I've grown up in a family full of talent and a passion for creating. And, one of creating for pleasure and gift-giving, not profit. My father, a retired OBGYN, is a master at creating whatever it is you want. You ask for it and you have it within days. He is a woodcrafter, a blacksmith, a baker, and recently, a broom-maker. My mother is a portrait, landscape, and still-life painter. Beyond that, she is a quilter and accomplished artists in many realms. She makes amazing dolls and intricate snowflakes. She is the person who instilled in me the passion for creating. As a young lady, she was the illustrator of the Sunday School board. As a young mother she guided us as we created our own Christmas cards each year. She encouraged us to enter art contests whenever possible, and instructed us in new painting techniques.
My brother used his talents as a medical illustrator for a profession, but he has my Dad's genes for sure. He can make anything! Seriously, if he doesn't know how, he learns. Since his retirement he has taken up several crafts - making things just to give to friends. Turning beautiful wooden bowls, making a wooden chess set, and knitting - believe it or not. He is knitting little caps for preemie babies for a local hospital. I can go on and on about his amazing talents. He's truly on that has a passion for creating.
So, as you can see, I am surrounded by talent. I always knew that I would be some sort of artist when I grew up. I got a job as an art director and have stayed in that field all of my career. Even though it uses some of my creative talents, I might not say that I am completely passionate about it. Not in the same way as being passionate about something I make with my own hands for pleasure. I am a painter, a potter, a weaver, and recently learned to knit... but my new passion lies in creating from metal.
After learning from several masters I decided to set up shop in the basement and open a store. So about a year and a half ago I opened Autumn Sun Jewelry on Etsy. I am sure you know all about Etsy. Isn't it a joy to buy handcrafted items? I try to purchase most of my gifts from artists on Etsy. I don' t sell like gangbusters, by any means, but that's not really the point for me. Although, to see my sales one shy of 100 makes me pretty happy.
What makes it a passion for me is the joy it brings others.
I'd like to share about one of my customers and how the ring I designed and created specifically for her helped her in her grief over the loss of her husband.
"I very recently lost a man very dear to my heart and want a ring, preferably a spinner for the many times I will experience anxiety knowing he is now only with me in spirit. He shared a song by Warren Zevon with me before his passing. I am hoping these words from that song could be put on the inside of a band: Tu eres el amour de mi vida (You are the love of my life.) I have admired your work for some time, and in particular this ring. I am open to your ideas. Do you think it possible to make this happen? Thank you in advance for your time. I am waiting as I am hurting and feel a strong need to make this happen as I hope it will bring me great comfort.
Lesly, if you have to create a special design I will gladly compensate you. My hope is that this ring will help me breathe again. My heartache is almost unbearable. I am hoping that we can also have his name in there too. Travis. So hard even to type and see his name. Thank you again."
A request for a butterfly necklace, because butterflies represented her brother who had passed away, was a blessing to make. It was tough because I didn't have a butterfly creation at the time, but I designed one just for her. It is now the favorite piece of many. Another special ring was one I designed and created especially for a new mother. The husband wanted a flower that represented their home state and the name and birth date of their new baby. Her husband was so excited about giving it to her. I have received a request for simple wedding bands for a couple in Haiti who have little money, a ring with a special scripture verse as a gift to a mother from her children, a request for a poppy ring (because Poppy was her given name), requests for special messages - sometimes too long to fit so the words are stamped on the inside and outside the band, and so on- each one completely unique in some way.
I particularly love these requests when I get to make something especially meaningful to an individual. It makes it all the more rewarding to design. Each story is special and the pieces are created just for that individual. The gratitude that is expressed in return amazes me. It brings me great joy to make others happy. It makes me want to do it more. That is what passion is all about.