I began making simple strand beaded necklaces when I was 9 years old and with every purchase of beads and string my abilities began to evolve and continue to do so everyday.
As a child I would always troll around my fathers tools and supplies and one day I came across a spool of plain steel wire. I took that wire and of course was asked later where it was when my father needed it. Fortunately he supported my curious and creative nature and let me keep the spool while he bought another roll. I coiled, wrapped, bent and shaped pieces of that wire to see what I could do that would be more challenging than just stringing. Eventually I learned of sterling silver wire and by the time I was 14 my mother was taking me to the bead store every week to buy me half and whole ounces of 22 gauge sterling silver. At 16 I was making earrings and necklaces for friends and family and being encouraged to invest myself into my creativity so that I could make a business of it one day. Unfortunately I didn't have enough confidence in myself and those encouraging words would fall to the way side. I stopped making jewelry for a few years and at 20, I began to dabble with wire again. I began spending a lot of time reading Bead & Button magazine as well as other jewelry making magazines and discovered that 22 gauge sterling silver wire was a fraction of the gauges I could use to create with. I learned of lampwork, Czech glass and my all time favorite jewelry material, semi precious beads and stones.
So here I am today. About a year ago I began hammering wire and sanding it and working around the lack of a torch and kiln, among other desired jewelry tools. I find that the more challenging a piece is for me to make without soldering it, the more invested I become in working without those tools. Challenge is something I grow from and my pieces reflect that. I take pride in making pieces that are sturdy and strong while being feminine and wearable. Sterling silver is my all time favorite jewelry metal. I feel that it reflects my nature........beautifully simple.
I did find it hard to begin listing my work on Etsy and selling it to friends. I have this attachment to a piece when I make it. It is a part of me, a part of what goes on in my head and a piece of my personality. I have however, found it easier to let go when I realized the joy that comes with seeing or hearing of a customer's excitement and satisfaction when they receive a pair of my earrings or one of my necklaces. I enjoy knowing that I made something that only that person has. It makes us both feel special!
One piece of advice I have held to heart is making a "brand" for myself when it comes to my jewelry. I struggled with this, thinking that everything has to have the same theme or use of beads or "style" so to speak. While a lot of my work right now is focused on hammering, I consider my brand ever changing and broad with expression. I don't want to pigeon hole my creativity to a "style" but rather open it up to possibilities because that is the blessing of creativity and passion......expression!
I have wasted some time following a path that didn't feed my creative nature and I am now working toward staying on the path that indulges it. Life is to short to not do what you dream of and love. God has given each of us a gift, it is sad to think that any of us would waste his gift simply because we don't think we can accomplish something or because we never give second thought to the possibilities. A friend once told me that God has given us dreams for a reason, he wants us to be happy by achieving those dreams. A comforting and exciting outlook that I hold onto everyday now!
and take care of yourself so you can take care of others.