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Orchid stories

Hi all, I've been surprised at how little response I've had to my
request for stories about how Orchid makes a difference in your

Hi Suzanne, I’m kind of surprised myself I hadn’t responded to this
question. I can think of all kinds of little ways that participation
in the Orchid community has benefited me. Certainly more ways than I
can remember. I wasn’t able to come up with anything earth-shattering
or anecdotally amusing. But it bothered me a little that I wasn’t
able to come up with something, considering how near-and-dear Orchid
is to me.

Finally it occurred to me! It’s not the mechanical or tangible
result that makes Orchid so valuable to me… it’s the people! For
once in my life I feel “connected” with people of like minds and
spirits. For years I toiled in relative isolation… a raft adrift in
a sea of people who don’t understand or care about these things we
do. The friendships and acquaintances I’ve made through the Orchid
community have given my life an added richness that cannot be

I have benefited tangibly and technically through Orchid and the
resulting relationships. It was a little tweak here, feedback on a
tool purchase there… a referral to a vendor when I’m looking for
something unusual. Even visiting with a fellow Orchid member when I’m
on a trip (which is always a treat). No individual occurrence stands
head-and-shoulders above the others, but in their entirety, I have
been well blessed.

The people out there who are closer to the beginner end of the
spectrum are incredibly fortunate to have such a community and set of
resources at their disposal. I wish I had access to such a valuable
asset when I was starting out! Who knows…maybe someday we’ll have
the Jewelry Making Channel on cable TV! :wink:

All the best,
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Hi Suzanne, I just read Dave Sebaste’s post and have to say that he
says it all for me too. Daily tips that go in the mental data base
and most importantly feeling connected to others is very important
when you work alone. Also, my best friend and I have been blessed
by having met a great Orchidian that has become a dear and close
friend that I would not have had without Orchid. Thank you Hanuman!

And thanks to everyone else too! Marta in Sacramento

Suzanne, I would like to echo much of Dave said. Many of us work in a
fairly isolated setting, often spending a whole day in the studio
with no outside contact. Usually the first thing that I do in my
studio in the morning is to check the 30 - 50 eamils from Orchid.
Orchid has become a major source of communication with the world
outside my studio. Many of the names are now familiar and having
organized the Big Apple Orchid fundraising dinner last March in New
York, I can now connect a face to more than a few of the names. It is
primarily the sense of community that is most important to me. Of
course the constant open exchange of is also important.
This is a very giving community and we all benefit from

Joel Schwalb

Suzanne, Orchid is my mentor. Before I subscribed to Orchid I had
many ideas but I was like a person who jumped out of an airplane
into the ocean. I wanted to swim for shore but didn’t know the
direction to go to reach land quickly without drowning in my vast
sea of ideas.

Orchid helped me to narrow my goals. Before Orchid I wanted to make
one of a kind pieces and sell them so I could afford to make more
one of a kind pieces. Orchid is comprised of individuals who
answered my questions.

Because they were there to guide me I found out where to find shows
to apply to and find a source to have slides taken for juried shows.
I was given advice to help me choose a tent and how to keep it from
blowing away. I got help in choosing a display, making it
attractive, keeping cool at hot summer Art Fairs, how to price my
items and setup a system for accepting charge cards.

Four years ago I loaded everything up and went to my first Art Fair
to sell. Within the first hour a lady asked to see a piece, looked
it over and wrote me a check for the $98 price I had put on it. I
was completely blown away by this. Just a few weeks ago I did my
last outdoor show of the summer. There were 100 artists there and I
won Best of Show. Again I was flabbergasted!!

On my own living in the middle of Iowa without teachers or mentors
of any kind to guide me I would never have accomplished this. The
individuals on Orchid have been my only source of inspiration and
guidance except the books and periodicals I subscribe to. The
individuals on Orchid gave me confidence in that I suddenly was a
member of a group. These people had gone ahead and cut a path for me
and in their way called out to me to get up and come along. If you
crash and burn on occasion, so what, we all have. We are there to
pick you up and encourage you to try again.

