I think most metalsmiths share this same dilemma. We love working with metal, designing and creating pieces, choosing the right design for a stone (or the right stone for a design), we labour over them, holding them close to our hearts. And then... either we have an ever growing collection and an ever dwindling bank account, labelling ourselves as hobbyists, or we try to make some money out of this, perhaps even a living. Which means letting go of our creations.
Sometimes, selling or giving away a piece feels right, as though it is going to its rightful owners. Stock pieces are always easier, since we have made that same design several times and we know we can always make it again someday. At other times, not so much. Perhaps it is that special stone that sings to us or a piece that is significant. However, it is the nature of our trade.
There are, however, pieces that I regret selling or giving away (although I would never say it to the person who got it!). For me, it was the very first ring I ever made and the first time I worked with metal. Yes, I was foolish enough to sell that one, at the very first show I did. It was an interesting forged ring, but, even more, it was when I found out just how much I loved working with metal and experimenting with shapes and hammers. I just hope it is loved, where ever it is now.
I also recently put a pretty emotional piece up for sale. You can read the story here. I confess I am glad it hasn't sold yet. But I hope that it will, someday, and it will be worn and loved. As an artist, I have to let go of my work. I also must recognize that the most emotional pieces are also the ones with the most expression.