This interview with Becca Ross is from April 2015
1. Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Becca, and I live in the northwestern corner of Canada, in Yukon Territory. It’s very cold here most of the year, but it’s also very beautiful. I love that I can drive for 5 minutes one direction and be in wilderness, and 5 minutes the other direction and be in the bustling downtown area. I was born in Vancouver island, but my parents moved to the NWT when I was 18m old, and I have lived in the north for almost the entire rest of my life. I’ve been creating since I can remember, but I really got into jewelry when I was about 12, making strung beaded necklaces and earrings. I then got into bead embroidery, and from there into bead weaving. I still have a love of beads, and I still work with them on occasion, but wire is my obsession.
2. What is your “inspiration story” — where did your interest in jewelry all begin?
My mother is my inspiration initially. She is also an artist, although she is more musical than I am. Her love of the arts and beauty is what started my love of it. I find that still winter mornings are gorgeous and inspiring, and I adore the aurora borealis as well as also finding a lot of inspiration in them. I am find myself inspired by the brief summers as well, when everything spends it’s time furiously growing and propagating and preparing for the long winter ahead. Our winters are about 8 months long, and that is when I spend most of my time in my house, so therefore most of my time creating. I guess I really got into making jewelry hardcore when I found that with my metal allergies, walmart quality jewelry wasn’t something I could ever wear, and to buy artisan quality was out of my reach price wise.. but to make it myself wasn’t. Now I make artisan quality stuff, and try and keep my prices within the reach of the blue collar budgets that otherwise would have to settle for walmart quality. Also, I find myself critiquing the composition and design of stuff that I find in stores, and I have always done that. I’ve always been picky about what I would wear, and I hope that the picky type would pick my pieces for the fact that I test wear everything first to make sure that it lays well, swings well, and sparkles well (or just the first two in my unisex stuff lol).
3. What is your dream project?
I would like to work in platinum at some point. Other than that, I dream of sculpting in wire, large scale.
4. What has been your greatest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
I have insomnia and cPTSD along with OCD and BPD (borderline, not bipolar) with some sensory issues thrown in just for good measure, because I don’t have enough issues, you know. LOL I am kidding around. I tend not to take myself very seriously, although I do take my wire seriously. My issues are my greatest challenge, and I have learned to take the trauma and pain in my life and channel it into my art instead of dwelling on it in my head. I used to be self destructive and an addict, and I guess I am still an addict.. I am addicted to pretties! As for how I overcame it, Wire and rocks kept me sane when I had to leave the terrible situation that was my marriage. I nearly had a total breakdown, but because of the pretties, I was able to teach myself not only how to weave well, but how to channel it all. My art keeps me calm and centered, and is the best form of therapy I know. I also do some of my best work in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep.
5. What is the greatest gift that jewelry-making has given you?
I think that the realization of my artistic abilities in a format that actually brings in some income, would most likely be the greatest gift. The second greatest would be being able to teach this skill set to my daughter, and have excellent bonding time with her while doing it.
6. What words of wisdom do you have for someone beginning to make jewelry?
First.. don’t be afraid to make crap. No matter if you love it, or hate it, keep on making!
Second.. it took me over a year of aiming to produce a piece a day to get the skills I have, and unless you have that kind of ‘free time’ you can’t expect to get really good in a short period of time. Despite this, keep making. You have great taste, or you wouldn’t be trying to make, but you need the skills to match your taste level before you will be satisfied with what you make.
Third… practice, practice, practice.