Some valuable insight I gained from individuals on Orchid. I’m not
alone in feeling at times very afraid to go down to my basement shop
and try to be creative. I’m not the only one who has procrastinated
by getting hung up on buying tools or lusting after tools and
supplies I didn’t have and using that as an excuse to not get busy
and make things.

All the individuals on Orchid that helped my in a multitude of ways
have been standing behind me giving me the courage to stand up to
one person near to me who said to me that my “little jewelry hobby
was a joke”. The fact is I didn’t stand up to that person, I just
cast that comment aside as one person who didn’t understand and
forged ahead. It made all the difference to know that many many many
others just like me are out there and I have a place to go to ask
for their support and it’s unselfishly given.

The one thing that ties us all together is Orchid and it’s creator,
Hanuman. To say thanks just isn’t enough. I gladly send a donation
once or twice a year, but I always feel that isn’t enough either.

Annette Andres

Dear Susan, I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to read my
emails for weeks. So I just read the current one and saw your
question. The Orchid has been a Godsend to me. I have been making
jewelry for 27 years and I taught for 10 but it’s impossible to know
everything. There are so many “Facets” to jewelry making. (I love
saying that) :slight_smile: Also when you haven’t used a technique for
several years you start second guessing yourself. I have learned so
much through this group. It’s been an unlimited source of
for me. The people are so willing to share what they
know. It’s very heartwarming. So often artists start freaking out
if you pick up a piece of jewelry and start analyzing how it was
made. They’re sure they’re idea is going to be ripped off. Not so
with the Orchid people. They’re more than happy to go into great
detail to help you solve any problems you have. It’s been a fun way
to meet people and make friends. I miss the creativity and energy
that came from teaching. I’m alone most of the time and the Orchid
has really helped fill the void I had since I quit teaching. I
corresponded with one guy who was in Iowa and I’m in Ill. and he
drove to my house and I traded him a kiln for his steam cleaner.
Him and his wife had dinner with us. You couldn’t meet nicer
people. I now correspond with Two other girls I met on Orchid. One
is in New York. We found out she lives at a wildlife sanctuary and
I live at a Boy Scout Camp. We’re both animal freaks too. Another
girl is in my same state and We’re going to try and meet sometime.
It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for or what you’re trying to
do, someone is bound to have the you need. I’ve found
people to repair my equipment. I read how to remove rust with a
battery and a tub with water and baking soda. It has been so fun.
My husband can’t believe he never knew of this before. He’s
ecstatic when he finds something rusted almost beyond recognition.
He puts it in his “Rusterater” and voila it’s like new. It’s fun
stuff like that besides times when you think you’ve totally
annihilated something and before you had no where to turn or anyone
to ask. Now if I need anything I just ask the Orchid. :slight_smile:

PS: I enjoy your articles in Lapidary Journal. The magazine has
really blossomed in the last 10 years, it’s really excellent.

God Bless you

     Is there anyone else out there willing to share what makes
Orchid so great for them? 

I hope Im not too late in chiming in- Orchid is such an important
community, its been difficult to know where to begin

Our industry has been cloaked in secrecy, myth and folklore for
centuries. Orchid is a forum for positive change. Weve created a
safe place to be vulnerable. Questions that elsewhere may be
misconstrued as stupid are cheerfully and thoroughly answered here.
Myths (such as my erroneous Self Copyright via US Mail Myth) are
swiftly debunked,. Our folklore is enriched by Orchids
international community.

With Orchid kindness and generosity rule! Our unspoken motto
seems to b e We are here to help each other.

Being a part of this community gives me an opportunity to share some
of the blessings I receive from the amazing people I meet in the
class room. My career mission statement is : Meet each student
where they are, with absolute respect for them, help them take it to
the next level- help them thrive. I see this forum infused with this
same spirit. Orchid is made up of folks who are eager to learn and
share- the kind of folks I long to spend time with.

We seem to want to keep the standards for this forum high -a
positive, polite meeting of the minds.

I believe Orchid represents the best of what our industry has to

Orchid not only educates and informs me. It gives me great heart.

Dear Hanuman, Thank you for your vision, your willingness to take on
this enormous task and for encouraging this rich community.

Warmest Regards,
Kate Wolf