Please start by telling us a little about yourself and your studio.
I’m a proud mom of two beautiful Children, a Daughter and a Son. Married for 20 years. Amazing life with lots of happy and sad moments. I have four dogs (three labs; a mom and her two puppies), a three legged Welsh Corgie mix I rescued from the shelter, and two hilarious parrots, a beautiful Sun Conure named Sweetie and a grumpy but loveable Green Quaker Parrot named Goobers. They love my shiny creations and would gladly eat it if allowed. Instead they perch on my shoulders and I made them their own safe jewelry that is usually dangling from my hair or my outfit to keep them occupied and happy.
Through all my struggles in life I found my love for Polymer Clay Designs of all kinds and Jewelry Making. I worked as a Deputy Corrections officer and 911 Emergency Operator for almost 20 years. In 1995 I was in a tragic car accident and almost killed. Now permanently disabled after so many years of loving to work was very hard for me. I was used to helping people and loved going to work each day. I have had 14 major surgeries to date and I found that the best pain therapy is family, love and my love for my new found Art, POLYMER CLAY.
The summer of 2010 I decided to make jewelry (I have always loved jewelry and hair accessories, hair jewelry I call it), while surfing for beads I found a clay artist and her amazing clay beads IkandiClay. She introduced me to the medium of Polymer Clay and all the beautiful things you can create with it. I found after working with the clay that I was not hurting as much. Is the pain there, yes, will it ever go away or get better, sadly no, still need many surgeries, but I found a way to channel it into my art. I fell in love. I wish I could spend every waking moment creating. I’m a mom and that comes first but my kids are growing up and have found their own things they enjoy. So it was so nice after many years of just hurting to find peace and love in creating things for loved ones, family, friends and finally now for everyone.
I was scared at first not knowing what it was like to sell online. But many artists encouraged me to step out and try ArtFire and other online selling. I’m so happy I did. I find it a very welcoming place to be, with not so many restrictions and a place that wants your business to succeed. I feel very welcome here and looking forward to sharing my love of Art, Clay, Jewelry & Gifts with everyone. I truly hope that everyone loves my creations as much as I loved creating them. I feel honored to be among so many people that create things by hand.
If there’s one thing that defines you, what is it?
What defines me? That is so hard to pinpoint in yourself. I guess I would say, love of life and all things around me. I have learned that everyday is a gift and to enjoy every waking moment. Smile take a moment and discover and try new things. Meet new people, make new memories. Make each moment count.
What role does your family play in your art?
My family loves my new found art. My daughter is almost 21 so she also shares my love of jewelry and pretty things. She enjoys creating with me and being my sales model in her everyday life. My son he is 12, he is proud of me, he is my support system, when I am not sure if something is going to work, he is right there to cheer me on and push me to keep on creating. He is a wise soul and has so much love in him.
Through tragedy my children grew up so fast, they are amazing and I treasure them and every moment I share with them. They enjoy creating with me. I love nothing more than the kids joining me in my studio and all of us creating clay projects. There is always something fun for them to do. They both are also very talented and have an amazing gift for sculpting and creating. They will be sharing their items on here soon as well. I love that we can all create together. A lot of amazing fun times. I cherish every moment.
My husband is in law enforcement. It is very cute that he takes my things to work and says he is a jewelry salesman. I think its sweet that he doesn’t mind showing all the ladies at work my creations. He doesn’t mind being teased about it, he too is proud and happy that I have found something that I love. They are all happy that I’m not spending so many hours in pain. We all enjoy the happiness that this has brought to our lives.
Where do you live and what is it like?
I live in Petoskey, Michigan, USA. It is a lovely small town in Northern Michigan. Mainly a tourist town, summer home and retirement community. We have beautiful summers, not to hot or cold. Very hard winters with lots of snow. Our spring and fall are lovely, amazing colors and wildlife in our area. It’s a great town to live in. Just large enough for great school systems and job opportunities for families. I love it here. Many movie stars have summer homes here. It’s a lovely place.
Where did you learn your medium?
Self taught, I learned Polymer Clay through books, online tutorials, help from artists and lots of practice. I love buying all types of books on jewelry making and sculpting. I have an addiction to tutorials, thankfully a lot are free. Such amazing things on the internet, Clay Artists are very generous that is one thing I found. Everyone loves the medium and loves to share it. Including myself. I have already been asked to start teaching classes locally. That is very flattering since I have only been creating since September of 2012.
What are your goals with your ArtFire studio?
My goals here on ArtFire are to create one of a kind art, clay, jewelry and gifts for people to love and cherish for many years to come. I want to stay here and grow here. I hope people to want to come back and look for new things at my shop. I want to strive to create something new everyday. Challenge myself, and I invite people to challenge me as well, I love when I am asked to create something that is out of my comfort zone. I love the challenge and have found that its such a good feeling to create something that someone else wanted and couldn’t create themselves. That is the best thing about handmade. You create it, not a factory or machine. It’s timeless, everything is an original treasure.
I’m here to share my love of my art with others, to learn from others, to share with others, help others and just be happy creating and selling. Of course I’m here to make some money, we all are. Mainly I just want to enjoy my time here and hope that everyone else enjoys my creations as much as I did making them.
How did you come to selling online?
I started selling online after many clay artists friends that I had purchased clay canes and clay creations and jewelry from kept telling me to open shops online. I had over 350 items made and they were just sitting on my shelves and I was only doing local craft shows. I love doing that but I wanted to share with more people, with the world. I am proud of my new found love and wanted to share. So I have a lot to list and will be filling up my ArtFire store daily with new things.
How did you come to find a home on ArtFire?
I buy many products from many different artists on ArtFire. Originally I bought from Ikandiclay on ArtFire. My love for ArtFire artists grew and I have many friends here. They are all amazing artists and I have learned so much from all of them. I love creating still with their clay canes as well as with my own. I like to create with many different mediums along with the clay. So its fun to buy on ArtFire because there is always a shop that has what I need or what I am looking for. Be it tutorials, clay canes, accessories, findings, beads. You name it, ArtFire artists have it. I could search all day!
What is the best piece of advice you can give other artists?
My best advice is read, study, learn from the best, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to try something new, challenge yourself, its such an amazing thing when you do. And try and try again. Never give up if you burn something your first time. Just do it again, you will learn and love what you do. Absorb all the knowledge you can from other talented artists and love what you do. Because when you love it so will others. That is really all that matters. Loving what you do and making yourself and others happy. That is the benefit for an artist. Someone enjoying your work. Instant Happiness.
Why do you think that buying and selling handmade products benefits society?
Buying and selling handmade is beneficial to everyone. You have so many people out there out of work or struggling to make ends meet. Handicapped people like me, creative people that cant find work or choose creating as their work, loving, fun, and talented people. When you buy from them your helping them survive in life, your buying original one of a kind pieces of work. Not something that is created in another country and duplicated millions of times. Your helping people that love to create make more money to create more things.
Everything handmade is slightly different. That is why its ART. That is why I love it. Why others should buy handmade is the same reasons. Your getting something that was created with love, by someone that enjoys what they do and wants to share it with the world. Your helping a person survive in this world by purchasing items from them. It is what makes this world work.