Thursday, August 23, 2007

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.

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