In the beginning

I have always been crafty. Growing up with an Artist for a Mother I guess it was inevitable. But, while she could draw and paint, reproducing anything she wanted, I never could. I wrote poetry, sang and colored inside the lines. I assumed that was to be the extent of my artistic ability. However, in my 20’s during a period of illness I started painting flower pots. Just for fun. I learned I had a real knack for colors. I could see a color and then reproduce it from memory. Sometimes, mixing several colors of paint to get there.  While I found this amusing it still never dawned on me that I could potentially be artistic.

I recovered from my illness and the pots got packed away and forgotten. I got married, divorced and married again. Along the way four boys were born. Then, my world suddenly came to a screeching halt when at 35 my Husband of 5 years suddenly died. I struggled to maintain my Career for 3 more years when illness struck me again and I was forced to resign due to health problems. The cause of my illness was finally discovered, I had surgery and began the long road to recovery.

While l had no day job, I began making Windchimes for my Mothers craft booth. She had retired from her Career and was returning to her Artistic roots. She made Jewelry and Windchimes.  I made several chimes and decided to start my own line of crystal Suncatchers. They sold very well and became my sole focus.

During this time my children begged me not to return to work. They enjoyed that I was more available to them. I was at every Award Ceremony, baseball and football games and Boy Scout meetings. I wasn’t at work. I was participating in life with them. Well, if I was going to stay home we couldn’t live off my Husbands Social Security for long so I had to begin to make my own money.

How does all this translate into making Jewelry?  It all began with simple curiosity. I wanted a Fairy necklace to go with a particular outfit. I had the beads and materials picked out but I had no idea how to put it all together. Once my Mother taught me the basic materials and techniques necessary to make a simple beaded necklace I was hooked. Suddenly my mind began racing with possibilities.

At first every color combination was a possible necklace waiting to happen and then it became unique beads and Swarovski crystals  and then, at long last came the moment that set all my wanderings to rest. I stumbled across a floral necklace made from painted metal on Pinterest and fell in love. The description said “most findings from B’Sue Boutiques”.

Immediately, I looked up B’Sue Boutiques and began my first order. I soon learned the metal was brass. Then, I had to learn the different techniques of colorizing brass, glue techniques, how to drill a hole and manipulate filigree. I was surprised to find everything I ever wanted or needed to know was available from B’Sue.  I would watch her videos deep into the night making notations of tools and bits and parts I needed. Her Jewelry inspired me !  This mixed media stuff gave me so much room to express myself. So much room to explore. So many creative ideas I didn’t even know I had in me!

I began hoarding money for things like torches and Swellegant. I purchased a Dremel and drill bits, a heat gun and E6000. In order to find money I didn’t have I was pinning broken bras and wearing old clothes. Whatever it took!!

But   most importantly, I learned how to use these tools.  I watched instructional videos sometimes 3 and 4 times until I was comfortable trying a technique. You see, with limited finances I was so afraid of ruining an expensive piece.  But, Brenda Sue Lansdowne led the way!

Then something truly amazing happened. I won the Thanksgiving muse package. It was chok FULL of raw brass to play with as well as new tools and coloring/decorating agents.  I was in Heaven!  Now I felt I had the stuff to learn with !  And again Brenda Sue Lansdowne led the way.

My boys surprised me one day by setting up a craft room in the finished basement room. They moved in a huge desk I had found, some shelves and ALL my Jewelry supplies. I walked in to a beautifully organized Studio.  A Studio organized by 4 boys aged 13, 12 and 8.  My Family was behind me.  I wanted this. What was stopping me?

The know how. I didn’t have a clue how to sell my Jewelry to stores. I didn’t have an online store or website of any kind. I didn’t have a Blog. Iwas making Jewelry and packing it away for the next Craft show. Clearly, this wasn’t going to work. Clearly, I couldn’t make money if no one knew my Jewelry was for sale.

Enter the B’Sue Boutiques Build a Line Challenge. This was what I needed!  This could be the learning experience of a lifetime!  And it was being offered this one time for Free. Again. With Brenda Sue Lansdowne leading the way.

Hopefully, I will be accepted into the challenge but regardless my Journey has begun and it will not end here. I have some Kids to keep a promise too. I have Jewelry to make and a Studio to work in that  those kids made.  I have work to do. It turns out I AM an Artist. Just a different kind from my Mother. But an Artist none the less.

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9 thoughts on “In the beginning

  1. Thank you for sharing your journey. Being left with four boys to raise on your own is not easy. You see I watched my mom struggle to raise two children after being left at widow at age 32. Wishing you the very best as you enter your new journey of Build A Line Challenge. Give your previous boy’s a special hug from me for taking such good care of their mom.

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  2. Leila, I really enjoyed your blog post. Thanks for sharing part of your life with us. You really are an artist! Have fun and good luck with the challenge.

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  3. Leila, I wish you all the best as you build your business and raise your precious children. Their encouragement and help was certainly touching to read about. It will be fun to watch your progress as an artist in the upcoming challenge!

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  4. I am in tears. You’ve got what it takes, doll. And what a great troop of supporters…and four of them! I had only one, but he is still with me. He is a wonderful son. And you have four! God has so richly blessed you. Work hard but take care to remember what is most important, and never lose sight of it.

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