Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Burnt Offerings" and finding an old love again.

About a decade ago, when I first found I was addicted to polymer clay, I fell in love with doing filigree work. I discovered eventually I could blend my clay colors as I was extruding them, and I became even more entranced.

Shortly after this, I became a victim of a violent crime. I was at work, and a guy put a gun up to my head while he robbed us. I immediately had a severe post traumatic stress attack. I couldn't leave my house or go anywhere by myself, and work was out of the question. I sat around and thought about the incident over and over. My husband had to drive me to therapy appointments, because I thought I saw this guys car every time I got behind the wheel. After a week or two I eventually turned to my clay and my new discovery. For almost a month, I worked on these beads. While working on the beads, I just blocked everything out, and would get so caught up in them that I forgot to think about the armed robbery. That is just the way it is whenever I do the filigree work. They really did help me to heal. The beads are quite large, I really never meant to wear it. It was meant as an art piece, even though I didn't consider myself to be an artist at that time. A friend talked me into submitting them to a magazine, Jewelry Crafts, and to my amazement, they published the piece, with my instructions.

I ended up developing fibromyalgia shortly after the armed robbery (there is a connection!) and over the years, my clay went on the back burner. I spent the last 3 yrs trying to work full time at the bead store, and that didn't really leave me much energy for my clay. I was still teaching polymer clay, but rarely brought the clay out just for myself. About a year ago, I decided I wanted to try some filigree again. I remembered how therapeutic it was, sitting and coiling the strands of clay, gently making precise cuts so everything fit together like a glove. I don't know how to explain it, other then it's almost like a trance-like state.

I had been at a bead show last year, and my friends at Sonoran Beads had trays of Kazuri beads. I have a great fondness for Kazuri beads, click on my link and read about how they are created! One of the trays held a beautiful selection of muted green beads and bright deep red beads. I was drawn to them immediately. When I got home that night I started working on my first filigree beads in many years. This bead was going to be this light happy celery colored bead and looked beautiful when I put it in the oven. Of course, my temp was off, I hadn't turned on my convection oven in months. The bead toasted and turned this darker, very gray shade of green. I was disgusted at first, but the more I looked at it, the more I thought, wait a minute, it's EVEN better then before! Some of the beads I picked out had that same exact shade! Serendipity! I love that! I made more beads, and more jewelry, and they are some of my favorites to wear now.


fibrohaven said...

I am stunned by the beauty of your beads. When I look at them I feel a sense of peace.

I am so sorry for the violent incident that triggered your Fibromyalgia, and yes there is a connection. I think most great artists create out of a need to cleanse their mind and psyche - Frida, Virginia Woolf, etc. You are most certainly an artist! I am glad you have this outlet and thank you for sharing it with us.

You should sell your wearable art on Etsy. Here is the link:

Kellie Robinson said...

fibrohaven, I have to tell you I had mixed feelings about posting this blog. I really thought my artsy friends would have no interest in my health problems. I thought about it for over a month before I finally posted it.

I am very new to blogging, and don't at all understand how you found my post, but I am so glad you did. of all the posts I might possibly get, I can promise you that yours will mean the most to me. I found your blog about a month or so ago, and have found it to be the most up to date, SMARTEST, no bullshit info on fibromyalgia. I wish everyone in my life read your blog. I have been devouring your blog! it's not just the info on your blog, but the artistic element I find speaks to me.

funny you should mention etsy...about a week ago I started my etsy shop.

it's slow going. trying to photograph everything and get it uploaded. I wanted to add something every day this week, but you know how it is. I have fibromyalgia! it interferes!

I don't even know if you will see my post, I couldn't figure out how to email you. thank you. thank you so very much.


fibrohaven said...

Kellie your comment means a lot to me. I have had several really great moments since I began my blog, and reading your comment is definitely one of them!

Can you please e-mail me directly fibrohaven (at) gmail (dot) com. I would like to ask your permission to write a post about your blog, your art, and our dialogue. I want to celebrate your courage for writing this post and I think it might help encourage others. I applaud you for being brave enough to share.

Thank you Kellie! You made my day.
Dannette - fibrohaven

Tonja Lenderman said...

Kellie, What a scary thing to go through. I wish I could give you a real big hug , but since the real thing isn't possible this will have to do ((((((HUG)))))) Be well and drop me a line sometime if you just need to talk.

I think about you from time to time. Wonder how you are doing and remember it you that got me over to PCC, starting me down the road of my polymer clay addiction. Thank you :) Having an outlet for my creativity had kept me sane all these years. Especially now. My out of work BIL has been living with us for the past 2+ years. (God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change.....) LOL

I love your new filigree designs with the textured areas. Brilliant !! And it's definitely art. Face it, you are an artist. :)

AmyK said...

Dear Kellie,
I just read "fibrohaven"'s post about connections through our stories and comments, and her inclusion of you and your story in her post was most inspiring to me! I am in love with your jewelry and creations, most definitely works of art!
I am also very sorry for the violent experience you had, along with the ptsd and development of fibromyalgia. I do not wish these things on anyone, although, I am personally happy to know another person who understands the connections and what it is like to live with these types of challenges! I also have fibromyalgia, PTSD, depression, etc. and find a lot of healing through writing and painting with watercolors.
Would love to know how to find the issue of the magazine that you were featured in!
Please read my comment on Fibrohaven's blog post that features you and your work, and come explore my blog as well, if you wish. It would bless me greatly. (
Also, I am going to add your blog to my blogroll!
Peace and blessings,
Amy K