Yesterday at the market, I recieved one of the best compliments you could ask for as an artist. (I use the term artist VERY loosely when referring to myself. ) I had a gentleman and his young son, who was about six or seven, stop to look at my tables. The boy picked up several items and studied them with great fascination. He showed the dad who commented on each item's original use or intention. The dad then told me that they had seen me twice before at events at the Seminole Heights Community Garden. He said that his son had bought a couple of my pieces and that I had inspired him to start creating things from recycled materials too. He said his son is always looking for stuff to make things with. I was speechless. Which for me, is quite a feat! I hadn't expected that. I never thought of myself as that kind of artist. I have a lot of friends that are artists. Painters, photographers, sculptors, you know- real artists. Their work is MEANT to inspire. A jewelry artist creates something that's functional not necessarily inspirational. I suppose when you specialize in upcycled jewelry there is some degree of commentary in each piece. I hadn't really ever thought about it in those terms. I was just creating pieces that I would wear myself and just hoped others would like them too. But to think that something I made could inspire a child to express their own creativity? Wow! I have to admit, it feels pretty good. It's a validation. All these years that I have been making and selling jewelry is not just about making money. Even though it's not my primary vocation, it is an important part of who I am. So I take this compliment graciously and humbly. I thank this nameless man and his young son, for helping me realize that perhaps I too, am an artist after all.
I actually got that fortune once. I always seem to get the most unusual fortunes( see photo above, yes it's real) I keep the good (bad?) ones. This led me to create these fortune charms. I needed to find a way to preserve them. I glued them to a popsicle stick and coat them with Mod Podge and viola! So if you have a fortune you'd like to save, email me.
You think software developers purposely drag out the release of updates just to make us crazy? The reason I ask is, Weebly, my website host has always had a mobile friendly version of my site for everyone to view. However, they don't allow me to edit on mobile (yet). All I can do is compose blog posts with photos and check statistics. I cannot edit or add anything to the shop. Pointless, if you ask me. And they do. I submit feedback. Hopefully they'll get, someday. I'm the meantime I'm going to try to upload some photos to the blog section. If you set something you'd like to purchase just message me and I'll add it to the checkout.
I've spent the past couple of days working on this website. I changed the layout, added new images, wrote a blog post (this one), all while I was glued to the Weather Channel (see image, left). After first bluffing his way past me in Tampa, Hurricane Isaac took aim at my brother and his girlfriend in Gulfport, Mississippi. I watched the painstakingly slow progress of this "minimal" Category 1 storm as it just sat on top of the Gulf Coast for days causing levees to be over-topped, severe flooding, numerous tornadoes, and a lot of bad memories. Yes it was "only a cat 1 or 2" however, what made this storm so worrisome for me wasn't that it appeared to come for me and then my family. It wasn't that I thought it would strengthen and become the "grandaddy of hurricanes". It was the fact that it chose the seven year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to batter the Gulf Coast. I'm sure the people that lived through both storms felt way more unnerved than I did, and I would never try to put myself in their shoes. However, Katrina did impact me and changed my life in that, my brother who lives in Gulfport, once lived in Pass Christian, MS. One of the hardest hit parts of the Gulf Coast. He lives in Gulfport because Katrina destroyed his home. He still owns the land where his house once stood, but would you rebuild in a place that had 18ft of water 2 miles inland? Thankfully when Katrina hit, he wasn't home but just barely. He and I had been planning a trip to New Mexico. I arrived in Mississippi the day before Katrina hit. We left town a mere hours before all hell broke loose. That's not to say we were safe. We got caught in the throngs of people fleeing the gulf coast. It wasn't until many hours later that we learned precisely where landfall was and days later before we made contact with anyone in the area. It was after Labor Day before my brother was able to return and find the condition of his house. The memories of those stressful days came flooding (no pun intended) back to me this week. It was the single most stressful time in my life. I suppose its the feeling of helplessness watching friends and loved ones go through a natural disaster. But for me, the worst part of the Katrina disaster was being so out of touch. The further away from the coast we go the less we could find any updates. It was so frustrating. After that road trip from hell I bough a satellite radio for my brother and myself so we would never be that out of touch again. So that brings me back to Isaac. I have had the Weather Channel on for 3 days straight. Excellent coverage I might add. My thoughts are with all those impacted by this storm. It may not have been a "monster" storm like Katrina but to the families of the 24 people in Haiti that died when Isaac blew through, it might as well have been. If you would like to help those in Isaac's wake both here and Haiti. The Red Cross and Partners in Health both organization do good work all over the world. Now you may wonder, What does ANY of this have to do with jewelry? Well, I'm on a business trip (I have a full time job. Sadly, the recycled jewelry business, while fun and exciting, does not pay the bills, yet). Usually on such trips I bring my tools and create my designs in my hotel room. However thanks to Isaac, I was glued to the TV. Maybe now that I know my brother is safe and Isaac is someone Else's problem, I can get back to beading!
Well here it is. My second attempt at a website. I had one for a couple of years but didn't get much traffic so I didn't spend a lot of time on it. Then along came Facebook and its ease of use, I didn't see the need for anything else. However, I kept getting asked if I had a website or if I sold online. I decided to give it another go. I'm still tinkering with formats, layouts, and fonts. It will be a work in progress for quite some time. In the coming days and weeks as I get more familiar with the editing process, I will add more features including ultimately a shopping cart. In the meantime you can always email me if you see something you would like and I will gladly ship it. Or if you are in the Tampa Bay area you could stop and see me at The Ybor City Saturday Market. Stay tuned!
Re-Usin' by Susan is the culmination of many years of exploration and experimentation in jewelry making. People ask me how I got to be so creative. I tell them I ate paste as a child.