As the Beatles prepared to play their 1st NYC concert at Carnegie Hall, I was born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Growing up as the first of two children, I spent a lot of time playing outside and making my own fun on our family fruit farm in the Niagara fruit belt.
My parents split when I was a teen, and I moved to Sarnia, Ontario with my mother and brother. I explored my artistic talents a bit more as I got older, and entered numerous art shows. During one of these art shows while I was in high school, I had my first piece stolen from the local art gallery!
After high school, I was encouraged to pursue an artistic career, and that led me to study theatre production technology with a special interest in theatrical costuming, and subsequently special effects make-up. My one television credit: The Birth of Language, a documentary that aired on TVO.
While working on the Toronto theatre scene for a few years was fun and creatively rewarding, I eventually realized the transient lifestyle was not for me and I pursued a more stable life as a hotel manager at the world-renowned Sutton Place Hotel.
For several years I mingled with visiting celebrities and heads-of-state, and from them I learned the importance of following your own dreams.
I had started to create jewellery and ornaments on the side during my time as a hotel manager, so when the opportunity came up to open my own art studio & gift shop, I returned to Sarnia and ‘Fred – a store’ was conceived.
It was a tough decision to close the brick and mortar shop in 1997, but as any artisan can tell you, the urge to create will not be denied! I continued to design and craft many styles of original costume jewellery and gift items for sale through various other venues, under the name ‘Bright Ideas’.
I now pursue my craft from the 3rd floor loft of my century home in the old Corktown neighbourhood of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and my workspace can only be described as “controlled chaos”.
This would probably surprise a lot of people because I am generally thought to be quite organized. I guess my creative side just needs to run wild! Operations are overseen by my husband, Andrew, and managed by my helper-kitties – Nelson and Emma.
Combining unexpected and disparate colours, textures and materials in a 3-dimensional, wearable piece of art provides immense satisfaction, and endless opportunity. I think of the whole world as my craft store, so anything is fair game for my creative projects!
Taking ‘Fred – a store’ online provides an exciting opportunity to share my design sensibilities with a wide audience. I enjoy helping others find ‘just the right thing’ to satisfy their jewellery desires and a large proportion of my work is custom, which is as individual as my customers.
Let me know what I can make for YOU!