If you discovered that you could fly — not on a plane, but with faerie wings you suddenly found you possessed — would you do it?
And if you were given the opportunity to make yourself very small (with, of course, the ability to instantly change back) and fly from flower to flower in the garden, would you take it?
Felice Wiens would. The Dayton, WA, jewelry artist, who creates under the name The Eclectic Beader, thinks that the world is a bigger and deeper and richer place than what we’re taught to expect. Through her necklaces, bracelets, chakras, hair clips, earrings and more, she invites others to look beyond the ordinary.
“I have always been drawn to the magical,” Wiens says. “I’ve loved faeries since I was a little girl, and when I discovered that I could make magical pieces myself — pieces that others are drawn to — I knew I found what I wanted to do.”
A Creative Haven for Magic
Working out of a space she carved for herself in the basement (“The only downside is that our three pet cats will, every so often, wander into my space and walk across my work area”), Wiens has set up a creative haven filled with artwork, candles, finished jewelry, and all the raw materials she needs to make magic. There, she winds and weaves, constructs and fabricates, twists and intertwines semi-precious gemstones, Tibetan silver charms, beads, and bronze, copper, silver and gold-planted charms and chains into wearable jewelry art that transports the wearer to an enchanted forest or bewitching beach. The goal — for both her as the creator and those who purchase her jewelry — is peace, calm, tranquility, contemplation, imagination, meditation, and enchantment.
“I currently work as a 911 dispatcher for Columbia County,” Wiens explains, “and while I enjoy the job, it is extremely stressful. Being able to go down to my workspace, light some candles, put on my Missing 411 podcast and just create jewelry helps to ground me.
“I think it’s very important to have a life outside of work.”
Faerie Wings from Resin
One of Wiens’ most popular creations has been her resin butterflies and faerie wings, which she hand-builds one at a time and colors using a mixture of translucent dyes and powder pigments. The wings require patience, concentration, and a deft hand, a combination that results in an art piece that is whimsical and fanciful: the exact emotions for which Wiens is striving. Along with the fancy, or more befittingly, integrated with it, is a strong element of spirituality. This, Wiens says, is intentional.
“I use gemstones — amethyst, aventurine, obsidian, lapis lazuli — that provide different healing properties as well as symbols with the charms.
“I fully believe that everyone should pick the path that works best for them. They should not shun others for choosing differently, or be shunned for choosing something different.
“The world we live in today is too focused on beating everyone down into submission. Or it bullies those who refuse to give in. It’s for that reason that I create things for people of all walks of life to enjoy.”
Inspired by Faeries and Family
As a child, Wiens discovered the Flower Faerie Books by Cicely Mary Barker, and she bought copies of those books for her own two daughters. Those books and other volumes of faerie art, as well as various websites and pages on the Internet, provide constant inspiration for new ideas, new patterns, new designs. So, also, do the encouragement of her daughters and husband:
“I am married to a wonderful man who has been very supportive of my ventures. And my daughters — they enjoy coming down to the studio to make jewelry with me. Just as often, however, they wait like vultures for a piece that doesn’t turn out so they can take it.”
Wiens has sold her jewelry worldwide through her Etsy shop, and she builds her brand by regularly and steadily posting on various social media sites. Lately, she has teamed up with social media influencers who promote her work.
With a family; an intense job; keeping fit through CrossFitting, biking, and paddle boarding; and, of course, making sure that the cats are content, she keeps busy without being stressed, because stress isn’t at all magical, fanciful, joyous, or good.
“I am humbled when people buy my work and leave a great review. It makes me happy to know that something I created has brought someone else joy.”
Because joy is what makes this world bigger and deeper and richer. And magical.
Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.