Do What You Love
I spent so many years breaking myself working at jobs I didn't really like. Places that always expected more, no matter how much you gave them, and never treated you with respect, or like an individual. Being stuck in the rat race, working to live, diminished the creative part of me. It was crushing, and soul-destroying.
I vowed never to go back to the mainstream world of work, and never to work for someone else.
I began to pursue my creative interests, and quickly came upon polymer clay as a medium. I was instantly hooked and spent every moment I could absorbing tutorials, and honing my skills.
I was mesmerised by how the clay moved and sounded when being rolled or cut, and found creating colour blends hypnotic. When I discovered that I could add metal leaf, mica powder and glitter, my love for the craft deepened.
Very quickly I found I had generated a decent sized inventory, and I began to trade at the South Molton Country Pannier Market every Thursday. At first I tried to respond to what I thought people wanted from me, but as I grew in confidence, so too did my emerging brand identity. That identity is all about embracing and expressing your uniqueness, which became more important to me than ever after realising I was autistic and coming to fully embrace, and be proud of that identity.
I pride myself on making every piece of jewellery I produce, a totally original, one-of-a-kind. I don't look at what other artists and designers are doing, and I don't keep up with the latest trends, I create jewellery my way, so that my customers can truly express themselves, their way.
I find my customers respond really well to the quirky and original styles, and the vibrant colours of my work. They are always thrilled at finding something they have never seen before.
It's very hard to pick stand-out pieces, as I am totally in love with all of my creations.
My Suncatcher necklaces are something I'm truly proud of, so much so that I kept the first one I ever made. These magical pieces encapsulate several of my passions - my polymer clay beads, my love of nature in the natural wooden bar from which the beads hang, and often, my love of re-purposing old or forgotten objects in the form of old keys, cogs or other trinkets. To me, these necklaces have a mysterious, other-worldly feeling to them.
Another style that I am joyful when I get to make, are the polymer clay Raven skulls, that I paint with sugar-skull designs. They seem to take on a personality and a life of their own when I create them.
I love to picture the being worn by a wild-woman, or a priestess leading her coven in a ritual. These earrings have a real feeling of daring and power to them.
One of my favourite beads to make, are the lentil swirl beads, these are the epitome of one-of-a-kind. Truly no two are the same, you couldn't make an identical pair if you tried.
They are made by rolling out balls of clay and then adding slices of the clay canes to the surface, they are then rotated under a clear acrylic block until the desired pattern forms. Each bead requires between 50 and 150 rotations to complete. To say the process is fascinating is an understatement. The finished beads are truly beautiful.
I could go on for weeks about the joy I find in each and every bead, and piece of jewellery I make. Needless to say every creation is infused with love, passion and a dash of whimsy, and I truly hope my customers feel the same emotions when they receive their purchases.
If I were to give you one piece of advice, it would be to follow your passion, you never know where it might lead you!