New Found Support

by Ellie Stitt.
(Near Manchester – United Kingdom)

I’ve suffered from significant health problems for most of my life but have always managed to work, volunteer or participate in my community.

Silver plated wire and glass bead necklace made for a friend as a Christmas present

Silver plated wire and glass bead necklace made for a friend as a Christmas present

In July 2012 I had an allergic reaction to prescribed medication, and was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis and a month later I was made redundant – my whole world fell apart. I was physically disabled, psychologically wounded and desperate for something that would make me feel less damaged.

Art Deco Style Collar Necklace made with Swarovski Crystal Beads for the Physically Challenge Artists Support Group 100 Bead Challenge

Art Deco Style Collar Necklace made with Swarovski Crystal Beads for the Physically Challenge Artists Support Group 100 Bead Challenge

I found a spool of wire and a pair of pliers, discovered JMJ and decided that nothing could hold me back. Through a comment on this website I was signposted to the Physically Challenged Artists Support GroupΒ  and managed to find a whole online community of people facing similar challenges to me giving encouragement, support and practical tips.

Silver plated wire and bead Dragonfly Brooch

Silver plated wire and bead Dragonfly Brooch

My jewellery has moved on leaps and bounds from making a few little pieces for friends and family to commissions and a few sales. I wanted to share a couple of key pieces with you to show that once you get going nothing can hold you back.

Chain Maille bracelet made from handmade copper jump rings as a birthday present for a friend

Chain Maille bracelet made from handmade copper jump rings as a birthday present for a friend

I’d like to say a big thank you Rena and the team at Jewellery Making Journal and the wonderful women at the Physically Challenged Artists Support Group.

Ellie Stitt
Feathertail Crafts
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  • Lovely jewelry, Ellie – I especially like the copper chain maille bracelet.

    I’m so glad to hear you’ve found the Physically Challenged Artists Support Group – and that there’s so much encouragement and info exchange going on there.

    Also I’m thrilled that JMJ has been part of your jewelry journey!

    Thanks so much for sharing your jewelry and your story with us – and way to go on selling some of your pieces! πŸ™‚

  • Ellie Stitt says:

    Thanks Rena
    Both JMJ and Physically Challenged Artists Support Group have been amazing in terms of support and inspiration. I know that even if i’m not well enough to craft I continue to be surrounded by the most amazing people.

  • Laurien says:

    Elllie, it has been so nice to meet you! I am sorry to hear about your health, that is such a hard thing to loose. From experience I know how hard it can be to loose the ability to work and contribute that way. I think it is amazing how you turned around, found something new and made that work. Your jewelry looks amazing, thank you for sharing!

  • Shann says:

    Love your work and especially the dragonfly and the maille-work on the copper bracelet. I love copper, I’m drawn to it no matter how I try to fight it and that bracelet well, I just LOVE IT πŸ˜‰ Thank you for sharing your beautiful work.

    My morning routine is visiting JMJ and PCASG while enjoying my coffee and it gives me a great start to my day. I love Rena’s Jewelry and Coffee videos but I also enjoy just checking each morning to “see what’s new” with JMJ.

    I am a member of the PCASG both on Big Tent and Facebook and the wonderful information here at JMJ is what led me to this amazing group. I never would have found the PCASG without Rena and JMJ and I am so grateful to Rena for all the great information on the JMJ site AND for letting me know there is a place I can go for support and interact with people facing similar challenges and issues.


  • Mary Wong says:

    You have amazing resilience and wonderful creative expression. Lovely work. Keep that up.

  • Diane says:

    Ellie, what a wonderful posting. It’s amazing how many of us started an art due to health issues. I had been wanting to get into metalworking after beading for a few years, but just never started. Because of finding PCASG through JMJ and the encouragement and friendship I found, I finally started metalworking in the fall. I am enjoying every minute of it.

  • Jenna says:

    Your story is truly inspiring! I’m so glad that you found an outlet for your creativity that also allows you to connect with others. Illness and injury can be so damaging to our souls – some people crawl inside themselves like a hermit crab – never emerging. I’m happy that you found the courage and strength to come out of your shell and experience the world of jewelry making; it can fulfill you and give you something to look forward to. It also doesn’t hurt that you can make a few bucks from it! πŸ™‚
    Thank you for sharing your story!!

  • Nancy says:

    Beautiful work!!! My favorite is the exquisite dragonfly. Keep it up, and thank you for sharing!!

  • Debbie says:

    I love your work here. Thank you for sharing, and for the link for the artists with disabilities group on FB, I joined.

  • Veronica Rausch says:

    Beautiful work! Thank you for the link to the Physically Challenged Artists Support Group, I also asked to join πŸ™‚

  • Jodie James says:

    I first started to make jewellery at college, when I was about 17. I sold a lot to the fellow students and even my tutors! Then I met my hubby, and we moved around England quite a lot. We moved where my oh had work. I put my jewellery to one side. And forgot about it. Fast forward to the present.

    I am now 37, with 2 genetic disorders (EDS type 3 and I have a very high chance of developing HHT as I have the genetic marker). I also have fibromyalgia that is severe. I am now a carer for my DS who has EDS and autism, and for my OH who has Bi-polar disorder.

    Jewellery is my only outlet, it allows me to be creative, and relaxes me from my fairly hard and exhausting day. The PCASG sounds fab, I will also request to join :). I am in the process of setting up an Etsy shop (jibandbatjewellery), and even though I have a bad tremor in my hand I still make my jewellery! Nothing will stop me know! It just takes longer!

    Thank you for your tutorials, I love them! I am going to get my hammer out and try to make my own ear wires! Just a quick question, could I sell my creations, with a mention, or would you prefer me not to?

    Thanks again

    Jodie (Newcastle, England)

  • Hi Jodie, I’m glad to hear you’re not letting anything stop you. Way to go! πŸ™‚

    And thank you for asking about selling the jewelry you make from my tutorials!

    All of my free tutorials that I post here on Jewelry Making Journal are for you to make these items to sell, to give, to wear yourself, to share the finished pieces and enjoy!

    Many of these projects are jewelry items that have sold well for me, or that I feel would be good sellers – and I hope the jewelry you make from these tutes sells like hotcakes for you!

    My only restriction is that the tutorial itself (my text and images) may not be republished, copied, or sold without written permission from me.

    Thanks, and have fun! πŸ™‚

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