Many of you all have asked how you can help, what sorts of supplies are needed.
I will be going back to India to teach soldering and wax working techniques to very vulnerable and at risk population of girls. These girls are employed in a successful program that enables for them to empower themselves and earn a decent living through jewelry.
I’m raising money for supplies and expenses, and asking for tool donations, specifically focusing on soldering tools and equipment.
The list of tools is below. If you have some extra tools sitting around your studio that you’d like to donate, please contact me.
If you’d like to make a monetary donation, or an ongoing monthly donation to support our work, the link is to your right, or listed below:
The girls and I thank you in advance for your amazing support of my work in India. Thank you!
Jewelry Tool Wish List
· soldering picks
· soldering tweezers
· soldering pads
· charcoal blocks
· cross locking tweezers with heat pad
· straight soldering tweezers with heat pad
· silver sheet solder-ez, medium, hard
· citric acid powder
· boric acid powder
· 3rd hand
· stainless steel binding wire
· pickle pot
· silver, copper wire-20 gauge for practicing
· copper, silver sheet for practicing
· Baking soda
· Torches and regulator
· Or-donation for buying a torch in India (US torches have the wrong fitting for the gas tanks)
· Denatured alcohol
· Paste flux
· Battern’s flux
· 000 fine sable paintbrushes for flux
· Glass jars with lid to make flux
· Coffee cup warmer for warming pickle
Hand Tools and Design
· Saw Frames
· Saw Blades (3/0 ish are best but anything goes)
o Chain nose
o Flat nose
o Round nose
o Forming pliers
o Cutting pliers
· Pliers: with protective plastic
· ESCAPEMENT FILES
· Needles Files – All shapes
· Flat Files coarse, med and fine
· Half round files, med and fine
· Digital calipers
· Flush cutters
· Center punches
· Chasing Hammers
· Rawhide/deadblow hammers
· Goldsmithing hammers
· Bench pins
· Riveting hammers
· C Clamps
· Bench blocks (steel)
· Hand drills
· Cutting shears
· Joyce Chen scissors
· Safety glasses OR Reading glasses OR optivisors
· Mandrel – ring
· Mandrel –Round bracelet
· Harbor Freight Dapping Set (fine for us for now)
· File Cleaner
· New brass brushes
· Steel shot for tumbler
· Hand vise/clamps
· Bench vise
· Pin vise
· Anything low tech (besides flexshaft bits)
· Eye protection
· Templates – All shapes
· Sharpies-black-fine & extra fine
· Rubber cement
· Dust Masks
· Rubber gloves
· Forming stakes
· Forming hammers
· Disc Cutters (pref. one that clamps down)
· Jewelry Books: Technical or Aesthetic but the more photos/diagrams the better
· Lark Books-500 series
· Tim McCreight book
· Jeweler’s Bench Reference
· Joanna Gollberg’s book on cold connections
· Casting books
· Oppi Untract’s book
· Hekki Seppa’s book
· Draw plate (round)
· Draw tongs
· Ingot mold for casting wire and sheet
· Drill bit gauges (large and small)
· B&S gauges
· Hand and digital calipers
· 6” rulers with inches and millimeters, see through, if possible
· Flexshaft-220 power
· Drill bits!!!! (between 1.00 mm and up)
· Burs - (All kinds but think texturing: ball of all sizes, hart, diamond
· Polishing wheels/wire wheels
· Mandrels: screw top/split shank
· Mizzy wheels (file modification and texturing)
· End brushes
· Steel brushes/brass brushes (mounted)
· Wax: green/purple
· Wax files
· Wax sawblades
· Dental tools
· Wax pen
· Hydraulic press and jack
· Steel and plexiglass for making dies
· Rubber and accessories to go with hydraulic press
· Mesh stainless steel screen for making sifters-200, 400, 600
· Enameling fork
· Large screens to put the trivets on
· All other enameling supplies-silver and gold foil, glass brushes, cloisonné wire, enameling tweezers, fine paintbrushes, etc.
Why hello, FL! Really looking forward to working with Made by Survivors this week. They do great work training girls in jewelry that have been rescued from human trafficking. Check them out here: www.madebysurvivors.com
Since I’ve been back in the US and wrapped up the project with the old NGO, I’ve been busy planning my next adventure in India.
With a profound clarity, I know I am to return to India to continue my work in income generation projects with the poor and at risk women and girls of India. It is my greatest joy and feels like the very best work I’ve ever done.
To this end, I’ve been working hard, raising money, speaking about my work in India, gathering tool donations, looking for Indian NGO’s to partner with, designing a new line to take back, working out technical issues with tools, building tools, doing CAD drawings, looking for a work Visa, planning my next project.
Up until today, it was looking like I was going to start my own charity, which is incredibly difficult to do in India, but this afternoon, a conversation with an NGO has led to a new possibility.
Stay tuned for some big news, coming soon.
Sending love to India. Praying that I will return soon.
As an American, I believe that all people are equal, no matter their religion, race, or sexual preference. I don’t really care the color of your skin, because, inside, our blood is all the same. Furthermore, I believe that we are ALL god’s children. I found myself saying this over and over again to the Catholic nuns in India, whenever, I had to defend the point that we are ALL equal.
This belief system makes me have friends from all walks of life, all religions, all races, all sexual preferences. My tribe is a multi-hued tribe of many colors, and to me, it is beautiful.
I am immensely curious about life, very adventurous, open to seeing and trying many things. In India, I wanted to try everything, see everything. I wanted to soak in and absorb as much culture as I could. All of it was new, and all of it was incredible and fascinating to me. No matter what I did, it was the first time I was doing it in India, often the first time I had ever experienced such a thing, and I LOVED all of it!
