Featured Artisan Spotlight: Bob Cummins, JewelryandRosaries
Posted by ArtFireContent on 05/18/2011 at 10:26:45
Please start by telling us a little about yourself and your studio.
First, I do not consider myself an artist. When I look at all the “trendy” jewelry design, I see chaos. I am not knocking those artists; it’s just not for me. I make traditional dress-up jewelry. A great number of my designs can be worn for weddings, formals, and cocktail parties or just because you’re you.
I am a retired registered nurse. I served in the United States Army as a Drill Sgt and Tank Commander. I have had jobs as a truck driver, commercial fisherman, a restaurant manager and I owned and operated an oilfield service company. I also owned and operated a Family Practice medical clinic and was a contract Registered Nurse for eighteen years.
I have been making rosaries and jewelry for nine years. I started out in Metairie, Louisiana making high-end rosaries and jewelry during a healthy economy. I was very successful until the onset of Katrina. Sales plummeted of course; I decided that I would have to make some changes. I began copying my own high end designs with less expensive findings. The untrained eye could not tell the difference. A $200 rosary redesigned became $60 in a mid level price and $35 in an affordable tier. From Swarovski leaded crystals from Austria, glass pearls from Japan, Celestial crystals from China, and glass beads from the Czech Republic my designs became reborn. I have also refitted all of my jewelry designs in a similar fashion. I must be honest; I don’t consider myself an artist. That being said, women love my jewelry and Catholics always send me emails and letters of appreciation for my rosary designs. All of my designs are 100% original and made by my hands.
If there's one thing that defines you, what is it?
Let’s see one thing that defines me; I was brought up to keep my word, keep my honor and to always do the best at whatever I chose.
What role does your family play in your art?
I have two daughters born in March, needless to say they have quite a bit of Aquamarine jewelry.
Where do you live and what is it like?
I live in Arnaudville, Louisiana near the Teche bayou. There are magnificent oak trees just full of moss. This area is just full of artist (there’s that word again). It's just happenstance that I live here.
Where did you learn your medium?
When I turned fifty-three I felt like I would need a hobby in preparation for retirement. I don’t know why I chose rosaries. I just started ordering parts. I remember sitting at the kitchen table trying to make those eye pins and not being able to. I tried for a month without success. I almost gave up, but then I thought maybe some prayers would help. A few days later it just all came together. I have terrible arthritis from injuries in the past. My hands hurt most of all. I can tell you this: I don’t have any pain in my hands when making rosaries. The jewelry came about because my customers (mostly women) kept asking me to make jewelry for them; they liked my rosary designs so much. I don’t know where this talent comes from, I always considered myself to be hard-working but without a creative bone in my body. And now I am a beadaholic.
What are your goals with your ArtFire studio?
My goal for my ArtFire studio is to sell my designs as inexpensively as I can, after all this is a hobby not a business. I recently had a booth at the Holiday Gift Fair where I displayed about two hundred rosary and jewelry designs at a cost-level pricing. I collected more money than the rest of the booths put together. I sure had fun interacting with all those women. As a matter of fact that is how I learned about ArtFire.