Featured Artist: Marley Beers

Company Name: Marley by Design Jewelry for a Lifetime
Website: www.marleybydesign.com

1. What is your art form?
At present my art form is mixed media jewelry. I have been a painter in the past. It is my intention to stay with jewelry now because I like the 3D nature of it, the wide range of media available, and the varied forms it can take. I also like the scale compared to the large paintings and sculptures from my past-much easier to carry and store! And it is really wonderful to have an art form that so many types of people enjoy and buy. When I was painting I was so intense that I shut out the rest of the world. I was also shadowed by the stereotype that artists have to suffer and be poor and no one understands their work till they are dead-thank you art school! Painting really depressed me in many ways largely due to the self critique and the metaphysical aim of my serious painting. I enjoy jewelry so much more and look forward to doing it every day.

2. What inspires you?
My inspiration is to create beautiful things that people want to have for their own. I really enjoy helping customers pick out embellishments that help them express themselves. I do not see this as just a superficial urge to decorate, though sometimes it is. But decoration is not my inspiration. My inspiration is to help fulfill the timeless urge to embellish and express ourselves that I think all of us have in one degree or another. Jewelry is a tiny cosmos that helps shape the image of who we are. It expresses our moods, can change from day to day, be serious, or fun.
From a design standpoint, I love mixing form and color in a variety of ways. I like my jewelry to make a complete statement; to be a cohesive whole not just a bunch of pieces (beads or whatever). So I strive to make the each piece hang together as an overall form first, then as the viewer looks closer, they find it continues to intrigue with the rich relationships of one part to another. This is an aspect I intend to build upon as my skills improve in glass and silver. I also have to say that I am really thrilled to have an art form that people really appreciate and come back to buy show after show! Having said all that, the most important inspiration of all is the desire to perfect my art over time.

3. When did you decide to pursue art, or did art pursue you?
I guess art pursued me. From age 4 or 5 when I was making little dish gardens with my mother, or shell jewelry, I loved it. And at around 10 or so I distinctly remember the compliments I got from people who were surprised at how good my little modeling clay figures were. Then in grade school and high school art was always the thing I excelled in the most. I never tried very hard at things I wasn't interested in; just did enough to get by. In sixth grade for my history project I carved the whole Acropolis out of ivory soap and won first prize even though my dog ate the Parthenon!

4. How do you sell your work?
I sell only through arts and crafts shows at this time because I enjoy them and they work for me. In the future I plan to have some wholesale items in galleries and shops.

5. Do you title your work?
I do not title my jewelry but in the past I gave a great deal of thought to the titles of my paintings. Sometimes a title would pop out of nowhere when I was painting or doing something unrelated. Other times I struggled to find a title. If my jewelry develops to be more painterly or sculptural I may title it in the future.

6. It your weren't an artist, what would you be?
My life's inspirations have always come from two sources: art and animals. If I had been good in math I would have been a veterinarian. I have excelled with many championships in horse training, combined driving and open jumping in the past, often with animals that were ruined or discarded by previous owners. I believe I am able to communicate with animals at a very deep and intuitive level. If you've read the "Horse Whisperer" you know who I am in that realm. In fact, the reason my art is not better developed is that I have bounced back and forth between the two all my life. At this age, my choice is now art so I intend to make it my swan song.

7. What other jobs have you had which have aided you in your artistic path?
I have been a consultant and team member with some very well known and creative people who were architects, city planners and industrial designers. I have been a pioneer in citizen participation programs in both urban design projects and elementary school curriculum. I have designed environmental education programs using visual and performance art forms as learning vehicles for inner city kids. I have been in the Peace Corps in West Africa which completely changed my perspective. Lastly, my current work as a graphic designer has helped me develop my design skills.

8. At the art supply store, which section do you go to first?
I rarely go to them any more. I order what I need online or go to gem shows.

9. What new techniques or art form would you like to learn? Do you have plans to do so?
This has actually been a problem for me as I love learning new techniques to the point of almost being a "learning junkie"! I am trying to narrow that down and stop looking at new media and focus on lamp-working, glass fusing and metal work. It is time to develop my voice within specific media.

10. Where do you want to be a year from now?
A year from now I want to have developed my jewelry skills to the point where I can get into heavily juried art shows. I just want to be qualified to do a few shows at that level even if I choose not to make them my main sales outlet. I'm doing quite well in the medium range arts and crafts shows now. I also want to be financially profitable by that time. At this point I spend almost everything I make on new materials or equipment. So two goals: one artistic and one financial.

11. If you could do anything, and knew your could not fail, what would you choose to do?
Basically, I would do exactly what I am doing right now but with a little different ratio of graphics to jewelry. I would like to cut back to 30 hours a week in graphics (three days a week) and have the other four days to develop my jewelry. I would also like more extended time to travel across country probably selling jewelry at shows. So, away for a month or so once or twice a year. For this I would like to have an RV we could live in comfortably during these trips. Not a big hog but something with room to move around and have a little work space. There's a little gypsy in my blood!