Many people go through life wondering what their purpose is, never discovering their true talent. I have no such issues.
I was three years old when I recognised my gift. I would pick up a pencil and with reasonable accuracy for that age, reproduce an image that inspired me. While girls my age played with dolls and cried to have pretty dresses sewn for them, I was more concerned with proportion and texture. My only interaction with dolls involved playing with my sister’s, as I tried to figure out the steps involved in braiding and how texture affected outcome. I was 5 when I could confidently put a braid in – I still braid my own hair till this day.
At about age 5/6, I knew with certainty, that I wanted to become an artist. Stephen Ndeley, a renowned artist, came to our primary school to talk about the arts and the place of creativity in society. He brought with him, a papier-mache bust of himself; it was a thing of beauty. I promised myself on that day, that no matter what it took, I would one day be like him; better even – a more successful, world-renown artist!
Over the years, I went on to win a few competitions, including a provincial school competition, an Ovaltine contest (At least, I think it was. I loved the prize of several serving-sized sachets, a mug, pencils and I forget what else) and a Commonwealth heat (This one should have seen the winners come to England to participate in a face-off. At least, that’s what we were told. To this day, I wonder what happened there – I was really proud of my larger-than-my-desk busy market road drawing).
Aged 7, I had my first taste of pyrogravure (wood etching art), my best creation a portrait of my father, which my Mother hung with pride, in the dining room.
Soon, I was in Secondary school and caught up in the dream of corporate success as I listened to my peers share dreams of wanting to become doctors, accountants, barristers and journalists. Artists just weren’t in fashion and of the millions around the world, only a handful ever made it to the big time. I was 16 when I passed my A’ levels and decided to become an Accountant.
I was in my second year of my Accounting and Economics course when things began to unravel. Finally, in 2003 and after a lot of kerfuffle, I earned my Diploma of Higher Education (equivalent of an Associate degree). I wanted to go back to school and complete a degree in fine art and jewellery but my circumstances at the time made that impossible.
During the following years, I rediscovered jewellery. My mother always wore the most amazing pieces and I had begun to develop a fondness. I luuurrrrved Swarovski. I would pop into Debenhams (Or was it C&A) at every opportunity, scouring for sale items – I couldn’t afford much.
It wasn’t long before I was bored with what I saw. The same concepts replicated over and over and over again in different materials. In 2005, I began to put drawings on paper. In 2008, I approached one of Manchester’s finest jewellers about an apprenticeship but he couldn’t (wouldn’t) take on someone with no bench skills or a formal education. Once again, my dreams died into nothingness.
In early 2011, while at home during a depressive phase, I found a few findings from a few years before, when I had decided to learn macrame beading. Within a few months, I taught myself to make wire wrapped jewellery. Soon, my living room looked like something out of a nightmare and I decided to try to convince family and friends to buy pieces off me. After an encouraging response at a few local fairs, I decided to take the plunge. With no job on the horizon, a packed living room and over 2000 designs on paper, it was time to do something!!
ViJouX was born.