Introduction to the Paisley Lizard

Paisley Lizard logo

The Paisley Lizard logo, designed by Lauren Williams/OMG designs.

Welcome to the first blog post from Paisley Lizard, my creative alter ego. I thought I’d kick off my blogging adventure by telling you my story.

I have a career in environmental compliance that followed from an education in biology, chemistry, oceanography, and wildlife management. I create things with words: policy document, environmental impact assessments, technical reports, various and assorted emails and memoranda. It’s fulfilling to contribute, in my small way, to conservation of precious marine resources.

There’s not much room for creative expression within the confines of federal laws for protecting marine mammals, endangered species, and marine habitat. And that’s as it should be.  But when I’m not busy, I find myself daydreaming about beads and polymer clay and sewing projects, and yearning for the weekends when I can make more tangible objects.

Amethyst beaded dangle earrings

The first pair of earrings I made, and then re-made.

As satisfying as my career is, and as much as I love words, I also need to make shiny things. I grew up in a creative hands-on family.  My mother was very artsy-crafty, and I learned to cross-stitch, embroider, crochet, macrame, sew, and cook/bake from her. My dad can draw, paint, and play guitar (though he hasn’t in a very long time), and build cars from pieces of bare metal. My grandfather was a carpenter, and the kind of baker who never used measuring cups yet always created flawlessly delicious pie crusts. He and my grandmother – also a wonderful cook – made spectacular cross-stitch square quilts together.

I picked up jewelry-making, and developed my bead habit, about 13 years ago. A couple of friends at work make beaded jewelry and one offered to show me how to modify a pair of earrings that weren’t long and dangly enough for me. She took me to a bead store, where I was overwhelmed by the walls of glass and gemstone beads. I chose a single strand of rainbow flourite beads. What I secretly wanted was one of everything.

I also bought a cheap – inexpensive and, as I later learned, worthless – pair of pliers, and some head pins.  My collection of beads, pliers, findings (as headpins, ear wires, and other things with which jewelry is assembled are called), and other jewelry-making supplies, plus polymer clay and the tools of that trade (which is a story for another day),  quickly grew to overtake the plastic shoebox I started with. It now occupies a substantial amount of square-footage in my home. And that makes me happy.

So …that’s my story. Or at least, that’s the condensed version of how I came to make jewelry. I’m not sure where I am going with this blog, but I hope you will stay tuned for more about Paisley Lizard, jewelry, polymer clay, cupcakes (did I mention I bake gourmet cupcakes as a hobby too?), and whatever else pops out of my mind.