Two From The Vault

So, today I was talking metal smithing with a co-worker who was genuinely interested in a piece I’d made and was wearing.  He was asking all kinds of questions and was absolutely amazed that I’d made the piece of jewelry I was wearing.   When he handed the piece back to me, saying “that is an incredibly beautiful piece of work!” I burst out laughing.  He looked puzzled.  I would have, too, in his shoes.  I thanked him and then told him a bit of back story about the N.  Below is the reason I was laughing.

In the email below, I was explaining to the N about the way to turn a propane/oxygen torch on and off.  We call it P.O.O.P.  It stands for Propane-Oxygen, Oxygen-Propane.  To turn it on, the propane is turned on and then the oxygen is added.  To turn it off, the oxygen is turned off first and then the propane.  P.O.O.P.

Read his delightful response.  This was a man, who just a month earlier, was telling “everyone” he was dating a “well-known” metal smith. This was the man who praised my work to the skies.   You’ll have to read from the bottom upwards – my initial email is below his reply.  I’d written it specifically because he’d asked me the night before to email him how to use this type of torch.

I know where this reply comes from, but the emotional part of me just can’t seem to wrap my brain around it.  It’s not logical, it’s not a rational reply, it’s not got anything to do with the use of the torch.  The acronym is one that’s common to jewelers and we’d talked about it over the phone.  This was an effort to devalue me.  This came through four days after I’d gone to volunteer at a concert that was promoted by a friend.  The N couldn’t get hold of me that night and every email from him after that point was either an attempt to control or devalue me in some fashion.  From July 16th forward, nothing nice came out of his mouth again.

Original Message ——–

Subject: RE: P.O.O.P.
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 19:09:06 +0000
From: N’s Name <N’s email>
To: ‘Me’ <my email>

and they say you can’t shine shit

From: Me [mailto:my email]
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 3:05 PM
To: N’s Name
Subject: P.O.O.P.

It’s the first thing you learn when using mondo torches.  It’s the turn on and off process.   


You get it wrong you’re gonna hear a loud bang and see a fireball.  

Wowee Zowee!

I was so taken aback by his reply that I couldn’t respond to it.  “And they say you can’t shine shit.”  I think that about says it, doesn’t it?  You can’t shine shit.  He must have been looking in a REAL mirror when he said it.

He asked, just prior to the email above,  to see a photo of a piece I’d made and lost while wearing it.  It was a piece that won an award and I was heartsick at losing it. I linked him to my jewelry blog where I show photos of the process for students.  I’d mentioned that I’d bought a new flexshaft (it’s a tool used by jewelers) in a phone conversation the night before and that I was mourning the fact that I couldn’t afford a quick change handpiece because it was just too expensive right now. It was an aside.  Just a mention, not a bitch and moan.  Look how it translated to him – look at the projection.  He makes certain I read the intended insult by putting it in all caps, thereby “yelling” it at me in email.
——– Original Message ——–

Subject: RE: when you have time
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 18:56:06 +0000
From: N’s Name <N’s email>
To: ‘Me’ <my email>


From: Me [mailto:my email]
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 2:02 PM
To: N’s Name
Subject: when you have time

if you want to see the anatomy of  that piece of  jewelry from beginning to end (well, almost end – because I forgot to give Erin my camera to photograph me setting the stone) go here: (website)

I have so much of this crap in my email that I may just turn it into a book.  I’m saving it simply so I can re-read on occasion to remind myself what to look for.  If any of this helps someone else, then I’m happy.  If not, it certainly helps me to heal and deal.


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