Amy Cousin is a new addition to Three Sisters Eclectic Arts this fall. However, saying that she is a jewelry artist doesn’t really paint a clear picture of what you get when you look at or wear Amy’s jewelry. She is an artist with healing intentions. Healing herself through art and healing others through the power of gemstones. I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Amy at a glorious Giese Memorial Library in Wyoming, MN and asked her about her “Journey to Jewelry.“My Journey to Jewelry is woven into my journey as a parent. When our first child was born, my husband encouraged me to get a “push gift” for myself something special to commemorate our delivery. I chose a small silverframed bottle pendant. I wore it all the time and kept my favorite fragrance oil in it.
I was constantly on the search for a creative outlet, so for the birth of our 2nd child, my push gift was a pottery class. I first learned how to make pottery in elementary school and really enjoyed it, but I couldn’t give pottery the time I wanted, especially with two children under 2 years old. Several years later after our third child was born, I gifted myself an intro jewelry making class. We covered stringing, pearl knotting, and wirework. Wirework had me at the first bend! I also have a deep connection to gemstones and their energies, so jewelry making turned out to be the best outlet for me.
One of the first pieces I made was a gemstone chain necklace for my bottle pendant. I used to change the necklace according to my favorite gem at the time, when our fifth child was able to participate, I asked each of our children to choose a bead for my necklace and and I’ve worn it this way ever since. I also started making jewelry as a sideline item for our book and gift shop (Sirius Mind and Body). Then other shops started carrying my jewelry (Sirius7 Jewelry). When I closed the brick & mortar shop in 2012, I launched my own line under Amy Cousin Jewelry.”The necklace is stunning in person, as is all of her jewelry. The colors the children chose create a beautiful spectrum around her neck, which is fitting given the variety of color she uses in her work. Amy’s art is more than beautiful, though. It is also eco-friendly. I asked her about this during our meeting.
“I was introduced to recycling metals when one of the local jewelry supply companies asked me if I’d like to try some wire. I have to admit that at first I wasn’t too keen on the idea, but this company was also a refinery, and explained how devastating mining for metals can be not only on the environment, but also for the communities where mining occurs. They explained the process of creating new wire from scraps, and how they maintained producing high quality wire. I was sold and this was way before dirty metals and blood diamond became mainstream social issues. The same thing happened with upcycling: my husband challenged me to make something beautiful out of an old car part (a ballbearing ring). I made a pendant, which I wore until a woman convinced me to sell it to her. Lately I‘ve been making pieces from orphaned flatware, especially earrings from fork tines. I also make pieces with vintage elements I’ve found or have been given, like Czech glass Mardi Gras beads and hand enamelled sterling silver. My favorite shopping stops are hardware stores and yard sales!When I’m working on a piece, I think of it as a treasure in the making and each element is part of its story: these beads came from ___; the metal is ecofriendly; Amy used my grandmother’s favorite earring in this necklace.I think the story of a piece of jewelry is just as important as how it looks.”
This brings us to the thing that makes Amy unique and special from many other jewelers out there. She describes her jewelry as “intentional.” That is not to say that she creates with purpose, though she does. Her jewelry is intentional through the intentions she sets as she creates and the receiver she often has in mind. The stones are chosen for each piece because of the properties that may enhance those intentions. She writes about such topics on her blog.Sound far out? Actually it’s not. As you would expect, Amy has always been intrigued with the stories behind gemstones and their properties. She explains “…most religious/spiritual practices mention the importance of gemstones too … (for example) …Exodus 28:1520 which describes The Breastplate of Aaron; Revelations 21:1821 describes the holy city of crystal with walls of jasper, roads of gold and gates of pearl; gold, silver, rubies and garnets in The Seven Heavens of Islamic belief; Buddha sitting on a diamond throne beneath a Bodhi tree; and Tibetan Dzi beads.”
“We sold tumbled gemstones with lore cards at our book shop, and I would make pendants for customers. Then they started asking me to create custom pieces based on the gemstone’s energetic properties. I always caution customers that the gemstone’s won’t do or make anything happen for you that would be a manipulation instead, I say wearing gemstones is a way to remind the wearer to tap into the vibration or properties associated with gemstones and incorporate those qualities into their lives. I get as much satisfaction sharing the gemstone connection with people as I do making jewelry intentionally designed with those properties in mind. Some of my favorite stones are a rare or not well know like Moldavite, which only found in Bohemia (the Czech Republic). Moldavite is either a meteor that crashed to earth, or a tektite ( the product of a meteor impact) the debate rages on, but I just like the bottle green color and its unique vibration.”I have renamed the above earring “Chandeliers for your Ears.” You can see these and more of Amy Cousin’s beautiful jewelry in the jewelry counter by the main desk at Three Sisters Eclectic Arts. Stop in!