It’s almost spring and I am back again with a new blog! I have not blogged in a while due to health issues, (will detail in a separate blog) but I am back with the story of another wonderful Etsy artist!
I would like to introduce, Cindi from Lakota Charm! She is another disabled artist of Etsy with mad skills and a touching story. Her art is absolutely stunning and I am so happy to have found her! We have developed a great rapport and a budding friendship….you know what they say….birds of a feather DO flock together! I asked her a series of questions about herself, her artwork and her plans for the future. Without further ado…here is Cindi’s story in her own words.
I was in a very bad motorcycle accident in 2008. I have screws holding my shoulder together and I had to have a foot reattached that was ripped off in my accident. Since my accident, I have had numerous problems with my bones and joints. I now suffer from a degenerative bone and disc disease which is extremely painful. I have days where I am unable to walk or get out of bed on my own. Because of this, I am unable to work a regular job as I can not be on my feet for long periods of time and cannot be seated for long periods of time. It is because of this that I decided to start making jewelry as a way to have an income. It is something I enjoy very much.
I enjoy beading and seeing a design come to life. Someone who does Native beading knows the time you put into each piece. You have to love beading to do it because the money you may get from a pair of earrings is very little when you consider the time you put into each one. It truly is a labor of love.
Making and selling my jewelry has changed my life in many ways. It gives you such a sense of pride when someone buys a piece you made because they really love it. It gives someone like me who is fighting a debilitating disease, a sense of worth. When you cannot work and can no longer do some of the things you once did, you can easily fall into depression and you no longer feel like you have any self-worth. Being able to start my own business truly has saved me.
At this point in my work, I am selling my jewelry on Etsy. I have a Facebook page where I introduce many items, and I am in the process of setting up my website. I have also started doing art and craft sales. I hope within the next year to be able to expand and have my pieces for sale in different shops. I would love to be able to someday have my own shop to sell my pieces and to also sell other Native Artists items.
I am inspired by numerous Native artists. There are so many talented Native designers. It seems as though I find someone new all the time. Today I discovered Joy Lynn Parton from Pine Ridge Reservation. She has a store on Etsy called Rez Hoofz & Native Stylez. She has the most amazing painted boots and handbags. They are just beautiful. I encourage everyone to go take a peek.
When I started with Etsy I thought I was never going to sell anything. It took a couple of months to make a sale. But I kept adding items and one day I opened my mail to discover I had made a sale. Since then I have noticed an increase in traffic. More people add my store and my items to their favorites and I make a few sales. I think Etsy is a wonderful place to find beautiful handmade items and to connect with other people who also love making handmade items. I used to put items on Ebay but it has just gotten too pricey. I love Etsy and even with the start of my website and everything else I am planning, I do plan on staying with Etsy and adding more items all the time. I truly love it there.
I am getting married in 2012 and Lakota Charm would never be if it was not for the support of Joe…thank you!
I would also like to thank you, Deborah. I am very honored that you are writing about me. I truly thank you for supporting myself and other Native artists and other disabled individuals who have found a home on Etsy.
Well, there you have it, folks…another sweet, talented individual whom I am so happy to have found on Etsy! Thank you, Cindi for sharing your story with us. I know how hard it can be to talk about our disabilities. But I want others who suffer through disabilities to know that it is NOT the end of being a useful and relevant part of society. Etsy has given so many of us a place to do the things we love to do and help make ends meet as well.
Please visit Cindi’s Etsy shop at http://www.lakotacharm.etsy.com