I recently made a ring. I was pretty happy with it with the exception of a couple of problems I had around the bezel. This particular ring was pretty much just turquoise with a little silver to hold it to your hand. It was a particularly nice piece of turquoise, Kingman High Blue with some sparkle to the pyrite. It was the first one I've cut and polished by myself, I even gave it a name but that's a whole other blog post.
I wore it around for a while and figured I would stretch it somewhat in order to make it a little more comfortable. I put it on the stretcher and cranked it a couple times before hearing the pop. It wasn't the good kind of pop but I went ahead and kept stretching a bit, hoping whatever just happened wasn't as bad as it sounded. Well, turns out it was pretty bad. Not only had I pulled the bezel from the base, I had cracked my favorite piece of turquoise.
The problem is, when you stretch a ring its going to put pressure on the weakest point. If you have a shank attached to two points on base its just gonna break stuff if you pull on it wrong. I consider myself fairly mechanically minded and really should have thought that through.
Time and again in this journey of craftsmanship I've botched something up and lost countless hours of work and effort. More than a few projects have made their way into the scrap bin. It doesn't take much of a loss in concentration to have something get away from you. Sometimes this business is a lot about working around an error and having those happy accidents shape your design.
Other times, you just have to accept the failure and move on. It's tempting to get angry and give up, move on to something easier or more pragmatic. Now for the soap box moment...
I was reading a book one time and the author made a point about how he disagreed with bonus structures rewarding success in business. What tends to happen is that the employee tends to focus efforts on achieving the bonus. In some cases, especially in the upper management circles, these efforts can be self serving and not necessarily in the best interest of the company. Decision makers are less willing to take risks and try new ideas because of the fear of monetary loss. Creativity and innovation are stifled in favor of personal ambition and greed.
Even worse, socially speaking, we are stigmatizing failure. If you need any proof of this, go to YouTube and type in "fail". There's literally a lifetimes worth of funny fail videos. Failure is bad and we take a dismissive attitude towards those failures.
To wrap up my point, we need to learn to fail and learn to fail with grace. We need to take a few big risks to see the big rewards. What if Nicola Tesla or Thomas Edison would have given up and settled in to binging on YouTube videos? Simply put, we wouldn't be where we are today without those pioneers who combined grit, determination and an understanding of failure and its place in ultimate success.
I'm not very good at failure, I don't like doing it. It is painful and uncomfortable. But I learn the most when I don't succeed if I pick myself back up and keep trying different ways and better ways. As for my rings, I made some improvements, the new ones are coming out much better now. Also, I will definitely think real carefully next time I go to stretch something metal.