I first learned about Esther Sullivan's work a few months ago when she moved into the studio across the hall from mine. I immediately fell in love with the simplicity and thoughtfulness of her designs. Esther graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Metalsmithing. After graduation, she worked for two different jewelry designers before making the decision to go out on her own.
Esther's work is influenced by her time in nature. She finds objects such as those shown below, to inspire both her spirit and her work. History and connection are an integral part of her designs. She enjoys seeing others relate their own story to her pieces. She also uses reclaimed metal that comes with a history and story of it’s own. Even the tools she uses to make her jewelry have been passed down by her grandfather. Sitting with her in her studio, you can feel the inspiration and connection in the space that she has created.
When I went to visit her this week, we talked about an important topic: how do you manage your business when you’re dealing with real life issues. The reality is that as a small business owner you don’t get paid vacation or sick days. And the demands from retailers, scheduled shows, and customers don’t stop because you’re dealing with “life.”
Esther laughs as she describes being in her studio as “facing myself.” She believes there is a fine balance between being easy on yourself and encouraging yourself to get through it. Over time, Esther has gained greater self-awareness that helps her to make this decision.
For Esther, starting is the hardest part. However, once she gets started, she doesn’t want to stop. Esther finds that just showing up helps her to get motivated. She also balances her time between working on new and old designs. New designs help keep her inspired and prevent boredom, while old designs help her when she is procrastinating or stuck.
Thanks Esther for sharing your insights! You can find more of her work at www.esthersullivan.com.