Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.
What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Suzie Thomas, the artist behind our new Shades of Blue Sea Glass Necklace.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I was on a summer road trip with a couple of friends in the Southwest during my college years. We stopped while driving through Monument Valley at a roadside souvenir stand. There was the most amazing assortment of beautiful and vibrant beaded jewelry being sold. Native American artists who made the jewelry were sitting behind their beautiful and very detailed jewelry making more. At that moment I thought, “I could be happy doing that for the rest of my life.” Although I went on to graduate college and pursued a marketing career, I continued to create and sell jewelry in my spare time.
What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist?
Hands down, feedback from people when I am selling at shows. I love hearing about what my jewelry reminds people of or how it makes them feel. I am inspired and fulfilled by their comments. It’s exhilarating.
What does your typical day in the studio look like?
Full disclosure: my studio right now isn’t so much a studio as it is ¼ of my husband’s man-cave. I recently moved my workstation in from the garage because it was getting too cold. However, if I don’t start my day at the beach searching for sea glass, I start by checking my online shop and my social media channels. I turn on some music and move into creative mode, which involves me dumping entire collections of sea glass on my desk so I can sort and arrange. It gets quite messy during the designing part of the process. When I’m through designing, I clean everything up so I can begin drilling and chaining.
Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?
I keep my dad’s 1970’s blue Murano glass ashtray in front of me when I am working and when I am not working I keep it on my bedside table. It looks like a curling wave. I love that ashtray. My dad used to store his spare change in it, which paid for countless gumball machine purchases. I was so happy when he gave it to me after college. I even bring the ashtray to shows to display necklaces on it and for good luck. It reminds me of a few things: how awesome my dad is, my happy childhood, and the calming ocean.
Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartner for the first time. What do you think they would say?
“Ooooh pretty, can I have it?” I sought feedback before I launched my business from some of the younger sisters of my son’s friends. Kids are honest and they know instantly if they like something visually or not. I knew if children liked what I made, I was on to something.
What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” ~Maya Angelou
This quote keeps me centered. It reminds me to be true to myself and not only create things that I really like, but to make sure I enjoy the process.