Manny Beads: I’m Manny and I live in beautiful Vermont where the colors of Summer in bloom, and Fall happening inspire me. Some years ago I found myself really wanting to breath some fresh air into my creative lungs. I learned how to knit, took some pottery courses and dove into making jewelry. I had been creating jewelry for myself and others for many years, drawn to the challenge of making a reality what my imagination cooks up.
I have a passion for unrefined stones and other elements that inspire me to create jewelry that is designed with an organic feeling to it: a bit unrefined, beautifully irregular and suggestive of the spiritual. Some of the elements I am most drawn to are organic and unrefined stones, ancient pieces, vintage buttons, Tibetan mala beads, and ethnic additions. I prefer to use creative elements that are not too many steps removed from the earth…imperfectly perfect. The stones and beads are often hand-cut and unrefined, left to speak for themselves, reminding us that they are of the Earth.
A couple of years ago, a one of my mother’s friends took me aside at a family event and told me, “Your mom would move mountains for you, Rebecca. Remember that.” At the time, I took as an off-hand comment, but it was actually a prophecy of sorts. Just 6 months later, when I called my mom to tell her that I was planning to leave the West Coast and move back to the Prairies, she said, without skipping a beat, “Great. Rent a truck. I’ll drive.”
A few short weeks later, with Vancouver in the rear-view mirror of my Jetta and my mom at the helm of a packed U-haul, I headed home. It took us 3 days to make the 2000+ kilometre trip. My mom was Thelma, I was Louise, and the gas-guzzling U-haul was called “Piggy”. A lot of laughs, a few tears, and a couple slightly-sketchy hotel rooms were shared as we made our way across 3 1/2 provinces. At the end of our trip, when my belongings and I were safely in Winnipeg, my mom asked for nothing in return. She just gave me a huge hug, told me to behave, and hopped on a flight back to BC.
Someday, I hope I get the chance to pay it forward and do something like that for my own kid. (Except I’ll probably make him drive the U-haul.) In the meantime, since my mom is my rock, I have gathered up this collection of stone-cold awesomeness in her honour…and just in time for Mother’s Day!
According to Lindsay, unlike children, air plants require minimal nurturing to keep them alive. They don’t even need soil; just a sunny spot and a twice-weekly bath. This Tillandsia makes his home in a sandstone pebble planter, which has a lovely modern, organic design. Check out Lindsay’s shop of all sorts of unique and beautiful gifts for mothers (and others.)
Dean & Sue of British Columbia carve words and designs into stones that have been polished by the Pacific Ocean, using a sandblasting technique. They will carve all sorts of words and images into the stones, but I think these sweet little baby feet would be perfect for a new mom. The pendant pictured above, from the Monkeys Jewels shop, hangs from a silver bail and comes on a black leather cord with a silver clasp.
I love how these felted pebbles fool the eye. At a glance, they appear smooth and hard; but in the hand they are warm, soft and touchable. Taking her inspiration from nature’s organic forms and textures, Delica creates her tromp l’oeil rocks by felting natural merino wool. The set pictured above is made up of nine grey pebbles; each as unique as their stone counterparts would be in nature.
And, finally, some rocks of a different kind – the edible kind! These decadent mini rocky road cheesecakes (pictured above with the peanut butter cup cheesecake) from the Bakesalery are topped with loads of vegan marshmallows, ganache and chopped almonds on a chocolate cookie crust. The best part, though, is that they come in pairs; perfect for sharing with mom.
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 9th, 2010.
What is your craft / art / creative endeavor?
I am a jewelry designer and creator with a passion for unrefined stones and other elements that inspire me to create jewelry that is designed with an organic feeling to it: a bit unrefined, beautifully irregular and suggestive of the spiritual. Some of the elements I am most drawn to are organic and unrefined stones, vintage buttons, Tibetan mala beads, and ethnic additions.
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
Some years ago I found myself really wanting to breath some fresh air into my creative lungs. I learned how to knit, took some pottery courses and dove into making jewelry. I had been creating jewelry for myself and others for many years but suddenly found myself spotting stones and beads everywhere! I’d collect them up and notice that there were some stones that just felt compelled to share the same future in an earring or necklace design!
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
Certainly not an interesting one! I was eager to open my first shop at Etsy and needed to create a name so I impulsively picked ‘Mannybeads’ thinking I could change it in the next few weeks without confusing buyers…but at Etsy once you’ve got a name it’s yours for life! And…I’ve settled right into it quite nicely.
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
Well, my day job is not jewelry making so I feel privileged to be able to create without the pressures of paying the mortgage. That truly frees me up to follow the ebb and flow of creative energy and excitement without getting in the way. Creating jewelry is very much a part of having a life for me…I’m a bit of an introvert so working alone when I feel inspired and energized is very meditative and so satisfying…
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
I participate in just a few seasonal shows and really enjoy that. I think if I participated in more I’m afraid it might start to feel tedious! The preparation and set up is quite something and I really admire folks who do it full time.
Hmmm…favorite venue…I must say 1000Markets is a beautiful site. Just first rate. In terms of exposure and sales I’d have to say Etsy continues to be the Gold Standard for me.
Do you have any favorite handmade shops or sellers?
I do! I have many so these three represent, perhaps hundreds! but here they are…
Desert Talismans (crazy-beautiful, inspired work…)
Artsy (my favorite in assemblage art)
Artquirk (just love this artist and the beautiful rendering of place and time…)
What inspires and motivates you?
I am most inspired by stones and beads that are very earthy, organic and natural in feel. The stone or bead leads me in design rather than having a design in mind that I’m then looking for just the right stones to complete it.
It’s a bit like finding a treasure that you just can’t keep to yourself…and waiting to find the design or arrangement that best supports the essential nature of each stone.
I am also very passionate about working with Tibetan Mala beads. The ones that I am most drawn to are very hard to find so I treasure them when they find their way to me.
Thanks Manny! And if you would like to be interviewed next, just stop by DIY Interview.
No other words will do: these stones are Delicious and the bracelet is Gorgeous.
Kind Stones: I live in Waterloo, Ontario Canada with my fiance and our daughter. I started making jewelry 4 years ago when I was on my maternity leave and I really enjoyed it. I started with just wood and hemp (all my friends still have one :)) and then decided that it was stones that I really loved. I’m self taught using books and magazines with a little advice from my neighborhood bead store owner. I love what I do and I hope you do, too!
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