I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos a 4 years ago and am classed as "disabled". EDS is caused by a faulty gene which means I make faulty collagen. Because of this, my connective tissue is weak and over stretches. This means Apart from constant pain, I get frequent dislocations, subluxations, extreme fatigue, intestinal issues, blood pressure issues (known as POTS), hypersomnia... The list goes on..Holding down a 9 -5 job with my illness is nigh on impossible as its so volatile and unpredictable. i can turn over in bed and knock out my shoulder or hip, dislocate my wrist from picking up a kettle, pass out if I don't stand up really slowly.... It literally affects me from head to toe and each day is different. While trying to find things to improve my dexterity, I discovered I have a real talent for jewellery making, to the point that one well known magazine featured my work. I've also spoken to some local retailers, who love my work, but the issue with them is that I can't afford to produce enough items for them to stock a range.
Unfortunately, the cost of materials and equipment mean I'm limited in what and how much I can make. One single cuff bracelet can use up to 400 seed beads and crystals alone. Then there's the cost of beading thread and wire, clasps... Earrings use special pins, hooks and wire and need specialised pliers and equipment for cutting, shaping etc. As you can imagine, I'm limited severely by the cost of basic materials.
Due to my illness, the usual lines of funding aren't available to me. Banks won't lend to disabled and government sources are laughable when it comes to advice or funding... I was told to "go on YouTube and look at the videos on becoming self employed"...
My aim is to be able to work full time from home, designing and making unusual, affordable, limited edition jewellery. Some ideas of the type of pieces I make can be seen here: http://paravel.tictail.com/
The website is very rough, I had to do everything on my own, from making the pieces, photographing them and uploading and designing the site, but I wanted to show a sample of my work and that i use only high quality and unusual materials, making my designs striking, subtle and unique.
My dream is to be able to work from home, design and produce my pieces on a bigger scale and to be able to branch into using designs with precious metals. I would love to be able to attend a silversmithing course, but again, simply can't afford to. I need a basic stock of materials and equipment like pliers, drills, cutters, silver wire... The list goes on... Also I would love to be able to have some proper photos done, set up a professional ecommerce site and do some proper advertising!! This would not only allow me to work from home, but to produce more of each item so I could approach jewellery retailers with a view to stocking my designs.
Any investments, advice or donations, no matter how small will make a huge difference and I'm massively grateful.
For every product that's sold, a donation will also be made to the EDS charity to help raise awareness of our horrible, often misdiagnosed and largely ignored illness.