When I discovered Vena’s stunning creations - all inspired by Destin - and wanted to feature her story on my blog, I asked her to send me a short bio, which she did. As I read the story of her struggles and her determination to create her art, with tears falling on my keyboard, I knew that I had to post her story in her own words.
Here in her own words is Vena's journey towards Destin.
My husband is a disabled Vet who loves Destin nearly as much as I do. My daughter who lives on Eglin AFB is going to school to become a nurse. My other daughter is already a nurse. My son lives at Eglin. We are all looking forward to living our lives out on the Emerald Coast.
My Journey: In 2004 a friend of mine told me about these beautiful glass beads that a co-workers daughter was making. I had never heard of such a thing. Several weeks later a craft show came to town and the person she had told me about was showing her glass beads. I instantly became intrigued with the idea of melting glass to make something beautiful. Hobby Lobby had beginner’s kit for lampworking and for Mother's Day that year I gifted myself with the kit. I have to admit I was scared to death lighting the torch the first time. I found myself holding my breath until I nearly passed out. The only way I managed to know how to even begin making a bead was with a beginner book I purchased at the same time as the kit. My first bead was pathetic, but I was hooked!! There was something about the feel of the glass and being able to move it around a tiny stainless steel rod that grabbed me. It wasn't long, maybe a few weeks or so, before I knew that beginner kit wasn't going to satisfy me. I started researching the Internet and ordering more books, videos and equipment. Before long I had professional equipment and I was making beads that were good enough to sell on Ebay.
Then in January of 2007 I was rear ended at a red light. My cervical fusion started giving me big problems due to the severe whiplash I received during the accident. I had several months of rehab and once again I couldn't work and once again my business suffered. Since then I've been slowly building my business up. I've never had the opportunity to attend any classes. I'm totally self-taught from books, videos, trial and error. During my bead making journey I decided to use my beads to create my own jewelry. I was selling to designers all over the world so I decided to try my hand at jewelry design. I enjoyed the ability to make my own beads to create one- of- a- kind pieces of jewelry. I slowly moved away from selling just beads.
I struggled with finding my voice in my designs. Everyone loved my jewelry and I thought it was very pretty, but I wasn't really satisfied. When I would sit down at the torch I had an inner conflict with myself on what I should be making. Should I be making the same type beads that everyone else was selling or should I go my own way? But what was my own way? I didn't have a clue. Then in June of 2008 I came to Eglin AFB to visit my daughter and grandchildren. She took me to Destin and when we came over the bridge I lost my breath. I couldn't believe what I saw. I was in total shock and completely mesmerized. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I don't think I could even speak. From that moment forward I found my voice in my art. When I came back from my visit and started working in my studio everything started to come together. I no longer doubted myself nor my work. I was creating pieces of my memories from paradise (Destin). Ideas flooded my mind. I was finally happy with my work. My soul started coming out in my glass. Since June of 2008 there hasn't been a day that I haven't cried for Destin. I know it sounds silly, but my heart actually aches for the Emerald Coast. I vowed when I came back to Texas that somehow, someway, someday I would live in Paradise. For the first time in my life I knew where my home was in this world. Each day of my life is spent creating these little treasures of my memories of the Emerald Coast. I pray this is the year I get to live my dream of living in Destin and selling my jewelry to those that share my love.
I hope this helps you to know my a little better. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Thanks again for supporting me and my art.