Today we’d like to introduce you to Patricia Violante.
Hi Patricia, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
I began creating jewelry about 17 years ago when my three children were very young.
I would get them to bed and then start beading necklaces and bracelets. It was definitely a creative outlet for me and gave me time to breathe and relax, assuming my children always stayed in the bed asleep!
I loved starting with an idea in my mind and seeing it come into existence. I gained satisfaction and joy by creating something that I thought was beautiful and useful. My style and medium began to slowly evolve.
At first, only used stone and metal beads, then made character beads from polymer clay, stamping metal, and now mainly work with wood creating jewelry and small gifts. I’m drawn to florals and use them on many of my wood pieces. Nature has always been an inspiration to me. I have always had a deep love for wood and its beauty, its resilience, and versatility. Wood has become my main element in design.
I love the texture, the smell, and the final look after a piece has been burned. Early on, I would draw a design or use a stamp to place a design on the wood, and then, I would use a wood-burning pen to burn the design into the wood. Now I have a wonderful machine that helps me do that more efficiently.
Then I will sand, sometimes paint, and add a sealant to my final design.
I like to create timeless pieces as well as fun whimsical ones, like my mini stud earrings, which are favorites at markets and craft shows. Working with these natural elements combined with different methods and techniques has really developed into my style and how people have come to know my designs.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Finding my “thing” wasn’t easy. I would go from one crafting venture to another trying to make what I thought others would like and value.
Of course, in business there is an element to that, however, I began to understand I needed and wanted to hone in on a set of skills and develop those skills with a material that I enjoyed and that inspired me. I wanted to know my craft and the materials that I worked with well.
Jumping from one thing to another didn’t create an environment or mindset for me to do that. Over time I have learned what I really like to create and what I value. It’s taken time, effort, taking risks, and faith to build skill and knowledge for my craft. Much of which came through trial and error.
I also learned a lot from talking to other makers and artists, being part of different art fairs, and craft shows, as well as reading and researching. I’m still learning and taking risks. It keeps me growing in my craft as well as in life.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I use wood to make jewelry and small gifts. I enjoy making inspirational items with words of encouragement and inspiration from nature, mainly flowers, and botanicals. I love to make things that tell a story or bring a certain feel to the person who receives them. Like a feeling of nostalgia.
A pair of earrings can create joy every time you wear them. A bracelet with a word of affirmation can help you through your day. An ornament can let you revisit special memories every year you hang it on your tree. I am most proud that I never gave up on creating, learning, evolving, and being vulnerable enough to share it with the world.
It’s so encouraging when someone comes back to me at a market and says how one of my designs has become their favorite pair of earrings to wear or their friend or family member loved the gift they gave them. People are always amazed at the level of detail in my pieces and that I hand-paint each one.
I think that is one thing that I have become known and appreciated for in my work.
We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
I was reminded that as people, we need and crave connection with each other. Some of us prefer a small setting with one or two people and some enjoy larger crowds.
The common thread is that we all want to connect with someone in a meaningful way. As Markets and Craft Fairs began to open back up, people were eager to come out and talk and enjoy learning about how I made my items. I felt a lot of support, respect, and encouragement through that.
People valued the time, effort, and process of my handmade small business goods. There is so much value in connecting with customers and other makers. The spirit of fellowship is good indeed. We all need that.