~Lunasa Designs started after my first husband Dan died of Cystic Fibrosis in 1998 when I was just shy of 24 years of age. My sister Mara started me off with some beads, fishing wire and hemp and told me to get to it. She thought that having something to do with my hands would help me get through my grief. I always considered myself a fairly patient and (for lack of a better phrase) anal retentive person but I soon discovered that even I was not quite patient enough to work with beads. At first it was absolutely maddening to me (but did accomplish exactly what Mara had hoped) then it was addicting. Beading and creating simple necklaces and earrings helped me remember what a "maker" and little entreprenauer I was as a kid. I was soon selling simple beaded jewelry to my friends and co-workers. Shortly after I started Lunasa Designs.
I decided to go back to school (I had quit for a while when Dan was sick) but no longer felt inspired by my previous course of study (psychology). Perhaps I was burnt out from all the recent self-reflection and constant inner therapy?? So, instead of continuing to study psychology I started to study something that I had always wanted to - but shied away from as a "not so smart" career decision. Art.
Through my art studio classes at the University of New Mexico I got more in touch with that creative little person (I'm still not all that big) that I had shoved down all those years before.
I started to remember all the days I had spent in my dad's studio as a kid. How he patiently walked me through every possible art form I could ever hope to learn. My interests changed daily. One day I wanted to make jewelry, the next carve some stone, the next make porcelain dolls and then there was woodworking... there was always my dream dollhouse just waiting to be finished. My dad never told me, "no". Or, "you need to finish the first thing you already started". He just said, "c'mon, I'll show you where the stuff is". He had everything. He himself was a jeweler, a potter, a woodworker, a blacksmith and a stone carver (as well as a farmer, a weaver, a spinner, a homebuilder and a stay at home homeschooling dad of 7 children).
At the University of New Mexico, I not only rediscovered myself but I also fell in love again - this time with the general manager of the coffee shop/restaurant/bakery that I worked at (shhhhhh.... it was against company policy). I married Scott in 2002 - he's an amazingly talented chef and feeds his poor starving artist wife well. :) Together we have 3 little boys and a somewhat nomadic lifestyle (we're currently "settled" in Utah).
I don't like to keep much seperated in my life - Many of my customers have become friends - Same could be said for my choice in art materials. At UNM I worked a lot with combining clay (mostly porcelain) with metal. At school I was primarily interested in sculpture and "saying something" with my work. I didn't make much jewelry... It still seemed just a bit too "anal retentive" for my "life is short" frame of mind at the time.
I still dabbled in bead jewelry on the side and sold some of it to friends and family to help get me through college... Even had a little catalog I mailed out and a short lived website. My metalsmithed jewelry was reserved for friends and family as gifts (usually to my mother).
In 2005 all of that changed. Hit with some hard times, I decided I needed to revisit my jewelry days. With 2 young boys, getting a job outside of the home proved slightly silly... I decided to dig out my old metalsmithing tools. I knew that selling sculpture would not help put food on the table - So, with only one technical jewelry class under my belt, (I was fortunate enough to have the BEST jewelry proffessor at UNM, Suzanne Stern) I decided to open up Lunasa Designs again. Except this time it would be metalsmithed, sterling silver jewelry (with some beads only every once in a while). My first big craft show was only about a month after I started making jewelry again - I was accepted into the first Detroit Urban Craft Fair in Detroit, MI. Nervously, (and with my sister Rachel's help) I set out my wares. Based on the GOOD reaction from my customers, I decided to keep going and was directed to Etsy.com by my brother Aaron. Setting up shop at etsy proved to be ridiculously easy (not giving me any excuses to back out) and I started to do well there and really enjoy the community.
I soon joined a wonderful, diverse group of metalsmiths - called "etsymetal" (an etsy.com street team) - we started out as sort of a social support group for the very few metalsmiths on Etsy (I think there may have been 5 of us at inception) and have grown to hundreds of members all over the globe.
Now, with the support of my husband Scott, and my three rambunctious little boys, I am able to sit in my little home studio every day and create. My 9 year old self would be very pleased.
One of my greatest joys comes from running my own business (on top of creating) and being able to have interaction, conversations and friendship with my "customers". I'm always amazed and profoundly happy with the positive feedback I get and the unique connections I've made all over the world.