The short story?
Our oldest daughter Lyra is a fish-always in the water. When she was little, I took a nap with her and had a dream that she was a mermaid with a long flowing green tail. I got up from the nap and made the first ‘mermaid’ style bracelet for S.K. Rhoades Jewelry.
The long story?
I was a late bloomer and finished my degree in art late in my 20’s when I was already married to my high school sweetheart, but no children. In an art history class during my senior year the professor talked about women in art and how they still had very few seats at the big table. If a female artist was married, her chances for success were less and if the female artist had children, her chances were almost zero.
I really struggled with the idea that if I had children then I could not be who I was meant to be.
Then I graduated and about a week later my husband decided we should finally try to have a baby. Oh my. The emotions. Another week later I got the 1st call from a gallery that wanted to represent my artwork.
Nick and I agreed to wait a year for a baby, and I put my work in several galleries and began traveling to art shows. One year became two as we struggled with mild infertility to get sweet Lyra and I continued to work a full-time job and pursue my ‘true work’ on my nights and weekends off.
The year Lyra turned 3 I landed my dream job as a fine craft curator at a prominent mid-western contemporary gallery where I had the opportunity to work with international art superstars. The same year my jewelry landed a national award and my 1st national magazine cover. That was the year I feel like I finally came alive and found my wings. I was an artist, with a seat at the table, and a mother.
A year and a half later we welcomed Wren into our lives.
Then that dream.
That mermaid dream.
A dream inspired by Lyra and Wren.
Making that mermaid bracelet and connecting my art with the experience of mothering was a lightning rod for creativity, success, and a motivation for exploring other forms of artwork that we could enjoy together. Through that exploration The Confectionery was born, and the mermaid became a symbol of freedom, joy, and whimsy.
My children are the good work that I was meant to do as an artist. They are not holding me back, the experience of being their mother is lifting me up. Making me better and making me whole. I will not lie, balance is still something I struggle with, but I would not trade this life for any other.
Someone else’s truth is not always your truth. Art can be many things-including items that you use and enjoy in your daily life, like a simple and sweet little bar of soap. I do not need to live in New York and have my work in a ‘big’ gallery to be someone else’s version of successful. Success is finding your personal joy and living it truthfully. And every mermaid in our new shop represents that for me. Joy. Love. Motherhood. Art.
I am so excited to share that inspiration with you in our new space where you will find my jewelry, our line of skin loving sweet treats, and work from female artists, local makers, and good things to warm your soul and spark joy.