When a friend invited me to attend the Gay Pride Parade in Bangalore, I immediately jumped at the chance. What would a gay pride parade be like in a very closeted society like India? Could one be openly gay in India? I wanted to attend the parade to answer these questions for myself, and I wanted to walk in the parade in support of my friend.
When I accepted my friend’s invitation to attend, I didn’t know that this parade would become such a significant turning point for me. There was a HUGE internal shift inside me that day, a letting go of a lot of fear, an immense freedom like I had never experienced before out in public in India, a cementing of a friendship that flowered and bloomed into one of the greatest blessings that India gave me, and a meeting of two men that are now the dearest of friends, two more brothers that were added to my multi-hued tribe.
At the time of this parade, I was living in a street home for children, with 10 girls, aged 14-15, two Catholic nuns, and a house girl. My bedroom was located over a bar, I lived in a maybe not so nice, mixed neighborhood of income levels and religions, my friends were forbidden to come visit me, I was not allowed to talk to the neighbors, I was to keep a very low profile in the neighborhood, my every move was being spied upon by the sisters and reported back to the head sister and the head of my NGO, my NGO was barely speaking to me, my internet connection was sketchy, at best, so I had very little contact with my family and friends back in the west, so I felt like I had very little support, I was being given a really really hard time about how I practiced my religion and what I was doing with my project by the head sister where I was living, and I was LOCKED INSIDE the house ALL DAY, with a locked metal gate over the entrance. I was allowed to go out during the day, but I had a 9PM CURFEW. The project was falling apart, I kept picking up the pieces and putting them back together, I was stressed, and I had no freedom and no outlet to escape from the reality of my life, living among the poor. It was a very hard and lonely time. I was isolated, and I felt really alone in India with my falling apart project.
Accepting my friend’s invitation to attend the Gay Pride Parade was risky. I was posing as a “good” Catholic married woman, doing social work in India. I dressed very conservatively in Indian clothing, I tried to be humble and modest, to set a good moral example for the girls. The sisters were looking for ANY excuse to discredit me and blow up my project. I had unknowingly made mistakes, I was so misunderstood by the sisters because we simply didn’t understand each others’ cultures fully. I was already suspected by the sisters of being a Hindu, posing as a Catholic. I didn’t know the sisters’ personal views on homosexuality, but I strongly suspected that the Catholic church in India thought it was morally wrong. If the sisters found out that I had attended the Gay Pride Parade, things could go very very badly for me. I decided to attend anyway.
Meeting my friend to attend the parade was going to be a challenge. How would I escape the street home for girls, meet my male, non-Catholic friend, attend the parade, pray that I would not be photographed, filmed on camera for the local news, recognized by anyone I knew, or worse, arrested, or hurt in some way if something with the parade went terribly wrong, and make it back in time for my 9pm curfew, without the sisters suspecting what I had gone to do? These were my fears as I pondered my escape.
My friend had his own challenges with attending the parade. He was out to his family, and he was out to me, but he wasn’t out at work, he was somewhat new to Bangalore, and not really involved in the local gay community. He couldn’t simply walk out the door and tell his family he was attending the gay pride parade. Being gay in India is very difficult, it is VERY different than being gay in the West. He too needed an escape plan.
Alone, we thought and pondered our escape. I sat with my fear about attending. I imagine that my friend had his own hopes for the day and his own internal reservations. We didn’t speak of these things as we texted back and forth making plans to meet, each one of us coming up with an explanation as to why we needed to be outside on a Sunday afternoon, meeting an unlikely friend of the opposite sex.
In the rickshaw, on the way to the parade, my friend asked me, “Where did you tell the sisters you were going?”
“Mass’, I said, ‘I told them that I was meeting a female friend that was curious about attending Catholic church and wanted to attend mass with me. I wanted to take her to one of the big churches on MG Road, so that’s why I needed to go outside on Sunday when I should be attending mass with the sisters.”
“Quick, help me look for a Catholic church on MG Road. I need to know the name of the church and what time mass is, in case the sisters ask me details when I return this evening.” I said, as I leaned out the rickshaw, looking for the answer to my lie.
Spotting St. Mark’s Church with a huge banner with the mass times posted on the wall out front, I made a mental note of the mass time and we settled back into the rickshaw.
(Later, we would discover that St. Mark’s was NOT a Catholic church, and I would get a huge amount of grief for attending a NON CATHOLIC mass. In the US, the division lines between the different kinds of Christianity are a little more gray in color. Same church, different pew. In India, if you are Catholic, you are CATHOLIC, all other forms of Christianity are viewed as FUNDAMENTALIST, and are DANGEROUS and WRONG.)
Turning to my friend, I asked, “Did you tell your mom you were attending the parade?”
“No, he said, ‘I told her I was going to Spanish class. I decided to skip Spanish class. If I had gone today, we would have missed too much of the parade.”
My friend and I looked at each other and laughed. I couldn’t believe he had skipped Spanish class. He NEVER misses class, for anything. He couldn’t believe that I was on my way to the Gay Pride parade and I had just told 2 Catholic nuns that I was going to MASS!
To this day, whenever we want to do something even remotely naughty, our code word for it is “Attending mass”. We text each other and ask, “Shall we attend mass today?”
We laughed and laughed as we rode in that rickshaw on our way to the Gay Pride Parade. I was giddy with my first taste of freedom. I could only imagine what my friend must have been feeling, on his way to walk in his first Gay Pride Parade, to be fully out in public for the first time, in a very closeted, very conservative India.
(Please stay tuned for the next part of this story)