What inspired you to start an Etsy shop:
I had a shop on Ebay for several years that sold vintage religious medals. I loved it, but it was LOTS of work! I always had to be listing new items, mailing listings that had ended, and keeping track of which listings ended on which days. I was spending way more time on the computer than I liked, and since the listings were auction-style, I wasn't able to set fair prices. Some medals were sold for much more than they were worth, while others went for a song.
Enter Etsy! When I saw that it had a vintage section, I was thrilled and pretty soon I had abandoned Ebay for Etsy. I find with my Etsy store, I spend much less time on the computer, I'm able to control my pricing, and I can sell the jewelry and hand cast medals that I enjoy making in addition to vintage pieces.
Tell us about your art:
I've always loved the connection antique items have to the past. When I see a beautiful antique medal, I think about who has worn it, where it's been, and what it meant to the original owner. I love giving these items a second life with new owners who will continue to cherish and enjoy these medals for years to come.
I also have a great devotion to the communion of saints. I was not born Catholic, but converted after I was married. I initially had a difficult time understanding saints, but as I came to appreciate their love for us and understand that the live on in heaven caring for us, I wanted to learn more and more about each of them. However, I was still unsure about actually "praying to" a saint. I read a little book on St Therese of Lisieux and decided that I would try praying to her, but only if it was pleasing to Jesus! So I prayed that Jesus and St Therese would show me that it was ok by sending me a rose.
After a few days, I came in one evening to find the mail stacked on our front table. On the top of the mail were two booklets. On the top was a little inspirational book of Catholic prayers that had come that afternoon. Jesus was looking up at me from the cover. It was the most beautiful picture of him that I had ever seen! (I later came to find out that it was from St Faustina's Divine Mercy picture). Immediately beneath it was a gardening catalogue with "Our Catalogue of 1000 Roses!" boldy written across the cover! I instantly knew that this was an answer to my prayer - especially when my husband told me that he had thrown the devotional book in the trash (!!!) and then fished it back out to put on the front table because he thought I might like it.
OK, now that I look back on what I've written, I'm not sure how much it tells about my art! But I think it tells about the inspiration behind my art of re-cast vintage religious medals and selling true vintage and antique medals. I just want to tell everyone about the human stories, devotion, and holiness of the saints so people will know that they are our friends in heaven.
Where do you create your items:
I have a little sun room off of our living room that I love to use to create jewelry and work with my medals. It's not air conditioned (which is a problem here in Atlanta!) or heated, but it's peace and quiet make up for that. And I like how my children or my husband can come in and chat to me any time, but I don't have to be in the middle of everything and can spread out my items as much as I like.
What is your favorite devotion?
My favorite devotion is the scriptural rosary. In the middle ages, those praying the rosary frequently said a verse of scripture before saying each Hail Mary as a way to help them focus on the mystery that decade of the rosary invoked. For example, during the first decade of the Joyful Mysteries where you're suppose to meditate on the Annunciation of Mary, you would say verses associated with that story. For example:
On the first Hail Mary bead:
"The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the Virgin’s name was Mary. (Lk 1:26-27)
Hail Mary full of grace..."
On the second Hail Mary bead:
"He came to her and said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you! (Lk 1:28)
Hail Mary full of grace..."
There are many scriptural rosary booklets available online, but I use one that I downloaded for free from the following site: http://www.cukierski.net/scripturalrosary/scripturalrosary.shtml
Thanks for taking the time to read about my Etsy site and my work! If you're interested in learning more about vintage religious medals, please visit my blog: http://catholiccollector.blogspot.com/
A medal I cast from a mold made from a vintage medal in my collection. It shows the Angel Gabriel.
A beautiful antique medal showing the suffering Christ before his crucifixion.
A necklace I made from a broken vintage rosary.