The old wisdom goes that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

There’s a few different ways of interpreting that, but by far my favourite is that others can see beauty in us that we struggle to perceive for ourselves.

This weekend was mostly spent in a cold and dim shed in the garden. A thoroughly impractical workshop that’s sweltering in the summer and freezing in winter. However I needed to make use of it despite the temperature and the rain because Christmas is coming, and my goose has utterly failed to get fat. So many people close to me will be getting hand crafted gifts this year. And in this case, that means metalwork (or more accurately silversmithing).

I ran an extension reel out the kitchen window which meant I was able to plug in a small heater and a precariously balanced light, so whilst not exactly comfortable, I could spend a few hours in there without dying of exposure.

Truly I expect this photo to rival Alberto Korda’s portrait of Che Guevara

Crafting is a fascinating microcosm of life. Beginning with overconfidence and clumsiness, too much book learning and not enough experience to make your hands do what they’re supposed to. Gradually giving way to the inarguable tutelage of physical experience. Instinctively you get better at doing things the “right” way. Until you find yourself making bold, confident strikes that achieve more than half an hour of cautious tapping.

And at the end of the weekend, I had achieved… almost nothing. I have precisely zero gifts completed, a stiff shoulder and some fascinatingly shaped pieces of scrap. Actually that’s not quite true. I had mentioned to a couple of people what I’d planned for the weekend and they responded with rather more enthusiasm than I’d expected.

I’m not sure quite what it was that intrigued them, the skillful manipulation, the focused intent, maybe just that I look damn sexy in a woolly jumper. But I guess that’s kind of my point. on some level it doesn’t matter, what I did had an effect whether I intended it or not.

And it kind of makes my mind boggle to think of all the possibilities that are out there, how many brilliant qualities people have that they aren’t really even aware of?