November's artist feature is especially important to me because the artist is important to me. The Bead Gypsy is my mom, Rebecca Rosenkrans.
Where do I begin?
My mom has always been creative. While growing up, our home was decorated beautifully and a little ahead of its time in terms of style and decor. She was always dabbling in cross-stitch, rug latching (remember those kits!?), sewing... in fact, she made some clothes for me when I was younger when we found a colorful bolt of fabric we couldn't resist. And her creativity shines in her personal style. Have you met my mom? She's always dressed beautifully with just the right scarf or jacket. We tease her about her accessories of course. It's absolutely true that she can't sneak up on anyone because you can hear the gentle "clink-clank" of her multiple layers of bracelets where ever she goes... she even sleeps in them. I like to think of it as her calling card.
I clearly remember when my mom began making jewelry. My brother and I had long flown the nest and she was working as a Guardian Ad Litem in the court system. It was a very rewarding but stressful job and to decompress at the end of the day or on weekends, she began to string beads. I still have some of her earliest pieces. It's inspiring to know that she is celebrating her 25th year of jewelry making this month.
('She believed she could... so she did' engraved on a silver spoon waiting for its next life as a bracelet or pendant.)
Until about five years ago, my mom would travel to local and regional art shows and outdoor venues to peddle her jewelry. My dad would tirelessly put up the canopy and tear down the canopy - her displays were full of detail and it was exhausting, but they managed it for many years. My mom lovingly referred to my dad as the "Bead Gypsy Helper Boy" which I think my dad secretly enjoyed.
For much of her art career, she has sold or consigned her jewelry from the East coast in her sister's art galleries, to the Southern part of the country in my cousin's pottery studio as well as shops and studios right here where I live in Central Minnesota.
It is not uncommon for the Bead Gypsy to receive orders from far-reaching corners and she's always happy to oblige because her passion is making her customers happy. One of the many ways my mom gives back is through what she refers to as her personal "mission work." She loves to donate jewelry or proceeds earned from her sales. Her mission work shows up in many ways, whether it's through donations made to the local ALS Foundation chapter, a special piece created for a friend or when a community member has experienced a life-changing event. It's just her way... thoughtfully and selflessly giving to others.
We've just spent our first official summer together at the Shoppe and I'd quietly smile to myself when the metal pounding began. Imagine this tiny woman picking up the equivalent of a hand-held sledge hammer and pounding away. I suspect it was frustration relief for her and what comes from the noise is beautiful metal work that is used to create wearable art. The Bead Gypsy loves recreating old pieces into new. Some of her popular items include her spoon handle bracelets, spoon ladle pendants and her latest invention - fork tine rings!
My mom is the definition of thriving - always energized by the work and consistently looking for new ideas, new challenges and ways of meeting her customer's needs and wants. Famously, my mom will smile and tell our customers as they enter the Shoppe, "There's really nothing here you need... but you'll likely find something you want." Very true indeed.
The Bead Gypsy's tag line aptly reads,
"In honor of strong, creative and beautiful women everywhere."
Thank you, mom for being a living example of these attributes for me and for the countless lives you touch every day... it's one of my greatest joys to be on this adventure with you.
To learn more about the Bead Gypsy's creations, visit her Facebook page!