“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strongest pull of what you really love, it will not lead you astray”-Rumi.

Writing, reading, and words in general have been one of my long-time true loves.  I used to write all the time, filling numerous journals, diaries, and notebooks, as well as writing short stories and the occasional attempt at poetry.  There was a time when I thought I wanted to be a journalist or writer.

Now I want to be an artist.  Or, more accurately, I am an artist.  At least that’s what I keep telling myself.  It’s been a long journey but I’ve finally reached  a place where I can say those words out loud and put them in writing to share with the whole world wide interwebs.  I am an artist.

In truth I think I have always been an artist.   As a child I filled endless boxes with drawings, stories, paintings and creations, all of which are still languishing in boxes somewhere in my folks house.  My mother says I was a very easy, calm child and the only tantrums thrown were in response to not getting my daily “art time” in.  I’ve spent my whole life creating in one way or another but for some reason (fears, doubts, and societal expectations, to name a few) I wasn’t able to own the title of artist and all that comes with it until recently.

A few years back I graduated from a small liberal arts college and took a somewhat soul sucking non-profit job in Northern California for a year.  This confirmed my suspicion that the whole 9-5 desk gig wasn’t for me (or for anyone really, in my opinion).  What followed was what I refer to as my “Quarter Life Crisis,” wherein I made myself physically sick from the stress and worry of trying to figure out what I “wanted to be when I grow up.”

I finished the job and spent a bit of time traveling in Australia and Thailand with college girlfriends.  Then through an unforeseen series of events (ok, I’ll admit it, a boy was involved) I ended up moving back to my small, green, soggy coastal Oregon town.  And although the relationship didn’t pan out I’m still here, surprisingly, two years later.  And most surprising of all?  I absolutely love my life here.  I have created a simple, beautiful day to day life for myself, full of friends, family and community, gorgeous local food, art, music, and of course my dramatic, temperamental, rugged Oregon coastline and all of the outdoor pursuits she provides.

Best of all?  In creating this life I found, for the first time in my adult years, the time and space to again be that creative person I was as a small child.  I set up an art space in my tiny studio apartment and began drawing and painting again.  I spent that first winter wandering the deserted winter backroads of my coastal tourist town, alone in the pouring rain, loving every minute of it, then coming home to paint what I had seen.  I gathered flowers in the spring, filling my house with bouquets and paintings of them.

At some point I started making jewelry again, something I had also done as a child.  I have long been a collector, wearer and general lover of jewelry so it seemed a natural progression to start making it.  I started out making bottle cap earrings but soon moved onto other materials and designs.  I made pieces for myself,  then for family and friends.  Folks started asking me to make them jewelry, and eventually I began selling my work at a few local (and immensely supportive) businesses.

For the first year and a half all of this happened in this wonderfully organic way which didn’t require me to commit to anything, or to admit to myself that I was pursuing a career as an “artist.”  In my mind it was just a hobby, something I did on the side.

Then, a few months ago, I looked at my life and  thought “This is IT.  This is what I want to do!”  When I thought about my life in 10, or even 20, years, I couldn’t imagine myself doing something that wasn’t creative.  So, after working through some fears and doubts, I set out in earnest to start my own business and Roots & Wings Jewelry was born!

So far it has been scary, exciting, exhausting, and completely wonderful all at once.  I am immensely excited about the things to come, which brings us finally to this blog you are currently reading.  I wanted a space to be able to share my creative process, my art, and all of the little things I come across in my day that inspire and influence me.

My hope is that it will be a fun creative outlet for me, and perhaps inspire you to go out and pursue your own dream.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to meeting you here again very soon.

~Ashley

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