Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Artist PlayDate: Meet An Extraordinary Artist Who Turns Negativity Into Exceptional Beauty For All

The moment I met Ruthie, creator of Rose Works Jewelry, I was struck by her positive spirit and warm, inviting nature. She selflessly promotes other artists on her blog and her radio show on the awesome, Blockhead Radio, on Thursday nights at 9pm. This talented artist, selfless giver, and incredible inspiration has suffered from severe and, at times, debilitating health issues and yet where many would give up, Ruthie has battled forward finding peace in crafting beautiful jewelry.

Recently, I had an opportunity to talk with Ruthie about how she deals with her health issues, how she creates her amazing jewelry designs - some of which you can enjoy right here - and the magical outlet she found in bead weaving. I am so moved by her ability to turn an obstacle into a gift, a beautiful gift, that gives spectacular beauty to others.

I invite you to join me in welcoming, Ruthie, the magic behind RoseWorksJewelry. I guarantee that after reading this story and enjoying this magnificent jewelry feast for the eyes - you could be the lucky winner of a gorgeous new piece of jewelry AND a pair of earrings when you enter the RoseWorksJewelry Giveaway - you will become a fan.

Swiftly Changing Waters:http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=22060444

First I’d just like to thank Natasha. I love the work she does over here at the Thursday Sweet Treat blog, and I’ve really been blessed by getting to know her! She’s asked me to share my story, so here it is.

I’ve always had a love for beauty and for creating things. I grew up learning to do cross-stitch, hand sewing, and whatever else Mom could get me involved in! I also loved to sing, act, dance, and write. I never really thought of myself as an artist because I couldn’t draw…and I laugh at myself now for that narrow view of who artists are!

Adventure Necklace:http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=14137264

I began learning to work with beads when I was 16. I loved the colors and the possibilities, but lacked the funds to really explore this world. Still, I’d pull out my beads from time to time, make something, and dream of selling it at a fair or farmers market.

Over the years I picked up different beading techniques, and while I loved it, it stayed a hobby. Then, about two years ago, I began working to slowly build up my skills and start an inventory. I knew I wanted to sell but had no idea how to go about it. I even got to make my wedding jewelry!

Then life threw me a curve ball. At the beginning of 2008, I got really sick. I’ve always had severe asthma problems, but this was worse than I’d ever faced before. I was in and out of the doctor’s office, ER, and, for the first time in my life, I was carrying an Epi pen. This lasted for months. I had many days where I could barely walk to the bathroom, let alone do anything else. So what was I going to do? I love to read, but when you are stuck in the house day after day even reading can get monotonous.

My jewelry is what saved me. I realized that I could still do bead weaving unless I was having one of my really severe asthma attacks, and it didn’t take me moving around! Bead weaving is my favorite form of creating jewelry...although you'll see that I do quite a few other styles! Basically it involves hundreds upon hundreds of tiny seed beads, thread, and a needle. Oh yes, and hours and hours of work! There are many different styles of bead weaving; it would take a long time to describe them all. I tend to use what's called "peyote stitch" for the majority of my bracelets. So, I slowly began perfecting my bead weaving techniques and teaching myself new ones.

What I found was that art can be therapeutic. The process of creating can be very soothing and relaxing. Sometimes it's as simple as finding a safe outlet for your emotions through creating a piece of art or writing that expresses what your feeling. It gave me a place to channel my negative energy and turn it in to something good. When I'm upset I can choose to cry and rant or I can take that energy and put it into creating something beautiful that I'll feel much better about in the long run!

I’ve come a long way in the last year. I now sell on etsy, I’ve done some craft fairs and farmers markets, and my health is finally improving! I seriously think I would have gone a little crazy without my jewelry though. It gave me something productive to do. Joining the etsy community helped me feel like I was still connected to the world.

I love knowing that I can still create things of beauty, even when my body betrays me and I can do very little else. I’ve discovered a lot of artisans out there also struggle with severe health problems, and my heart goes out to them. I think that art is a wonderful way to work through your hard times, and I think it’s helped a lot of people to keep going, not just me.

If you're an artist with health issues, I challenge you to look at art as a form of release. I don't know anyone with health issues who doesn't deal with the emotional back lash from time to time (or all the time) and devoting your negative energy to producing beautiful things can be really helpful to riding out those waves.

And now for the Rose Works Jewelry Giveaway!!

