy closing out the books and records. It was a lot for everybody! All the assistance was enormously appreciated. I want to send a special thanks to two strong men who helped break down most of the big stuff in the studio: Tony Hurd and Jim McAllister. I couldn’t have done it without them. Also, a big thanks to Delancey Street Movers and 1-800-GOTJUNK, both of whom didn't cancel at the start of the pandemic. Those end days were a blur...with mountains of boxes and coordinating three separate moves to my home workshop, the storage unit and Sanchez Art Center where I now have a studio to create my art in whatever form that fills me with joy and challenge. More on that later.
WHAT LED ME TO CLOSING MY BUSINESS
When I moved my business from San Francisco to Pacifica six years ago, we opened up a retail space and continued to sell our fashion jewelry via wholesale at eight major trade shows a year in NY, Atlanta and Las Vegas. Katrena, my longtime partner in crime, and I were the wholesale team! For years we had a dependable system: I'd pack a crate with hundreds of jewelry samples, ship it to NY, and then we'd both set up, sell, breakdown the show and send the crate to the next stop. But by 2018, while at AccessoriestheShow in Las Vegas, I planned to quit the shows. They had become oversaturated and were slipping in attendance, and were simply no longer viable for my business. Nothing is more disappointing that paying an exorbitant price for a booth on top of the many expenses and barely breaking even. And then, out-of-the-blue, I received another sign that cemented the decision: Before the breakdown of the show, while phoning in a customer's credit card, a fork lift truck plowed into my booth knocking me off my seat onto the cement floor. It was a terrifying scene. Thankfully my injuries were not as severe as they could have been, but I literally felt like I was being “pushed out” of the shows!
CREATIVE FLOW AT MY HOME WORKSHOP
So that was the last 6 years of my business. Coming back to the present, I'm putting the final touches on my home workshop and have several jewelry projects laid out and in various stages. Asyou well know, I love using natural stones and fossils and will continue to create. My African bead collection is my current inspiration, and I hope to keep beautiful jewelry rolling from my hands. Meanwhile my living room is a disaster! It's an avalanche of thousands of photos, stacks of promo materials, catalogs and portfolios. I’m hoping to get more organized so I can start to make progress on writing a book in the future. My 40-year career as a jewelry designer has given me so much satisfaction and I want to share and reflect on the many intertwined events that have made my life so magically charged.
SHOULD YOU WEAR JEWELRY WITH A MASK?
Now this is the reality of the world right now. Certainly, no one wants to become ill with Covid-19 and for sure we want to stay safe. So, we all need to wear some effective face mask protection and keep those face masks clean and sanitary. Please wash them and your hands frequently especially as we are all starting to go out more. Have you noticed that earrings don't fit so well with a mask?! I’ve tried all kinds of earrings: Long dramatic ones and thin ethereal styles, but the best look seems to be a close-fitting coin earring or button style or none at all -- I never thought I'd ever say that! I prefer to coordinate my mask with necklaces, bracelets and rings. But, when meeting on Zoom, I wear earrings, and the bigger the better:)
COMING TOGETHER TO DEMAND JUSTICE
As a global family, the last month has been an amazing reckoning of the many imbalances in our society regarding racially motivated police shootings and other excessive use of force. Black and brown people continue to suffer and die at the hands of those whose jobs it is to protect us. Black Lives Must Matter. More and more people are coming together to say enough is enough. I also question why weapons of war are being used for street protests when people are peacefully exercising their right to express their opinion. There's a lot more work to be done here and at the onset of a critical election year, the fight for equality and justice is only just beginning.
MY NEW STUDIO AT SANCHEZ ART CENTER
I am thrilled to now have a small art studio at the Sanchez Art Center. Often referred to as SAC, it is a collective for artists in Pacifica, CA. I'm in Studio #3, which I share with a talented print maker. The SAC campus was once an elementary school that the City of Pacifica re-allocated as a gallery and serves as a focal point for the Arts. SAC is also home to the Art Guild of Pacifica, whose 150-plus members volunteer for exhibitions, events, and gallery sittings. Community art classes, various performances and speaking engagements are also held here. Before I started my jewelry business, I was an art teacher for grade school children in Pittsburgh, PA, and traveled from school to school creating fun through art. In many ways, my studio at SAC completes the circle, bringing me back to the place I was before I left for California!
PATHWAYS & JOURNEYS SHOW AT SANCHEZ ART CENTER
SAC is reopening to the public starting this week and will hold Pathways & Journeys, an exhibition at their West Gallery on Friday, July 10. I am proud to be part of the show and my piece is an intergalactic themed assemblage. Bay Area locals, I encourage you to come and visit, as well as to check out concurrent and future shows. Masks will be mandatory, of course. To better meet public health guidelines and to ensure a positive experience, it's best to book a time to view the exhibition outside of regular hours. Here are the details:
Reservations available on:
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 11 AM - 7 PM Make a reservation here Regular gallery drop-in hours: (You may have a short wait) Friday, Saturday and Sunday 1 - 5 PM SAC Address 1220- B Linda Mar Boulevard Pacifica, CA 94044 firstname.lastname@example.org 650-355-1894
Yay that we can still enjoy art while adhering to new parameters for living during a Pandemic! I do hope everyone has a great Summer. Despite feeling in limbo, let’s make the most of it, and roll with the beauty of nature and continue to create stronger bonds with our friends and neighbors. Please stay in touch! XOX Jan