The Shell Lady of Etsy's SeashellsbySeashore & Loving Coastal Living. Sharing personal struggles of living with a chronic illness. A blog featuring a person, not just as a business owner, but as a wife, mother, & woman, just like many other people sharing a common bond for wanting to live life at its fullest- in the hardest of challenges to the greatest of triumphs. Join me as I begin the quest to overcome the statistics of a chronically ill person.
Tell us a little about yourself, shop or selling venues.
I love collecting little treasures, especially from the sea – shells, sea glass, bleached bones, and combining them with beads and other goodies with which I make jewelry.I’m a bit of a recluse, so I really enjoy the opportunity Etsy offers me to sell my baubles, and also the wonderful community of fellow artists.
Chunky Necklace March 2011
What are some things that bring you joy or inspire you?
So many things inspire me and bring me joy. I could go on and on, but here are a few… sunshine, music, unique art, non-conformists, poetry, color, courageous survivors who tell their stories, my 19-yr-old cat Arnold, my relationship with my sweetheart, life and the human capacity to overcome terrible hardships and find inspiration, hope and joy, the baboon families that come to visit us, travel and different cultures, my mom and close friends…and so much more.
How long have you been creating, and why did you begin?
I think for those of us who are creative, it’s innate - we’ve always done it. It’s as if we have no choice, we have to do it. If we don’t, we suffer in some way, whether it’s our health, or just in how we feel – our souls, our lives. My mother (www.allyarncreations.etsy.com) is an extremely creative person, and I take after her in many ways. There seem to be different times in my life for my creative loves – I love to draw – putting on paint-stained clothes and getting my hands black from rubbing charcoal on paper is wonderful, or painting on canvas with oils, a paintbrush in each hand and one held in my teeth…writing is also a love of mine, both poetry and prose. So many other things… but jewelry…I’ve created jewelry, off and on, and of different kinds, for many, many years.
What are some of your favorites (websites, materials, foods, books, other people’s work, etc.)
I’m a childhood sexual abuse survivor and when I was fifteen, I ran away and survived a year and a half with a terribly abusive person (of which I’m writing a memoir).Much of what I like in other people’s work has to do with surviving abuse, but most especially, with healing; being able to learn again how to create, love, trust and fully live.Etsy’s Robin Wade’s work touches me deeply (http://www.etsy.com/shop/robinwade?ref=seller_info)
I love books and movies.A couple of my favorite movies are “Out of Africa” and “Life is Beautiful”.I’m drawn to non-fiction books in which people have lived and survived hardships, and are able, in spite of (and even at times, possibly because of) it all, still thrive and find meaning and even happiness in life.“The GlassCastle”, by Jeannette Walls is a favorite, as is “Running with Scissors” by Augusten Burroughs, who was able to write with such humor about his seriously messed up childhood, I laughed out loud.I cheer these people on.I also loved the book “Under the Tuscan Sun” and non-fiction books about travel.Some of my favorite writing is from a friend I share a blog with, Candy Bonello (www.writersblogs.wordpress.com).I wish she’d put her stories into a book.It would be one of my favorites!
Where do you live, and do you hope to live elsewhere?
I’m American, but I currently live at the southern most tip of Africa.We’ve built a house in Betty’s Bay, South Africa, at the foot of the KogelbergMountains with distant views of the sea.Betty’s Bay is located in a nature reserve, and is a magical place, with long stretches of breathtaking beaches.One of three colonies of South African penguins lives here, as does the only herd of wild horses.We have regular visits from baboons, and we once heard a leopard cry out in the mountain above us.The beaches are some of the most beautiful that I’ve ever seen – they’re where I find the treasures that I make into jewelry.
I can’t say that I hope to live elsewhere, but who knows? I never could have known that I’d live in Africa. I think life sometimes takes you in directions that you don’t expect. I have a wanderlust soul, and I sometimes long for a more tropical, lush-green, warm-sea place, where the breezes are calm. I can imagine living in a place that offers that. Where in the world it would be? I don’t know, but I’m open.
What are some of your short term and long term goals overall.
I don’t know if these are considered goals, but here are some things I’d love to do…buy a Land Rover and spend months driving up into Africa with my husband - to Ghana for their beautiful glass beads and Ethiopia for their silver prayer beads…possibly to write about the trip. Finish my memoir and have it published by a huge publishing company! I’d like one day to know that I’ve helped others somehow, especially having to do with abuse – to help spread the word about the healing power of telling one’s secret. To continue creating jewelry and other art, and to continue loving life, growing and learning.