When asked, "Why would I purchase something handmade from your son whether it be from his etsy shop, facebook page, at a craft show, or in person when there are so many other choices out there?
The above picture, in short, simplifies the answer! Everybody is different and unique. No two people are exactly the same. No one is perfect! We are all gloriously perfectly imperfect!
I have been re-taught by others and by Danny himself, to focus on the positive. When I watch my son stringing beads and/or creating, he defines perfection in its highest form possible! Danny can achieve anything he sets his mind to, of miraculous proportions, if the desire is present. Many professionals and individuals look at my son and see nothing but "severe". I am told to place him in a full blown institution because "there would be no group home that would accept him due his high level of need. The extent of the negative is so horrid, I try not to focus on it. Danny is what makes our shop separate & apart from every other shop. His hands either made each piece or had a part in the creation of the piece. He is what makes the jewelry so unique. Each piece of jewelry is imperfect perfection or perfectly imperfect! Either way - it means the same to me!
Danny fulfills his own inner need to create things of beauty with his hands because he utters a particular squeal of delight when he hands me each completed string of beads. There is nothing that fills my heart more, than when I hear his happy noises! Many professionals and published materials on autism note that emotions are not able to be felt with the multiple medical diagnosis that Danny has. However, quite the opposite is true. Danny experiences and feels extreme pleasure while he creates!
Fast forward after learning Danny's high preference to create jewelry and string beads came to be (another longgg blog entry)...
My son can and loves to create, string beads and make jewelry.
I have been asked, "Does he really do this?"
My answer is fast for the nega-thinkers, "Yes, he can."
FYI, I take pictures of him beading and making one-of-a-kind pieces for our own purpose ( "What did Danny do today? mm-dd-13)!
Making jewelry by beading and hand stringing centers Danny.
He can create ooak jewelry.
Danny prefers certain beads and he is extremely picky with the beads he will use. There are some days he simply refuses to create because the beads are non-preferred. Simply stated, he doesn't like cheap beads.
Given a choice, he chooses faceted beads vs. non faceted. The price difference for faceted beads is obviously higher because it takes much more (whether it be by hand or by machinery) to create precise cuts in each bead. A faceted bead increases the refractive index (shine). The higher the refractive index the more pleasing to the eye.
When given a choice of faceted shapes: bicone or round, Danny always chooses the faceted rounds because there are more facets/cuts in the rounds [higher flashes of light to the eye are pleasing] vs. bicones. The price difference between Swarovski crystal rounds vs. bicones rounds is astoundingly higher.
When given a choice of different types of crystal (being the same shape), Danny will always choose Swarovski crystal (vs. Czech or Chinese). Swarovski crystals are the heaviest of crystals and are known as leaded crystal beads. Why would Danny choose a leaded crystal bead? Swarovski crystals (lead crystal beads have a high percentage of lead oxide in the glass formula which increases the refractive index (shine)!
When given a choice of faux or the "real thing", Danny not only chooses the "real thing" but always the higher grade (AAA vs a lower grade). I think he has an inner sense of knowing. He loves rubies, emeralds, carnelian (orange being his favorite color), labradorite and so many more.
Danny and helping him to survive in this world centers me.
I can help prepare him for his future by always keeping his desired preferences forefront in his life. I must "listen, observe, and allow Danny to be Danny". When I do this correctly, I can make best educated guesses for him. The things I can help with are:
-Marketing: by getting his pieces out there via pictures and descriptions using social media (facebook business page, etsy shop, personal facebook page, twitter). It is quite obvious that I am also holding him back by the amount of backup inventory because each piece awaits pictures, descriptions, and listing. I am also his caregiver. For example, his medical care requires a huge amount of my time.
-Wholesale supply: (both cost effective and high quality) I also help him by taking him to all the big bead shows in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware and some day, New York.
I have created a federal tax identification number and am working on finding physical locations to sell his pieces.
As I have been to many bead shows, Danny and I walk up and down the aisles noting the huge crowd of handmade artists. I consider Danny and I being in a different league - all our own, planet . I am proud of everything we have gone through and continue to do, on a day by day basis. It is imperative that he continues to find joy in his "creative work" and I find joy in "helping him make his own choices in his life" and letting Danny be Danny!
Beading/stringing seems to relax his mind. It allows him to focus his energy on things of beauty and think nothing but happy positive thoughts. I've been asked numerous times, "How do you know all this when he can't speak, or understand what is being said to him?"
My answer is short and to the point, "He makes happy noises."
Truth be told, on the days that he beads, there is less anti-anxiety medication needed.
Danny is my fuel for living.
What makes things work has been keeping Danny's preferences forefront, looking for the positives, at what he "can do" vs. can't.
In all honesty, this has taken me years to understand, let alone learn!
Life is so much easier focusing on the "can-do's" vs the "can't s"!
Don't ya think?
Trying to scatter kindness along the way,
Sue and Danny xox