Interview with Sonia Fielding, who designs and makes beaded jewellery.
Where did your interest in beading and jewellery making begin?
To be totally honest, I’m not sure where the interest in beading began, although as a child I never was interested in dolls, toys or games, I only ever wanted to play with craft kits and make things. I made my first pair of earrings when I was 7 and I sold them for $ 1.00. Even at that young age, I had an enterprising mind!
What was it that attracted you to it?
That’s easy, it was definitely the vibrate colours and variety of shapes and styles of the beads. I just loved mixing different beads together; different sizes, shapes, colours, styles and I would just throw them all in a bowl and see what would look good together. Then it was just a matter of working out what I wanted to make.
In 2003 I was diagnosed with social anxiety and severe depression and I was placed on medication and attending counseling. Social anxiety meant that I had terrible trouble interacting with the “outside world” and during the dark times, I was virtually a prisoner in my own home as I didn’t want to speak or see anyone. This included my closest friends, family and work colleagues. Unfortunately my condition worsened and I checked myself into a psychiatric clinic to hopefully get to the root of the problem. During one of my counseling sessions, it was revealed that one of the causes of my anxiety was feeling that I wasn’t “good enough”, so to avoid any kind of criticism or judgment from people, I would hide away from them.
A form of clinical therapy was “art therapy”
which involved expressing your ideas and feelings through the form of
art. It took me back to kindergarten – I was surrounded by pencils,
paper, paints, glue, glitter, chalk, clay, fabric and I was in heaven!
It was a far cry from someone showing you an ink blob and you telling
them that it looked like a butterfly, although I’ve since found
out that only happens in the movies !
I had tried many crafts in the past; floral arranging, card making, knitting, sewing, glass painting, but the one craft pursuit that I always came back to was beading.
After being discharged from hospital, I dug out
my many boxes of craft materials and there they were, thousands of beautiful,
sparkling, glittering, colourful beads and the love was rekindled!
How did you learn the basics of jewellery making?
I am 100% self taught. I never went to any classes, or had lessons, so it was mainly all trial and error. I guess having all those craft kits as a child probably helped and in my adult years I have subscribed to a number of different craft magazines which have given me a few tips and hints. To be totally honest, I think the best way to learn is just to give it a go – you have NOTHING to lose!
How would you describe the style of your jewellery?
Bold, bright and beautiful! Each piece I make is unique and I never make two pieces the same. I name each of my jewellery designs as I want them to have their own personalities and individual style. To me they are more than a piece of jewellery, they are an extension of my own quirky personality.
What have you been working on this week?
I am showcasing a selection of my jewellery as part of the upcoming South Australian Living Artist’s Festival (SALA), so I’m busily working on some pieces for the exhibition. I have made some eye catching new designs with quirky names such as “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Who Wear Pink” (shown at right) and “Disco Diva on the Dancefloor”.
What are some of the materials you use in your jewellery?
I use mainly glass beads and these include lampwork,
foil lined, cats eye, and dichroic. I also use crystals, Bali silver pewter
charms, shells, bone, leather thonging and silver plated chain.