SMART & BECKER
by RYAN-ASHLEY ANDERSON
My childhood was filled with rural North Carolina neighborhood pig pickin's and BBQ's. The band played Jimmy Buffet while the kids played hide-and-seek, and the adults all had a bud light in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
And there I was, with my salvaged wood Friendship Bracelet 'booth.'
$1 for one, or $5 for a mystery envelope.
And so it began.
But really, that was just a section near the beginning and on into the middle.
Before that, there was my great-grandmother Hedwig Becker, and my grandmother, Arlene Smart.
Hedwig taught me diligence, patience, and consistency. She taught me that if you're stubborn and obsessed enough, you can make a knitted curtain, or a lace pillow-case. And Arlene taught me that the most important thing is to just do what makes you happy, even if nobody ever sees it.
I favor natural materials to synthetic, and as a maker, my main mission is to keep alive the hand-crafted traditions that have so informed my direction in life.
Leather: I hand-cut all leather cord used in my jewelry from recycled or salvaged leather.
Silk cord: I choose silk cord for many of my pieces because it is feminine and delicate, yet incredibly strong. I like the subtlety, durability, and versatility it provides.
Driftwood: I scavenged for most of the driftwood you see in my work on a riverbank alongside a little ghost town called Cairo, Illinois.
Delica Beads: Tiny and precise. These are what I use for the peyote-stitch pieces.
Semi-precious Stones: I favor stones like aquamarine (my birth stone), labradorite, and pyrite, and facets make me weak in the knees. The stones you see have come from all over, most recently from Paris and the south of France.
Glass: Most of the tumbled glass beads I use are made from recycled, African glass.
Brass: One of my favorite materials to work work, and I find the components at hardware stores, bead stores, and antique costume jewelry I find at the thrift.
Yarn: All natural. No synthetic materials, ever, because there's enough plastic in the world already.