Growing up in a small town in Western North Carolina I spent my days as a total tom boy. I learned to shoot with my dad and rode four wheelers almost every day. I would have never dreamed that making jewelry would be something I would become so passionate about!
Amongst trying to be just like my dad in the day, at night I always found myself drawing or coloring. I loved the satisfaction of my dad telling me that I must have gotten it from my grandfather and my mom putting my latest “masterpiece” on the fridge. As I got older, I let my love for drawing take a back seat. Besides days spent sewing with my great grandmother, I guess it’s safe to say that I abandoned art all together until around 20.
At 18, I lost my dad to suicide. My world crashed. Everything I’d known up until then had changed. He was who I went to for every big problem in my life. I was left feeling very empty after the shock had worn off. I had just began college and moved out of the house I grew up in with my family. I ended up quitting school and moving back home near my mom and brother. I was completely clueless about what I wanted to make of my life. I had no idea of a career anymore and no real passions or even hobbies.
I began working at a 911 dispatcher. My dad had been a prison superintendent and my mom an elected county official who had both began as sheriff’s deputies. My sister was a 911 telecommunicator as well and I always thought she was too cool anyway, so of course I wanted to do what she did! I liked my job. I was 18 when I started and I think with the death of my father it really helped teach me structure and kept me out of trouble. Still, I knew that I wanted something else. I just didn’t know what.
A couple years later, jewelry found me! My sister in law had started making beaded jewelry and I was immediately drawn to it. I will forever be grateful for those first couple basics that she taught me and I know that without her, Bella Tesoro wouldn’t exist today. On my days off from working a “real” job I would make beaded pieces for hours and hours. The years went by and Bella Tesoro was slowly turning into something. I had an Etsy shop and even the occasional order! I knew this is what I wanted!
Flash forward to 25 and I was divorced from a marriage that lasted 6 years. We simply grew up and changed and both knew we needed something different for our lives. Not long after I met Jake. Jake is my husband, my best friend and other half. Jake is everything that I am not. He is organized, he thinks ahead and can be quite structured when he wants to be. I am NONE of those things!! It really is a relationship where one backs the other up on our individual weaknesses.
Not long after our wedding in 2012, we took off on a journey. Jake is a registered nurse and had always been drawn to travel nursing. Our first assignment was Brenham, TX. Texas is where I got into my first gallery! It was called The Starving Artist Gallery. I had found them through a Craigslist search. They wanted to see what I had to offer. So, my husband and I set out to drive to Houston. This is where I would meet someone who would become such a sweet friend and a celebrity at that! Her name was Nikki Araguz. If you haven’t heard of her, a quick google search will return thousands of results! Her and her now husband, William Loyd (an amazing artist himself) welcomed me with open arms. I was officially a featured artist!
Not long after leaving Texas I was in numerous boutiques and galleries. It really all happened rather quickly. I now live in Ventura, California where my husband and I first were for an assignment. He has now signed on full time. We live with a sweet as pie 8 year old Pit Bull named Bella, a not so sweet 11 year old senior Chihuahua named Cuddles (yeah I know it isn’t fitting….story for another day) who happens to be my best friend in the world and a 9 year old Chihuahua Crested mix name Sonnie. They make life beautiful for me. Jake would say his pick is Ms. Bella, of course. I love them all! They love the sunshine, and seem to be Cali dogs at heart. My doctors are here and for now this is where we’re happy. We may head back to Western NC someday, but for the moment, we’ll settle for the coast of SoCal!