Finding a New Creative Voice
(Nottingham, United Kingdom)
I wanted to share how I found the wonder that is making jewelry.
I have been a practicing artist in Film and Photography for over 10 years, I then decided to take a giant plunge into education and become a mature student on a Fine Art degree course at university.
Mid way through my second year I developed Gallstones – which caused lots of other health problems before it was finally removed in March 08.
However, things got worse from that day, as I was left with some nerve damage to my torso and damage to my spine.
So began the long haul of living on morphine, I developed and diverted my practice in order to manage my studies and somehow managed to continue at university – graduating with a First Class Honors degree in Fine Art in July 09.
However, once my degree ended, my health seemed to go down hill rapidly – I wasn’t able to go out and get a job due to my bad health, I wasn’t even able to apply for art commissions and pick up where I left off pre my degree.
So, last summer I decided I needed to find something I could do whilst I was stuck at home.
I am a jewelry addict – always have been since a little girl. I’d always fancied trying to make some, but had never found the time.
So, even though money was of course tight, I purchased some basic pliers, bought a couple of books and tried to learn the basics.
I struggled to follow some of the instructions – so then searched to find loads of tutorial videos on you tube that demonstrated various types of wire wrapping etc. and gradually all the basics became clear.
I found lots of broken bits n bobs around my house, put the word out to friends for any broken or unwanted jewelry that I could break down and create something new from – before I knew it I was hooked!
I gradually found myself struggling to buy food, because I couldn’t help buying more gemstones, more wire – the list goes on, as I’m sure you can understand!
So, I realised in order to maintain this new creative flow – I’d have to find a way to fund it – so as it was now October last year, and Christmas was approaching, I managed to land a kiosk in my home city for a week in the November.
So I made like a mad woman – this site was a great help at finding different ways I could show the jewelry, making displays as well, designing cards, coming up with a name even!
I somehow pulled it all off in the end just in time, and loved the week – had great feedback from people stopping by and looking, lots of sales, it was just what I needed to inspire me to continue on with it.
So ‘Miss Ladysmith’ was born – my friends always call me Miss Smith – but that had too many ‘s’ in the middle, so eventually decided to make me a ladysmith.
I now have my own website, plus an Etsy shop – through which I’ve acquired a couple of wholesale accounts, one being in the United States too which for me being British was very exciting – the wonder of the internet hey!
I also have my jewelry available to buy in an exclusive clothing boutique in Soho London called ‘FrostFrench’ part owned by the actress Sadie Frost and frequented by many a hip celebrity!
I’ve still got a long way to go before I can make a real living from my jewelry, but its not even a year yet from when I first picked up some pliers and wire – so I’m not going to be too hard on myself.
I never would have imagined the direction my life has taken – it is incredible what good things can come from bad situations.
My health isn’t any better, and I am really housebound now – but thanks to the wonder of the internet (and the support of some wonderful friends) I am able to continue making and selling.
If I had a magic wand to wave and make me healthy again, I would still continue with the jewelry, I feel like I’ve found a whole new creative voice – which although is a million miles away from directing and editing films – I find I use the same creative approach for both – which has helped me to find myself even more as an artist, making every day have such excitement and potential despite my current health.
Plus I’ve met so many wonderful people via the internet, in all corners of the world – to have items that I’ve made with my hands being worn all over the world is such a fantastic feeling and the ultimate way of spreading art and a smile.
I just wanted to share this with you all – as despite my severe ill health and all the lousy medication I am on – I feel that jewelry making has given me a new lease of life, for which I am truly grateful.
If you’d like to see some video examples what I did before my injury feel free to take a peek at my Vimeo site.
Thanks for reading…. 🙂
Miss Ladysmith Jewelry
Amanda, it’s so great to hear about your successes – especially so soon after you started making jewelry! Your holiday kiosk and FrostFrench experiences are awesome.
Are you going to do the kiosk again this year?
I was sorry to hear you’ve had such a rough time with your health the past few years.
I’m so glad you discovered jewelry therapy. It does help chase away our mental cobwebs, and it’s something that always gives us a spark of excitement!
Is there anything more enthralling than having a box of new (or repurposed) jewelry supplies to play with? :o)
I love your Miss Ladysmith name – it’s memorable and descriptive, as well as charming.
Goodness, if you did this well in your first year of jewelry making, just imagine what you’ll be doing ten years from now!
Thank you so much for taking time to share your story – and your lovely new creative voice – with us, Amanda!
by: Miss Ladysmith
Thank you so much Rena for such a lovely response..
This website has been a huge help for me, along with your own amazing advice I also love to read other people’s stories.. So, I couldn’t resist getting involved!
Thank you again.
What a lovely story! I too love to buy jewlery making supplies. (This week alone I visited Michaels once and A. C. Moore twice – and I’m returning to A. C. Moore today.) I checked out your Etsy shop, and your pieces are eclectic and charming. Best of luck!
The Tote Trove
Blessings of Affirmation!
Wow! I’m blown away by your life story and wish you so much more peace, strength and success in all that you do. I too began designing handcrafted jewelry at a very pivotal point in my life where it seemed like everything that could have gone wrong-went wrong. Two years later I’m still moved by that same fire which led me to begin this journey and it is so great hear from other artists, such as yourself, who are determined to share your passion with the world. You are amazing!
by: Janine G.
Your jewelry is so beautiful! I also had my gallbladder out in 2002. It did not cause any further complications but I can never forget the pain it caused. So sorry you have to go through this. Don’t give up-medical technology advances every day.
Keep making jewelry!! You are so lucky to be selling to a boutique owned by famous people! That is how you can get your pieces in magazines worn by celebrities. Way to go!
Thank you Ladies
by: Miss Ladysmith
I’ve only just come across my story on this wonderful and highly addictive site, so I wanted to say a big thank you to the lovely ladies that took the time to read and reply.
I think its truly amazing how so many people have come to find jewellery making via so many unexpected situations – and how for everyone it has become such a therapeutic craft.
Thank you again, I shall look at all the links shortly to your shops (Even though I should be ‘making’ right now)
I’m glad to say that I’ve also just landed a new contract with a wonderful shop in my home town that supports local artists, so I’m busy making like a mad woman at the mo!
But, no matter how busy I am, I always find myself back at this site weekly, its full of so much inspiration and wonderful advice!
Happy making folks!
your story encourages me that God indeed works in mysterious, he will always bring hope and joy into any situation. I am sorry about your health and pray that God will soothe you in the most difficult times. You are an inspiration.