Thursday, August 23, 2007

Far Afield Ring (By Far Afield)

River Blues Earrings by Far Afield

An Interview with Polly (Far Afield)

I first met Polly a few years ago when she lived in Maine. From the first meeting, I felt honored to be in Polly’s presence…such a gentle, wise and thought filled person. Talented, too. She’s the owner of Far Afield, a jewelry store on The alternative to ordinary.

“I find it hard to talk about why I love to create jewelry,” Polly admits. “All my life, I have dabbled in creative writing and art, but I wasn’t really into crafts. It sounds funny, but I feel like making jewelry is something I have to do.” Polly is captivated by beautiful stones and colors, by the way wire bends, by the natural world and exotic places, and how moods or images can inspire a piece of jewelry. “Making and selling jewelry is fulfilling to me on many levels.”

The environment is also important to her, as reflected in the stones and the designs of her jewelry--the names of which often make reference to places others might overlook: river blues earrings, aurora borealis ring, floating weeds earrings. She’s made a conscious decision not to purchase genuine coral for her jewelry, as it is an endangered organism. She also recycles her excess sterling silver wire. Polly prefers to purchase handmade products over mass-produced, and tries “whenever possible to personally know the origin or maker of the goods I buy.”

Polly calls her shop “Far Afield” to reflect both a love of travel and the fact that this is 'far afield' from her former career working at universities. “To me being far afield means stepping outside of your comfort zone, being open to adventure, seeing through new eyes. That is when we feel most alive.”

I’ve seen Polly go gracefully through some significant changes since I’ve known her. Moving with her husband from Maine to Pennsylvania. Selling the house in Maine and looking for (and buying) a house in an unfamiliar part of the country. Becoming a mom for the first time and deciding to stay home instead of returning right away to the work place. And, in 2006, opening her shop on Etsy. Her love of learning, growth and introspection is something truly to be admired.

Polly’s favorite musical artists include: Mary Chapin Carpenter, Dar Williams, Shawn Colvin, more contemporary folk, and Tom Waits.

As for the shoes Polly wears… “I’ve never been a shoe person,” she says. “They’re mainly an afterthought for me, and just have to be comfortable. Since becoming a stay-at-home-mom, my choices have been able to lean even further in the direction of comfort! I usually wear flip-flops, sandals, or slip-on clogs in the summer; in the winter I add socks to the clogs and occasionally wear winter boots or other leather shoes without ties.” Her favorite shoes have cool texture- like pebbly leather, soft suede. She did make a big splurge (for her anyway) on a pair of patent leather–finish rubber boots she bought in an airport on the way to Europe. She likes texture and variety in her jewelry, too. “Sometimes I prefer rugged and earthy, and other times modern and streamlined, like my funny boots.”

Polly’s work can now be found at the Bonita Bead Boutique in Maumee, Ohio. If you live in that area please come check out their shop!

Polly has a flickr page where she unsystematically uploads pictures now and again of her work. Her Captiva Ring is featured on (See July 16), and also in the August 12 version of the Southwest Florida News-Press.

What Shoes Polly Wears

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

First Etsy Sale for Rape Response Services

It's fitting the first Etsy sale for the September Rape Response Services fundraiser was this Flower Postcard by Kathy of Beauty Flower Poem. Congratulations Kathy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Work by Beauty Flower Poem

Marie Dobash: A Folk Artist Remembered

An Interview With Kathy (Beauty Flower Poem)

I first met Kathy last spring through where she has an on-line shop called Beauty Flower Poem. Kathy is an experienced artist and art teacher and works with a variety of materials. You’ll find in her shop watercolors and postcards featuring nature and female figures as their theme, as well as copies of her book "I Have No Arms!" The book is a collection of eight poems that focus on recovery from traumatic experiences. She is also collaborating on three book projects with photographer Marlin Wagner. Kathy donates a portion of her profits to such organizations as (where she is an official RAINNmaker), Rape Response Services, and Artists for Autism.

Kathy draws inspiration from her mother, Marie Dobash, a folk artist who at 82 continued to paint despite illness. Marie used a TV tray as her art studio. "I just let the brush tell me what to do," she told Kathy. "I paint and daydream."

Marie died in the spring of 2007 and Kathy honors her mother’s life and memory by continuing to reproduce her mother’s work. Marie’s whimsical bird, fish and landscape, and flower notecards may be found in Kathy’s shop. Shortly before she died, Marie also participated in the Rape Response Services fundraiser held in April 2007.

Marie encouraged her questioning daughter to work with children. "You can still reach them when they are young." Both mother and daughter found contentment with living in the moment…and, it seems, the little things of life: sharing lunch together at bedside, listening to polka music, taking photographs (of flowers, architecture, children creating art, family), and painting together to inspire creativity. Their bond was (and still is) based in the spiritual. They prayed together, read affirmations aloud, and focused on helping others.

When life gets tough, Kathy focuses on solutions, setting goals and achieving them. She pushes negative, irrational thoughts away and tells herself "I can try again tomorrow." She focuses on accomplishments, not failures. "Learn from the mistakes," she recommends, "and MOVE on."

Kathy’s main goal is to leave some positive energy with her art, writing, etc. "I hope that anything I accomplish, whether it is the smile on an individual’s face or some art that is in a gallery to view, that it is remembered and leaves my mark on this planet.
That is the way I get through life's trying moments."

Each day, Kathy reflects on what she’s accomplished and plans for the next. She’s facing some big transitions since her mother’s passing. "Right now I am not sure where I will live when the house is sold, but I know I will be okay...I am a survivor."