Vasant, Isn’t She a Gem!

 Inspired by Beauty: Meet Designer Vasant

            During an annual yoga retreat to India seventeen years ago, an instructor showed Vasant some stones. The instructor then suggested that she design a necklace out of sapphires and Vasant created her own jewelry for the first time. “I fell in love with this simple sapphire necklace, everyone asked me about it over and over.  People were literally stopping me on the street to ask about it,” she said.  This triggered her love of gemstones.  When she returned to India for the yoga retreat the following year, she designed more jewelry and upon her return to the States, they sold rapidly.  In each piece, Vasant is inspired by nature and wants to supply beauty for her customers.

Born in England, but residing in Santa Barbara, California, Vasant considers herself a citizen of the world.  Her global travels are obvious in her world-inspired pieces.  India is the source of most of her inspirations, but her work has also been described as having a revived ancient and Roman quality. Vasant’s original career path involved the healing arts, spiritual counseling, and body work.  She also works as a yoga instructor in addition to her jewelry design.  She likes to say, “I didn’t choose jewelry, jewelry chose me.”

Vasant is known for her unique color combinations and always strives to bring the right stone to the right woman.  She says women usually know which stone is right for them.  She believes in the healing aspects of stones and says when women are drawn to a color, they are really choosing the stone that has the appropriate qualities she needs at that point in her life.  For instance, someone trying to heal a broken heart might choose rose quartz.

Above all, Vasant’s main goal is to create beauty.  She defines beauty as, “When you’re standing in nature and it takes your breath away.  It helps human beings when Mother Nature exposes herself in the colorful ocean, changing landscape, and even beneath the ground where you find incredible gems, that I use to make my jewelry.”  The stunning stones that she uses exemplify the power and beauty of nature. She says, “people are looking for the things that help them and bring beauty into their lives.  All artists want to create art in the world that will be remembered, to create something that brings beauty.”   Most of her pieces are one-of-a-kind and an important staple of each owner’s collection.  Stop by the Squash Blossom to see which piece is calling you.

 

Kathy Beekman Interveiw

Kathy Beekman is a soft pastel painter whose work emerges from the West and Midwest countrysides, she lives in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where her home and studio are perched at 8,600 feet.  “The vastness of the natural landscape here inspires my work.  My paintings reflect how I think and feel about my environment.”

She grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a small city surrounded by the farming communities that continuously inspire her subject matter:  the barns, clouds, open spaces and streams that conjure up idealized versions of the landscapes she experienced as a child. We were lucky enough to speak with the artist herself and ask her a little about her work and process.

 

When do you feel most compelled to create, what puts you in the mood, is there a creative ritual you go through?

 

“When creating in the studio I only create in the morning.  My painting days are scheduled throughout the month and this way I can prepare (aka psyche myself up/get into the zen zone) beginning the evening before.  The evening before my painting day, I prepare my painting table by laying out the sized paper I will paint on as well as laying out my pastels.  The next morning, after breakfast, I head straight to the studio and start in on the painting.”

  1. What made you gravitate to the medium of pastels?

 

“During college, I took a drawing class in which we experimented with pastel.  I fell in love with it immediately because of its immediacy and vibrancy in color.  It also doesn’t stink and is easily transported.”

 

  1. Is there anything you hope your audience leaves with after viewing your work?

“It is up to the viewer to create their own stories about the various Beekmans they view.  If they create their own story then they have connected with the painting and the painting has therefore become a success.”

The Storywheel of Your Life

Storywheels are an elegant, creative way to mark milestones in your life.  The Squash Blossom has customers with over fifty Storywheels. The Storywheels company has spanned four generations.  Their mission is to celebrate life and inspire their customers.  With offices in New York City, Bangkok, and Hong Kong, the company strives to drive the jewelry industry.  All gemstones are sourced directly from mines and cut within the company.

The birth of a child or grandchild is a monumental occasion in one’s life.  Storywheels understands this and offers birth wheels, some of our best-selling wheels. Longtime customer, Susan Thomas said, “I have a large collection of Storywheels.  All are beautiful, but the ones with the most meaning to me are the birthwheels.”  She has a wheel with garnet, the January birthstone, to remember the birth of her daughter and a citrine wheel, the November birthstone, to commemorate the birth of her son.  She also has a growing list of grandchildren and adds a wheel for each one.  “I started with a blue topaz wheel for my first granddaughter. Now I also have an emerald wheel for my grandson and an aquamarine wheel for my second granddaughter.  I am expecting another grandchild this year and I can’t wait to add another birth wheel.  I love looking down and seeing the symbols of all my family,” she said.

Aside from births, there are plenty of other events that you can commemorate with Storywheels.  Sara Jones used to live in Texas so she purchased a dangle with the state of Texas.  Eleanor Danielles, completed a sailing trip around the Caribbean and got an anchor dangle to remember that event.  Beloved pets are also celebrated through the Storywheels. Sally Prunty expressed, “My family is not complete without our cat.  We adopted her as a rescue kitten and I bought a cat dangle to celebrate her induction into our family.”  Anniversaries are also a favorite amongst our customers. Kim Cruz has wheels in honor of her marriage, one-year anniversary, and five-year anniversary. “This year, my husband and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary and I asked him to get me the tenth anniversary Storywheel to celebrate.”

    Storywheels make the perfect gift for birthdays or holidays for avid collectors.  There are wheels of sports, animals, celestial themes, holidays, and hobbies. Jan Robertson stated, “I always get so excited when I see a Squash Blossom box on special occasions.  I know that it is another wonderful addition to my growing collection.”  Her husband Bill added, “It is great knowing that I can always count on Storywheels to be a valued, appropriate gift.  Her face always lights up when she receives a new wheel.”  It’s not too late to start a Storywheel collection.  Consider giving a loved one her first Storywheel and begin the exciting journey of celebrating a life.