One lucky Thursday Sweet Treater will have the opportunity to win an incredible piece created by Ruthie along with a pair of earrings!! To enter, please:

1. Visit Ruthie's gorgeous shop at http://roseworksjewelry.etsy.com

2. Come back and leave a comment about your favorite piece and tell me why you like it

3. This giveaway will end at midnight on Sunday, March 15th. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on March 16th. At that time, Ruthie will pick one of her fabulous items to give away along with a free pair of dazzling earrings!

Ruthie, you are an incredible, inspiring light in the world. Thank you for reminding us that we all have the ability to turn negativity into something positive in an effort to make this world a better place!


Anonymous said...


Excellent feature...


Walk in the Woods said...

Great beading - and interview too. I love hearing our creative stories! I am returning to much of my own teenage inspiration, it's not beading, but it comes from a time of living-my-truth. :)


Natasha said...

Tulip's Talking - thank you!! Isn't she awesome??

Natasha said...

Walk in the Woods - thank you...I love hearing them too....in fact I'd love to hear what you are doing and what you have returned to as well :)

Rowena said...

I like the jumbled lace necklace.

I think art is so healing, also. I've been lucky enough not to suffer through physical illness but art helped me find my way back after ppd. And I've watched art heal many a people who were sad or depressed or traumatized. Creativity is so good for the soul.

Rose Works Jewelry said...

*blush* Thank you guys for all your kinda comments so far - and Natasha - thank you so much for doing this!

Natasha said...

Rowena - I like that one as well...AND I think art is exceptionally healing....it provides the most amazing outlet and room for beautiful self-expression

Rose Works Jewelry - thank YOU for sharing so honestly and inspiring all of us!

Dirt. said...

what a wonderful interview, and an incredibly tough choice to go along with it! i really love the wild thing adjustable necklace for the bright, springy colors. thanks so much for sharing with us!

maryeb said...

Great post on a wonderful artist and person.

memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...

You are so right about everything you say about Ruthie! She is the most positive person I have ever met and am so glad I joined the EtsyBloggers Team and got to know her :)

This is my fave piece from her shop:


SalvagedExpression said...

Great inspiration from a great crafter. I can only imagine what it's like when your body lets you down so utterly sometimes. It's great that you use it as fuel for the artist holding court in your brain.
My favorite is the purple royalty rope neclkace. The spiral beading is *amazing* and the texture of the black agate is just plain cool. The whole thing is elegant and edgy and fully awesome.

Oh why is peyote stitch called that? I'm sure I could google it but you know I'm right here. ;)

~~Sew Happy Designs~~ said...

I love Ruthie's latest design~ Swiftly Changing Waters because the colors are sew rich looking! Oh, yeah, and I love Ruthie TOO! Great job Naaatasha!

lifeartdesigns said...

Wonderful feature. I so agree about the healing ability of art. Ruthie has the best attitude!

TiLT said...

WildThing...you make my heart sing! That's my current fave of Ruthies...heck, I don't even have to pop over to her shop 'cuz I peek often enough :)
I love the colors and multiple strands...way cool.

I almost feel bad entering b/c I have something of hers...but all the more reason to want more!

contact tiltcreations(at)gmail(dot)com

Sherry said...

What a great article. And, your work is amazing. I'm so glad someone else is passionate about what they do. As a cancer survivor, I can totally relate!
Great job!

giraffelabel said...

i love this one!


thank you for sharing your inspirational story. i hard a hard time choosing a favorite piece. but, i like the idea that although i am a quiet, reserved "soccer mom", i could put on this on and be a "rocker chic"!

storybeader said...

Ruthie's is a great blogging friend and always has something positive to say. I love beadweaving - my favorite piece of her's is her "Swiftly Changing Waters" necklace.

Phoenyx Ravenswing said...


Great post! :-) Many kudoes for turning a very sour lemon into some wondrous lemonade!!! :-)

Hmmm... fave piece? Well, I managed to narrow it down to two - Swiftly Changing Waters & the Purple Snake Bracelet. Swiftly Changing Waters - the colors and that very, very kyool way of turning the end into a multi-length clasp. Purple Snake Bracelet - I've never seen that weaving done before and I LOVE the curves & undulations. :-)

Bright Blessings & Good Fortune! :-)

Rose Works Jewelry said...

Thanks for all your compliments guys! I didn't have a chance to follow along over the week (it's been crazy) but I've had a lot of fun reading through these today!

Mics AKA Lunatiger said...

Man I think my browser crashed loading all your amazing entries! Awesome as always!