Sweet 16. Do you remember turning sixteen?
For me, it was a time in my life that I felt confident in myself. My awkward phase was coming to a close (well mostly, except for maybe when I was around a certain boy), I loved school, was big into sports, and had my license to drive. Life was good.
I also remember my oldest daughter turning 16. She didn’t want any fanfare. She’s private like that. It was a way bigger deal for me that it was for her, “Just another birthday, Moooom.” <insert deep sigh> We are really different as people, but also very alike, as I think only mom’s and daughters can be. I hope that she will look back on her 16th and have positive thoughts about that time in her life like I do.
That span of 16 years seems really short when you are talking about age. However, translate that into marriage, or say a job, and it seems like forever and a day. Perspective, amiright?
Sixteen years ago, Daisy Chains Jewelry became a Thing. Not just on paper, but in my heart —in my soul. I’m not sure if my hubby understands what he gave me the day he suggested that I make Daisy Chains a business. The day he saw the flicker of something bigger in this then, little hobby of mine. It has changed who I am. Who I want to be. There are even some days I’m not sure that there is a beginning or an end between me and this Thing called DCJ.
In its infancy, DCJ was just me staying up until 3am, watching Craig Ferguson, and making jewelry as I ignored kicks from inside my baby bump. My first real art fair was in 2004. Everyone I cared about was there, my hubby, my (at the time) 2 daughters, friends, family, you name it. I even bought a t-shirt to commemorate the event. This one day was such a big accomplishment for me as a full-time art director/graphic designer, and part-time business owner. People liked my work. Not only liked it, but BOUGHT it. Quite surreal now that I think about it.
One art fair became 2, then 4, you get the picture. Every year DCJ grew a little more.
Eventually, I found myself with opportunities, such as having my work in stores. Dancing Eye Gallery in Northville, Michigan, was the first store that ever carried my work. In fact, it is fitting that this year I will be doing a trunk show with Dancing Eye’s owner, Theresa, on Northville’s First Friday of November. I’ve always felt so grateful, and humbled by my relationships with store owners that see my work and want to connect. In fact, it will be 8 years that I have been with Yellow Door Art Market in Berkley, Michigan. Half of my 16 years. Wow.
However, not all of my ideas have had staying power. And still, DCJ, this Thing, kept growing. Baby steps mind you. But growing none the less. My show list at a high, reached 12-13…counting my winter season. Not many compared to some of my fellow artists on the show circuit. But, talk about a crazy lifestyle with 3 small children during the summer! Somehow we made it work. And, as my daughters have grown, they’ve had a chance to see mom work hard, deal with challenges, interact with people from all walks of life, celebrate wins, most importantly be a Girl Boss and learn that you CAN help support a family with a career in art.
Let’s not, however, forget the most important part of this.
YOU. Formally you are the Tribe, but informally, you are my “Art Fair Framily”. Framily (friend-family) is fitting, because we share so much. Births, birthdays, anniversaries. I know your husbands, and your children, and your mothers and sisters. Your children graduate from high school and college, and visit me to buy you gifts. We celebrate wins, and mourn our losses. Our visits start with hugs and end with hugs and well wishes until we meet again.
I am often asked if I will ever stop doing art fairs. I just cannot imagine it. It is my ability to see, and be, with you. The idea of giving that up makes my stomach hurt. Things evolve I guess, but for now I’m incredibly content.
As I write this, I find that I could go on forever about how DCJ, this Thing, has changed me. But it isn’t just DCJ, it’s you. You have changed me. Made my life richer. Made me see my art more clearly, made me realize what I value, and what inspires me. So, as I celebrate Daisy Chains Jewelry’s Sweet 16, I also celebrate us. You and me. Our busy lives, struggles with balance, our appreciation for simplicity, our love of details and pretty things. Thanks for being part of this crazy ride. For taking that first step into my 10×10 space at that first art fair. Thank you for shopping local and supporting artists who make things by hand. Most of all, thank you for really seeing my work and appreciating what I do.
Much love and gratitude. (…and cake. Every birthday needs cake!)