Our new friend Judith (we met her on LinkedIn) told us her story and we had to share it with you, while celebrating some of our favorite jewellery artisans (and yes, it's jeweLLery in this case, since she's in Malta!).
When Judith was facing retirement, the fear that she might get bored drove her straight into the arms of BEADING!. She loves learning and has a high level of confidence. Her motto is: If somebody has done it, it can be done! She started with one silver filigree class. Once in the class, she had a bit of a shock, since this method requires so much precision -- and there was a big rivalry between students, to boot.
Her classmates would comment that it was strange that someone of "her age" would start something so difficult, but she was always ready with her answer: "I have been a teacher all my life. Now I want to be taught".
Judith works from home in a well-equipped work area -- 'a room of her own' (as Virginia Woolf, the great novelist and feminist would put it). And wisely, she really keeps it sacred. No one else is allowed in there. This is her haven. Her work, she says, leaves her relaxed and at peace with the world.
And what a world she lives in. She says: "I love my country. It's just about the tiniest island in the Mediterranean, between Sicily and Libya. We have beautiful weather and the people are happy and hospitable." Judith's husband died many years ago. She has filled her time not only with making beautiful jewellery (as shown), but also with being a Lions member, helping her 7-year-old grandson with his piano lessons, and teaching English. She also travels when finances allow. She has been to China, Australia, Spain, Germany (in fact, she's going to Berlin to hear Yundi Li in April). Italy is a favorite place because it's so near, and most Maltese , Judith included, can speak the language. In Malta they are bilingual (it's in the constitution - English and Maltese) and it's compulsory to learn another 2 languages at school.
Judith's travels are actually what inspires her. She loves travelling, and every time she goes to a different country, she looks for stones, pearls or jewellery to get ideas from. She starts with an idea and ends with a different result because halfway through,
she often changes tracks. Her favorite materials are a mix of pearls and semi-precious gemstones because the contrast gives a lovely result. She also adds in Swarovski crystal, especially with pearls and amethyst. She tries not to skimp on the price of clasps, because -- she says -- (and I agree!) a cheap clasp can ruin the whole picture.
I asked Judith what her hopes and dreams were for the future, and she gave a very poignant answer that I think many of us can relate to: "I don't look so much to the future. I take life day by day -- and then, que sera, sera. So many plans that my husband and I made fell by the wayside."
I so wish I could 'drop in' on Judith and get to know her better. She seems like a very special person -- and obviously, her work is gorgeous. And so is Malta. Check it out --
Until next time,