Tuesday, November 13, 2018


Last Saturday morning, I woke up and immediately knew it was time to retire from Atelier Ivaan.  I'd been thinking about it, on and off, for the better part of a year, wondering when the right time was, wondering how I'd know when the time had come, but on the morning of Saturday, November 10th, 2018, I just knew.

I got up, worked all day in the shop, and had a great day.  Clients I really like came by, and it was fun talking with them.  But at the end of the day I hadn't changed my mind, so I went to the computer and typed a letter to send out to clients and friends of Atelier Ivaan.  I told them I wouldn't be taking on any custom orders after November 30th, and that I'd remain open till December 31st, but as of January 1st, 2019, the cash register would  be slammed forever shut - and then I clicked Send.

Next morning I woke up to a barrage of reply emails - so many that I had an anxiety attack.   But it was Remembrance Day, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, and I was going to meet my brother Hamish at the Cenotaph for the ceremony, so I tried not to read too many emails before I left.

When I came home, there were even more emails.  Some said, "What?  Are you sick or something?" Others said, "Impossible!  I wave to Ivaan every time I go by your store!"  Lots more said, "Okay, do what you must, but here's what I'm ordering"  (followed by a long list of items).

One said:

I hope this next adventure is full of everything that makes you happy.
Best always,

Another said:

I can't believe you are closing down the store!  Actually, I totally can, I just don't want to believe it.
Just a selfish bit of wishful thinking that your store and Ivaan's work would always be there.
You've done such an amazing job of continuing to share his legacy with so much love and dedication.
You are still my hero......
.....What are you planning on for your next act?
Well, that pretty much had me crying, because I find it hard to imagine I'm anyone's hero.  Hard working? Yes, I'll cop to that. Generous?  I try hard to be.  But Alice is one of the most remarkable women I know, heroic in every way, and I value her friendship and love her to bits.

Then I opened this one from a friend with a special connection to the Atelier, as she co-curated a massive retrospective of Ivaan's work in 2008 and 2009 and knows the pieces almost as well as I do:

Well, I opened the news bulletin. And while it's hard to imagine the Atelier wrapping up,I know you have so many other interests and talents that make this the right move for you. You created something amazing to honour Ivaan, and the book and website and all the beautiful jewellery will live on long after us..... 
....All good things for the future,

This morning I was downtown getting started on a bunch of jewellery orders when I received this email message from our friend Helen.
Helen is one of the "Czech Chicks", a group of talented, beautiful, fun-loving women who have known each other for decades, wear Ivaan's work proudly, and are among his most ardent fans.  Helen is tiny, impossibly chic, and so vivacious and full of life that nothing stops her.  She looks as glamorous as a movie star from the 1950s.  She's a force of nature.
I waited to read her email till I got home.  Just as well, because I needed a handkerchief.  Here's what she wrote:

Dear Eya,
Thank you for your sad "happy" news.
Sad as your love story  comes  to the end  - and  happy  that  there
is new beginning - more time in your life for yourself !
I would love to come, just  to  give you  hug  and see you......
Ivaan's  rings which  I have for many years, never removing  from my
finger, his legendary "Heart", which I  wear on the black robe, is always
my best  choice. There is "Immortality" in his designs .
He was so special!  And you Eya  -  you made  Ivaan immortal!
Your love for him and spreading his legacy all over .
Please be in touch.  With  love and many thanks.  
                                                                            from Helen  

Well, you can just imagine how I felt when I received that.  I "made Ivaan immortal."
I think it was the sweetest thing I've ever read.  Thank you, Helen.  Ivaan thanks you too.

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