Tuesday, June 1, 2010
June is the month for Gemini, The Twins. Geminis are often known for their basic versatility and intelligent, yet airy, nature. Right brain, left brain. Thinkers, doers. Dreamers, realists.
Beth Athanas, who happens to be my sister, is the June Artist of the Month. The Gemini duality helps describe Beth, who will be celebrating a big birthday this week! Being the twin personified, Beth excels in many areas. She's smart and physical. Talented in the arts, the books and the muscle. While skydiving is her love, she is also a talented painter, award winning baker and jewelry maker. Her area of concentration, kinesiology, has lead her to a career as a Performance Enhancement Specialist. And, also lead her to design and create her signature jewelry, the 3-Ring Necklace.
While I'm not a skydiver myself, I truly appreciate the intricate detail of the 3-Ring Necklaces. The different colors, designs and textures the necklaces embraced are endearing in their uniqueness. The design is vaguely Celtic, vaguely modern, vaguely weird, vaguely familiar, and at the same time, all inviting.
Read on to find out why and how Beth decided to push her jumping passion toward a more creative outlet.
Q~ How did you get started?
A~ I started skydiving in 1999. One day I saw that I had three keychain rings of differing sizes. I decided to make them into a necklace that resembled the 3 ring release system on skydiving rigs. I was wearing the necklace in the packing room when a girl mentioned that she liked it, and asked if I sold them. I said no, but she planted a seed in my brain that didn’t sprout until years later.
When I was in graduate school and suffering financially, I decided to start making the necklaces to make some money. After I graduated, I continued out of pleasure.
Q~ Why do you continue?
A~ Skydiving is a sport for non-conformists. The closing pin necklace is very popular in skydiving, but it seems to me that people who are wearing them are conforming!
I take pride in being different and unique. When people ask me if I make closing pin necklaces, I tell them, “No- these are better.” NO ONE else makes this necklace! :)
Q~ What is a great success story?
A~I was thrilled when some top skydiving gear companies placed some orders to sell in their gear shops. It is always wonderful when I come across someone and they are wearing the 3 Ring Necklace!
Q~ What is one of your greatest failures?
A~ When I first started making the necklaces, I need a wholesale ring supplier. I found a crafting company in Canada and placed some orders with them. Unfortunately, their poor shipping standards and horrible customer service forced me to find another supplier. My current supplier is awesome; I just hope they stay in business!
Q~ Where do you get your inspiration?
A~ I get my inspiration from the incredible experience of jumping out of airplanes. Skydiving is source of empowerment, something that a lot of people need in their lives. I would not be the same person today if I was not a skydiver.
Q~ Why do you make/create what you do?
A~ I make what I do because I believe in my product. I think it truly is a beautiful necklace that represents something wonderful. I love sharing that with other people.
Q~ Where is your favorite place to sell? Or favorite show?
A~ I do most of my selling online. I love vending in person because I get to meet people and they get to design their own necklace. They create ownership of the necklace and they are more likely to wear it if they like it. It bugs me when people buy the necklace but don’t wear it.
Q~ What is one thing you love about your business?
A~I love meeting new people and making connections.
Q~ What is one thing you loathe?
A~I dislike when people make excuses why they don’t like the necklace. They say things such as, “It is too bulky,” (I make a mini three ring necklace as well) or “I don’t wear jewelry.” Not everyone is into the necklace because they are bigger than the closing pin necklaces.
Q~ What is your dream about your art?
A~ My goal is to be sold by every skydiving gear supplier. I want the necklaces to be just as popular as closing pin necklaces. Also, I want to be able to sponsor a skydiving team, but I don’t make that much money!
Q~ Where are you based?
A~ I live in Killeen, Texas because I work at Fort Hood for my full time job.
Q~ Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
A~I would live somewhere warm where I could skydive all year round, make good money, be close to my family, and be close to my boyfriend. That place has yet to exist!!!
Q~ What is next?
A~ Future plans for 3 Ring Necklace include more advertising in skydiving publications. I also want to make stickers and patches, which are very popular in the skydiving world, and a great way to advertise. I’m just working on making business cards. :)
Q~ What is your favorite question to ask people?
A~ Where do you jump?
Q~ What is your answer to that question?
A~ Right now I’m not jumping because of my injury, but I’m working manifest until I heal up.
Q~ What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
A~ What do you mean? And African or a European swallow?
“I don’t know that- AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!”
How do you know so much about swallows?
“You have to know these things when you’re king.”
3 Ring Necklaces can be custom ordered at 3ringnecklace.blogspot.com. Chooses from all different colors, sizes, types of leather cording and length. Get a completely unique necklace, from a completely unique type of artist. Also, you can friend 3 Ring on Facebook and keep up to date about new retail locations and styles.