One lovely day last summer, I received an unexpected phone call with incredible news that would change my life: I had been awarded the 2012 Halstead Grant!
The previous spring, when the application deadline was approaching, I was hesitant to apply, despite the encouragement of jeweler friends. It seemed like a long shot, and sounded like a lot of work to get an application together – plus I was resistant to the idea of outlining my business plan. Sitting down with those realities sounded to me like facing the possibility that this dream of mine to make a living as a self-employed jewelry artist might not work out after all. However, as I went through the application process, I discovered that not only could I see how this path could actually work out for me, but also that I wanted it more than ever, and that I truly believed that I could make it happen.
When I applied, I’d had the feeling that the next step for me was to do a large wholesale show, which requires a significant investment of time, money, and energy. Miraculously, I was given the money – which was followed by the realization that I would have to figure out how to do the rest! I’ve been so fortunate to have had the help and advice from countless friends and mentors, who seem to arrive in my life exactly when I need them. This year, I exhibited at both the Buyers Market of American Craft in Philadelphia and at the American Craft Council show in Baltimore. Being at these shows was wonderful for my business, as I made great connections with galleries, museums, press, and other artists. It was also hugely important in a more personal way, giving me the opportunity to share my work and my stories with so many people, hearing their stories in return, and affirming my direction through that resonance.
The phone call from Hilary Halstead was the beginning a landslide of amazing press and recognition that has continued throughout the year! It has led to countless remarkable events and people in my life, and when I stop to reflect on the year, I am filled with gratitude and wonder. Even beyond the hugely generous grant and all of the attention that followed, the real gift from Halstead Bead has been their belief in my work, and in my ability to make my business a success. This is a powerful thing to experience, and I can’t wait to see who will be the next grant winner! Get ready…
To find out more about her jewelry, upcoming shows and featured galleries, visit her website at Susan Elnora.
Halstead awards a business grant to a new jewelry designer in the bridge segment each summer. The grant awards $6,000 in start-up capital and merchandise to a new design company. If you are starting a new jewelry design business, please check out the 2013 jewelry grant application and eligibility details.