Featured and New Holiday Firefly Artisan, belle voir, Utilizes the Permanence of Silver, Gold and Pr
A life long path of curiosity, imagination, talent and making lead Beth Van De Water to create belle voir, "a beautiful view" - hand etched reflections of beauty, lightness and joy.
FF: Where did your idea for belle voir begin?
BV: A persistent, sometimes compulsive, drive to create has followed me all my life. As a wilderness ranger, I carried a small canvas bag with watercolors, pencils and a sketch book. Down the Grand Canyon, this small pack was in my kayak. The largest and most treasured room in my Montessori school was the art studio where children explored their creativity and learned to form with their hands what they saw with their eyes.
Using my hands has always been a direct path to happiness and fulfillment, it simply took me awhile to trust that I could do it.
FF: How did you decide to work with metal?
BV: Silversmithing came about by accident. Metal captivated me, but welding was daunting. How does metal move, how do you form it? How do you stick it together? Are there limitations? I wanted to learn to weld railroad track into life size animal sculptures (which I still plan on doing), but in the process of learning, I caught the grass on fire.
I signed up for a class to work with silver, copper and gold. A much smaller torch, softer metal and something I could manage. At the Boulder School of Metals, Shelly Bohin’s delicate and powerful ease with silver, gold and fine stones fascinated me. Her tutelage continues to inspire me. I moved metal. I learned to stick it together and draw on it. I learned it is limitless and I have just begun.
FF: What lead you to your current line of goods?
BV: The idea that I can illustrate on silver, wrap it in the decadence of gold and speckle it with gem stones is pure magic.
FF: What materials do you currently work with & why?
BV: I work primarily with fine silver, gold, turquoise and precious stones. I made my first turquoise necklace when I was six in Santa Fe at Glorianna’s bead shop. I have made a new every year for as long as I can remember. Glorianna and her daughter, Star, still run the store at 55 West Marcy, a block off the square.
I have always worn a beaded turquoise necklace or three because of its rich and varied color spectrum and my fifth grade history teacher, Mrs. Priest. Her influence over all of her students to revere its connection to the Native Americans of the Four Corners. Perhaps most importantly, turquoise feels like a bit of fairy dust from mother earth.
FF: What inspires your work today?
BV: The people in my life, looking at beauty-both made by humans and by mother earth and all her creatures. The simple joy of being alive.
FF: What excites you for the future?
BV: Everyday in the studio excites me. The freedom to play with and design metal and precious stones is pure joy.
FF: Any advice for makers and biz entrepreneurs new to our creative community?
BV: I am a newbie myself. Create what you love. Have a vision. Make it limitless. Jump in with both feet. This is what you were meant to do. As Mary Oliver said, “What is it you plan to do with your one crazy and wild life."
FF: If you have a strong partnership with a non-profit org, what is it and what inspired you to do this?
BV: I give a percentage of proceeds to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Fund because without our help, elephants will be extinct in our lifetime.
FF: Anything else you'd like to tell us?
BV: Thank you for providing the Firefly Market to Boulder art’s community.
Shop and visit with Beth Van De Water of belle voir at Firefly Handmade Holiday Market, December 10 - 11, 10am - 4pm both days, Twenty Ninth Street shopping district , 1710 29th St., Boulder, CO.